"I Cannot See"

October 24, 2008
By Ashley Chambliss, Herndon, VA

I see the dark, an area of vacant nothingness. A black hole is inside of me creating a void that was impossible to ignore. I touch my eyes but I cannot see. I can’t look anymore at this massive earth filled with constant chaos; this place that could slowly break me. My throat tightens making it hard to control the normalcy of my own breathing. I struggle to lift my limp arms up to my eye sight, I can only feel my palms shaking uncontrollably, and I try to focus. I push my bangs off my sweating face. A sharp pain propels me to grasp my neck; I open my mouth to shout. It hurts to feel the howl run through my mouth but the only sound is silence. Why is this happening? I can’t distinguish anything, not my feet from my body, not a wall from for a path. I feel my head spinning. I snap my eyelids shut too break up the reality of this nightmare.
I begin to envision laughter, and hugs, and music that sounds so sweet. This is not where I am, but where I want to be. I’m some place like in a corn maze with so many rugged bushes with light brown leaves, slowly dying from their bright green color that thrives in the warm seasons, and the never-ending foliage packed forests. I cannot escape I find myself running in circles and it brings me into a dizziness I have to hold my head to control. I feel the color of my body washing away, that will leave me to appear pale. I see no one, I cannot see. These apparitions leave me with loneliness that make me sick. Thinking back to school days, I see tons of lockers and full hallways. The picture zooms in on me; it’s as if I was walking in a bubble. The instinct of animals is when they sense fear, they create a protection, I understand now that my defense is blinding the visions I see. I never knew I created my own compound to conceal the world from seeing me. I count the footsteps, one…two…one…, the pattern repeats soon engraving itself in my mind. I hate this sentiment of absolute isolation from every sight of this chaotic world and everyone who inhabits it.
I wonder where my happiness went. I remember long weekends with lots of friends and plentiful giggling. I remember myself and my own contentment. I remember when my hand could fit perfectly into my best friend’s and his scent that stayed on me; I recreate the time my brother and I sang the first song we ever created. But all those times are gone and vague details make it hard to recall. I do remember watching the day my family ripped apart, or the weeks when we had no power in our home. I remember this, I remember, I remember, nothing good ever stays for long. Like that night, last spring when my best friend walked away, I felt his consoling scent fading with the shadows of his body. I wiped tears away and sat still on the park bench when he turned his back on me. This temporary sightlessness is result of how I’ve acted towards others to the way people treat me in return. My own senses are leaving me, to give me a moment of peace. I cannot feel what I touch, my fingertips are now numb. This whole town has changed me from an outgoing friend, to someone who is secluded and left to only depend on herself. I can’t stand it. I wish I could march up the steps of a city bus and drop my dollars happily into the money box with no worries when the driver agreed to take me as far as he will go. I refuse to go a new place of more dark, newer sadness. No more darkness, I just want to see. I want to be free, let god take these wretched shackles off my legs. I want to watch when the dirt creates a cloud from the clanking of chains when metal finally hits the ground. That would be the best sound in the world, leaving the most charming taste on my tongue that I can savor. My mind fastens like a vault’s door slamming shut, bringing me back to the outlandish blackness. I know I can dream in this space of the perfect humanity, but here I cannot see it.

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