More than words


I woke in a dark room, sore down to a place deeper than any I’d known, for soreness is much more than a word; soreness is, at its heart, an intimate physical breach, an invasion of what we take for granted, a fire and resonating pain where before there was nothing, or what felt like nothing. Mute neutrality pervades as the body does its job, and only after sudden pain do we awaken to a place contrary to that quiet, neutral state. 

I thought I was dead but those are also just words. Words hardly convey the existential paradox of such moments, of being there and not being there simultaneously. Surely I was dead, I thought, and this is what comes after death. My adoptive parents were both wrong and right. A woman approached from the shadows with a sponge and dabbed my chest and then I knew I was alive, the pain was no longer pain as a word or in the theoretical sense but something alive and howling in protest, my reflexes seismic. The pain seemed more a part of me than me, as if it were the true self and I an imposter.

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