BREATHE episode ii GASP
Imagine vertigo sets in, although at the time, you would have no way of knowing, what vertigo is. You are feeling rather tipsy, not from alcohol, since you are too young to have known the taste. It feels like a hated fair ride, you would never take again. The car you are strapped in begins to bobble. Unlike the solid surface you are use to, more like the cartoons where they float in mid air. You would not notice, the drop in oxygen, and that your own breathing is becoming tortured, so it is simply dismissed as fear. But when you look at the person next to you, whom happens to be your brother, you notice he is breathing differently, gasping or choking. Your lungs start to burn, pain explodes from within. Fear becomes dread, as the car, no longer floating, but sinking and pushing out what is left of the air. You look at the doors, windows rolled tight, you heard the clicking noise, and knew the safety device was on tight.
Although your feet do not reach the floor, you sense the rising water, which is now halfway to the door. A tear turns to a cry, and a cry to a scream. You are not certain howto save yourself, let alone, your best little friend. Imagine being completely submerged, total darkness is all you see. You reach out and touch your brother, glad he is resting comfortably. You have no notion what it means to be at the end, yet you realize life is changing, locating comfort, somehow knowing you are free of life’s sins. Mind too young for connected thoughts, yet one manages to take shape. Why would your mother save only herself, leaving her two babies to drown in the lake.
In 1994, in Union South Carolina, a young mother named Susan Leigh Vaughan Smith had fallen head-over-heels for a wealthy bachelor. Enjoying the freedom and prestige that money can bring, his thoughts were far different from Susans’, who imagined, the whirlwind he had taken her own, was never going to stop. At the time, he had no kids of his own, and while there was something about Susan that drew him to her, her two little boys would assure, she would not be the one he would keep. But Susan felt differently, like she had never felt before. Rather for love of money or adoration for the man, nothing was going to stop her from walking down the aisle, then reaching for his hand.
Upon discovering she murdered her own children,
to try to win over a man, interest in her soon faded,
but one question, unanswered remains:
what were the final thoughts of her two young sons?
Since your father stood by your mother, as a man should by his wife, your mind would place both into the same restrictive box, keeping your distance and never giving them your heart. With your only allies, no longer by your side, you never learn to make friends, and forming a meaningful relationship, became the equivalent of the fairy tales you read at school. You found comfort in imaginary worlds, while you did read for enjoyment, but more so you could escape into a happy world. But no matter how many books you read, and depths to which you mentally sank, it was still only make believe and you remained part of the real world.
Even at your lowest, however, suicide was never on the table. Two views kept you going. One was the notion that life only gives you, as much as you can bare. The other comes from an embrace of literature, irony was your favorite device. So the ideal of taking your own, when years prior, you saved that very same life.
On November 18, 1978, the United States would suffer its single greatest loss of life not attributed to war or natural disaster. Nine hundred people perished, the majority, under the guise of free will. James Warren Jones, known in history as Jim, emerged as a prophet, at least to those worshipers, whom chose to follow him.
Jim Jones called it the People’s Temple. A brilliant form of disguise, to mask the treachery, cover deceit and deflect the audacity. The ‘People” sold all their belongings, gave their worldly possessions to him, and forsaken their real families, and comfortable lives. Departing the cosmopolitan city of San Francisco, landing in the beauty of Guyana, they then moved deep into the jungles, truly believing tis the path of righteousness. But the prophet proved to be false, leaving the unimaginable, unimagined no more.
The two eagles that flew passed you, now circled above your head. The two squirrels that ran underneath you, seemed harmless till one reared his head. The couple, still 30 feet from you, seemed so loving when you first arrived. The good eye now fading, there is doubt in what you see, but their raised angry voices, remove all doubt, of the obvious, vicious intent.
The two bikers, who seemed healthy, a few minutes before, were weak and exhausted. One carried the other on his back. Something twitches on your shoulder, a very light, nearly unnoticeable ting. Nonetheless you are startled, slapping your shoulder, with more force than it actually needs. You pull your hand back its all bloody, and wonder what could that be. In pieces atop your sinking shoulders, two dead butterflies, the same two that forced the Emperor to put on his clothes.
Flem, now blood from coughing, heart pounding harder in chest. You are so very tired and have nearly fallen, taking just one, very small step. Painless path has closed. You will not wake up from a dream. All around you is happening. What was he suppose to do.
Breathe or less you start gasping, as you summon all of your strength. Your soul mate moves close to disaster, just a few steps left she can make. You look high toward the heavens, finding you do believe. God, Allah or Yahweh, perhaps Nature will hear your pleas. You put your head down, run straight at the wind, nothing else matters, heart pounds deep within. You have chosen your path so imagine, whatever you want to believe. Remember you have never been happy, shut off from the rest of the world. In your mind, it does not matter if you catch her, since your path does not end here or now. You have found your soul mate, long to caress her, make love to her down by the lake. Determined to have love in this life. Prepared to chase love down. But, if you cannot catch her, just pray your soul will keep. No turning back now, you run with a smile… and imagine you dive off the cliff.