Waking up with severe breathlessness is a curse I realize these days. It does not always happen to me. But it has been there for as long as I can remember now. I have had asthma ever since I was a kid, and I inherited it from my mother. Coming from a very poor lineage, my mother and her family used to burn woods to cook, like many families in this country back then. Spending hours after hours with black smoke ruined their lungs. And that severe immunocompromised system just latched onto the genetics and kept climbing down the family tree. Now I have it too.
The first time it triggered was when I was just a wee little 8-year-old kid. I was roaming in and about our backyard when I heard someone calling my name. Our house was empty. My parents were out, and my siblings were in school. I was on vacation, so I was home alone. It had rained a bit just before. The mud was slippery. But this feisty me even while almost slipping ran to see who was there. I found no one around. Except for the sound of crickets around noon in summer and a soft, warm breeze, I found nothing.
I had again just picked up the stick that I used to massacre the wild bushes when I heard that same voice calling me by my name once again. This time it was right behind my ears. The hairs on my neck stood up, a chill ran down my spine, and I ran. As fast as I could, and didn't look back all the while. The spooky nature of the event almost had me pee my pants. And so I did not stop until I fell face first. When my mother had grabbed my hand to shake me back to reality, the sun had moved towards the horizon a lot, and I was severely breathless.
But this morning's one is because of a completely different reason. I woke up from a nightmare that I have had the pleasure of being acquainted with for a long time now. In it, I find myself at a crossroads. Deep inside some unknown forest. The trail is made of burnt bricks, all covered with moss, and seems quite ancient. As if it is from some forgotten past.
In Front of me, the trail splits into two. I have been here so many times now I think I remember every inch of both of the paths. The left leads to a monastery, its architecture complimenting the path made of ancient bricks, and the right leads to a circle-shaped clearing in the forest.
The clearing was always safer for me. Usually, every time I go towards the monastery, my experiences have been unpleasant. My fears, the demons within, and everything else that I absolutely abhor are shoved inside the doors of that ominous architecture. I would have chosen that path today, too, wasn't it for you. As I stepped towards the clearing, you grabbed my hands.
"You" are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen, you know! Unlike everyone else, you made me do the things I am terrified of and somewhat permanently changed my life. The once bleak, greenish paints on the walls of my room are part of an almost forgotten past now. Almost! I was living an ever eternal miserable life before, like a dead man with no tales left to tell. Until you came along and breathed life into me. Until I had heard that whisper of yours making me all drowsy and fall in a happy slumber, making me realize the true meaning of inner peace, my pretty little stalker.
Teaching me how to paint my dark nightscapes with stars was a bad idea, you know? Desperate guys living in a desolate place like me tend to be clingy. And so, I have developed a severe Stockholm syndrome towards you. I knew about your ulterior motives from the very beginning. The irony, eh! The captor became the captive! It is not funny anymore now, is it? The only thing you didn't take into consideration was my heart. The human heart is very complex to understand. And even a veteran player like you had to fall. The irony!
As we walked towards the monastery, I saw the greens around me change. Mosses on the bricks just evaporated, exposing the hard red color. The shyness of the crowns that hung above turned bright with soft golden light, and that crimson shade of your eye became ever more vivid. My insides filled up with a never felt ever before warmth only love can create. Time slowed down, and as some unknown winds started to cause your hairs to stubbornly fly maddeningly, for a moment, I was drowned in hope. Finally, my endless nightmare ends! Is it because of your whispers? Because of the peace, they bestow upon me? I thought to myself. But I was too scared to ask, if-else, if it would turn into a nightmare again. So, I took it all in, the sudden brought upon beauty, and just simply walked behind you as you held onto my wrist.
The once bare monastery seemed ever so lively. Before, it looked as if it was hunted by some vengeful poltergeist who was so disgusted by this cruel reality that he died and then became a sickness of the earth eventually. My past experiences with this place were distraught, uncanny, and torture-like. But you somehow magically turned it into a beautiful dream. Almost! As we climbed the stairs that led to the doors, something shiny appeared in your other palm. A key! You want me to see the insides of my fears. Face them firmly, I wondered. Ah, if this part of my life, this ominous fog, get lifted, I would become a happy man. And you would be at the center of it all! The late-night clever terms of endearment worked, it seemed.
As you opened the door, all I saw was darkness. The same one that once filled my sky that you taught me how to paint. The surreal nature of it had me in awe for a moment. And because of that, I failed to see the pair of hands that came out of the dark and tried to pull you in. my reflexes kicked in a bit late, and I grabbed hold of you. As hard as I could, I pulled you towards me. The girl, the woman, the love of my life, I can't let you go! Not again. I screamed in despair as I felt my hands sweating and you slipping. No! I shouted in rage. No, I cried out from deep inside my lungs, and it kept echoing in my ear. It echoed till I finally lost. Till my hands gave up.
It is a curse, waking up with breathlessness, I realize these days. And these days, you are not there to calm me down anymore. These days, I find myself all alone. I do not blame you, you know? Because I did it, and I let you go. And now, in the end, I accept my punishment for as long as I can bear. But even if I am torn and lose my sanity, I will always love you.