Picture Us In The Light is an entirely unexpected gift, and if I’ve learned anything so far it’s to not take those for granted. Potent, conscious, heartbreaking and brave, Daniel Cheng’s voice is at the same time halting but beneath that is an understated verve that’s seen him through facing agonizing truths and fears, his family’s and his own, and ultimately the healing that’s come out of it.Continue reading
Tag Archives: fear
Story contains swearing
He scoops me up like one would a small sleeping child. I am neither. I scramble for bars of my cage frame but he was stronger. Thrashing wildly as I can the fucker holds on like I’m nothing. Not always a happy person, not particularly strong, but I meant something once. I could again.
“You’re making this worse, sweetheart, more than it has to be,” his breath comes in puffs of fetid peppermint.
Screaming was moot, the basement took care of that. The two men that still breathed roused from their cages, their teeth bared in feral grimaces. One throws himself against his door, the other follows suit.
I know he’s hauling me to the steel table by the incinerator where Carter’s corpse had slept. Chest split open. Organs harvested. I feel the wince crack apart dried up riverbed of tears. Hell wasn’t the destination it was just a passage to something worse than the tales, and ours had its jowls laced with ashes and flames for teeth.
I may be nothing in this moment but I’m not stupid. Faked injuries facilitated recovery time. He’d wanted to have some fun with us before he got down to business eventually. The slime was considerate enough to let me off the hook so he could start all over again.
The plan, need to follow the plan. I go lax in his arms. I sing a lullaby with my body, arms like wilting flowers and breaths leafless trees in the wind. I feel his grip ease, only a little.
Got it. My hand closes around cool metal at his hip. I need to act quickly.
Eyeball that bit of wisdom. Read it again. One more time to be sure. Okay then. Maybe you recognize some of that in yourself, I know I do.
An infernally astute quote from John’s debut novel, Looking for Alaska. “Infernal” because it illustrates a sort of personal hell I should be scrambling to escape. A loop whose deeply rutted trail I’m vaguely aware of at the best of times and crystal sharp at the worst of times.
Which is f**king tedious? I mean if I could be aware of all the tomorrows I tell myself I have and not take them for granted, I’ll get my goals accomplished, every day I would be compelled to complete them.
But like the blessed idiot that I am, I do stupid sh*t anyway. And I could analyze to kingdom come about the lies I convince myself are truths, their roots lay in self-doubt and lack of self-compassion. I’ve thought out of the whys and have finally sifted and understood what some of my actual truths are. Three years ago this introspection would’ve been beyond me but I feel lighter at the thought that I’ve come so far that I can see how I could fortify wobbly foundations and continue to build my person. Growth is always the goal.
But essentially the labyrinth is a fantastic illusion that could make us or dismantle us and perhaps it can only work out if we realize that within it we can make new paths. That we can take a chainsaw to some of the dead ends, and plant new saplings.
The past is a ghost. The future a phantom horizon. The present? It’s where we live. It’s not always pleasant but it’s where our hearts beat, the precipice of the next moment. Isn’t it awful how we conjure those ghosts and let them possess us? How we often try to dream out the possible futures thereby plugging up the goodness that the present can offer?
I read Looking for Alaska about two years ago, stayed up until morning to finish it only to have a feeling of mental suspension and an excellent view of the void. Alaska was a bitch, sure, but to be fair she was a kid who had a lot going on under the surface.