A bead of sweat trickled down from beneath my ear onto the pillow. It tickled the skin as it trickled, drawing my attention to the humid environment present. Pretty soon I realised that my hair was getting wet, the bedsheets had a damp silhouette of my torso and I had trouble breathing efficiently. It was like trying to sleep in a sauna.
I got up, realizing I need to drink some water. At least it would be cold, unlike my room but pretty much like the companionship I was living with.
Sure, the hot, damp and stale room was a reason I couldn’t sleep; but it was more than just that. There was something bothering me – nay, not really bothering per se – but nudging me from time to time. Something that didn’t really allow me to soar in life, but also kept me safely away from drowning in the waters of sorrow. Whatever it was, over the past few weeks its balance had gone askew, and it was itself pulling me towards the waters.
I had no reason to lose sleep, except for stupid physiological decisions of course. But this wasn’t a lack of physiological sleep, it was the absence of a comfort that succeeds peace. As I mentioned before, I have no reason to be awake at ungodly hours of the night and not be happy. I was at peace, with almost everything in life. But that little comfort post that peace was missing, like the final piece of a jigsaw that’s almost fully put together – you can see the entire picture but that one, small glaring emptiness is what irks the most. I had all the reasons and means to soar above the sorrowful water, and I was held by the heel on its surface, threatening to splash in.
I take big gulps of water and I realize I need to find something like this to sort me out – like a bottle of cold water on a humid night. If I was held back by something, I figure I need something to pull me up. Not pull me away, mind you; I am not willing to drown but I am not ready to fly yet. So I look for something to hold on to, to pull myself away from the water. There’s nothing. Emptiness. A pitch black darkness that tells me there’s no way out. It tells me that I don’t know what to do, that I don’t know what’s wrong, and that my search is futile, and I am going to drown eventually.
Panicked, I flail my arms about, to grasp anything that was nearby and get a respectable stronghold. Nothing encounters my grip. My shoulders slouch, tired and aching. As I decide to give one last try to save myself, and raise my arm in a blind, desperate effort.
This time, somebody did get hold of it, and pulled me away.
That’s when I realized that it has to be me, from me. It has to be my effort to at least try to save myself. It needs to be me actually getting up and getting that cold bottle of water. It has to be me raising my arm for help so that somebody can hold it.
It is a monumental step, comes after hours and hours of a fight on an uneven battleground where if you fall, you die soon. The melee doesn’t allow a simple ‘get up and get going’, either. Unless a compatriot can pick you up while fighting his own battle – and he or she cannot literally stop, smile at you and offer you a hand. You need to raise your hand, grasp theirs and pull yourself up.
Let’s face it, the biggest fight is not the actual combat, it is the first step into the arena. It is the fist that raises first which is the most bold. It is the demand that is shouted first which is the most notable. Everything else follows it’s own course then.
So here’s to those who step up for themselves and for others. Who raise their hands to pull up and rise up. Who use their words to raise their voice unequivocally for the right cause and in favour of the wronged. Here’s to those who war to save others.
But I raise a cup to those who battle to save themselves. You deserve everything good you need.
So the next time my head is in her lap, and she’s running her hands through my hair, and I tell her I love her; I want her to ask me why.
So that this time, I can tell her,
“Because I deserve to.”