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Dimly aware that my senses were deceiving me, I sat in a state of perplexed reflection, allowing the gentle ocean breeze to dance through my veins. The sun was warm against my back, and it sent scurrying tingles like spider legs down my spine. I shivered, and wrapped my goose - pimpled arms around my drawn knees. It was not a question of whether or not I wanted to be here, but rather an obligation which I was required to abide by.
In fact, I loathed the very location my bruised and abashed body was drawn to. I did not love the sea. Allowing it’s giant claws to pierce my skin was not a hobby of mine. And yet, within my fear, I find solace in the fact that it moved alone, freely. The sea will do what it will do. There are no rules it had to adhere to.
I felt troubled here by its lack of organisation, though calm through the knowledge that it was not commanded by any supreme being. There was no “we”, only the wild, rushing “I”. Sometimes I wished I was as brave as it. For if I was, I would scream out to the ocean that I did not love me. That I did not care for my frenzied heart and river of life. And if I was, I would leap into its inviting arms and become one with its lonely lacuna coil. Yet there was something about its spiralling depth that I feared above all others. There was something that repulsed me, that allowed me to turn the other cheek.
Perhaps it was my inability to cope with my own wild, unappreciative life that made me feel this way. I certainly was not in fear of it’s vastness. In fact, I loved its gentle notes it played; the luminous wailing, thick timbre it produced. It was just a question of trust. Yes, that simplicity was a factor. I could not trust it.
I allowed the pulsating wind to push me ever so gently forward towards the abyss, though I did not succumb to the overwhelming instinct to let it do what it wished with me. That would be the ultimate betrayal. Yet what if I did allow myself to fall into its inviting arms? I would relish the watery environment and fall in love with its tender maternal soothing. It would be the ultimate sacrifice, but I know that it was the path I undenyingly had to take.
The pain had finally taken over my body. When the doctors had first told me of the terminal illness I had not wished to believe them. Though over the years there was no denying the symptoms which engulfed me in agonising pain. The fire I felt was horrendous. Yet I had continued on ever so slowly. My gentle padded footsteps moving forward monotonously.
Perhaps I was ready to die. Death, that word was music to my ears. I did not understand why people feared it so. It was not a grovelling pit of endless darkness but a chance for peace and solace. The chance to be rid of my pain. And I would take that chance.
Peering over the edge of the sloping rocks, I eased my body into a pouncing position, stretching my long, fragile limbs in front of me. The razored, jutting rocks were nothing compared to my own suffering. They were just pinpricks that only lightly brushed against the numb layer my encased pain bad become. In fact, this moment in time was the happiest I had ever felt. There was no need to fear myself any longer. What happened had happened, and all that was left was the oceans unedifying love.
No, I did not love the sea, but it was the only option left for me now. It was too late to turn back. Here now I sat, naked and alone, and that way I would remain forever remain. I wondered whether it was a bad thing at all: to be naked and alone. Certainly that was how we had all arrived in this world. Perhaps we never stopped being alone. The people around us shared no love nor sympathy with us. Life was made for simply living, not the tiresome journey of growing up, finding a lover, having a family. What good was all of that when your fate was not decided for yourself?
Oh how I wished for sooting rain to wash away these irrelevant thoughts. To wash away my entire being, so I was only left an empty shell. An empty vortex of challenging nothingness. A weightless, encasement - like tomb that housed nothing but my weakening soul. No, the soul that was not there. The soul that never was.
Yet did I not value my life that much? How could I make such a statement without exploring the simple fact that I lived. I lived a life! I had no dramas or hassles in my life! I I felt emotions! I had experienced all there was to having a conscious brain! I pitied those who had nothing but their worthless bodies, who had no sense of self - awareness. So why had I dragged myself to this damned forsaken place? The simple answer was: I did not know. This crumbling cliff that was disintegrating before my very eyes. I could feel the loose stones forcing themselves to escape their assigned place, and I felt a hot rush of uncertainty spin through my body. Was this really what I wanted to do? Deliver myself to death?
No. There was more to my life that had been hidden before me, now shown for all to see. I did not care that my body was slowly unravelling itself. I did not care that my youthful spirit was gone. All that I cared about was myself, and my determined will to never give up until it was my time to leave this post - apocalyptic world.
I rose slowly, careful not to lose my balance, and turned towards the small village nestled within the ever - green valley that was my home. I could see the young children chasing each other, playing a childish game, basking in their innocence. I could see the animals surviving for the sake of surviving, the pigs knowing of their doom, so savouring every last precious moment of continuous breath. What did the common grasshopper care of the world? It only had the shortest lifespan of one day. Yet did he mope on a cliff in despair? Drown his sorrows? No! He searched for love, he danced in the wind. He explored his tiny world, a pinhead of the enormous thing it was. So why were humans so unintelligent? Because we were lazy. We knew our life - expectancy was eighty - five. We knew we had time to grow old and die in a comfortable and affordable home. Our lives were taken for granted.
Standing stationary in the wind, I raised a hand to the children, who almost immediately waved back, their smiles echoing my love for them. I was the wise, old biddy who told them stories. I was the half - crazed woman who told lies. Yet I was the council elder who gained a certain satisfaction knowing my words were listened to, that I had a voice. Even though my illness had caused me to rot away on the inside, I was safe here. I was appreciated.
So I would not give up. No, not ever.
Laughing, I ran down the hill towards the children’s beckoning arms. My strength and stamina surprised the young ones, whose faces reflected a look of shock and uncertainty. I called out to them, tasting names, feeding on their individual personalities. And they laughed and jumped and spined and smiled. I knew they loved me.
I remember reaching out to them and knowing that my life had significance. I remember telling each and everyone of them how much I loved them. I remember telling them stories before they slept through the night, stories of my adventures through life that even I had forgotten. And I felt whole.
I know how much I value my life, even in all its extremities, disappointments, failures and accomplishments.
I know that I valued my continuous heartbeat, and when the time came for it to stop, I would be brave.
I was Josephine Myers, ninety - six years old, and ready for the world.