My lungs are collapsing as I scream for my life, one last moment of struggling to get someone to hear me. I am sealed under a plane in a game called “Christmas Cracky,” my job to figure a way out of my entombment, being smart enough to get out of the trap by myself.
The trap, though, is rigged, so all that happens is it tightens as my chest is compressed tighter with every breath, the back of my throat burning with pain as I try and scream for help. Not only does no one hear me over the voice of the engine, but the raw pain just increases as my mouth dries out, clogging my breath with every gasp for a bit more air.
Struggling, struggling, struggling for a last bit of breath, the recognition that my quest is futile sets in and I prepare myself to die, the sadness swamping me as my final air leaves me, never to come back.
All I can do is choke myself awake, breathing shallowly as I wake, my skin soaked with clammy sweat. I realize the Christmas Cracky game has been a dream, just some kind of fatal experience of compression beyond revival, that leaves my body in spasmodic aches.
My dry throat has combined with my viewing of the second season of “Transparent,” and the kind of shock that ripples through the Pfefferman family and their kin, the waves of loss that destabilize them to their cultural roots, immersing them in echoes of trauma and terror, leaves me wet, hurting and lost in this dark, isolated basement.
How long have I been screaming, told to help myself out of my own coffin, others assured that I am smart enough to find my way out of the closing, compressing crypt?
Even as I try to pull my tortured, jangled body back towards some kind of stability by doing the only thing I know how to do to offload my experience, typing into a text box on my screen, the best sharing I can possibly find to do, I know that tomorrow is my father’s birthday, marking exactly three years since he and my mother died under my care.
It took to and a half years for the finances to be settled, so for the last six months I have been stalled in my own vacuum, unable to reboot, to start breathing on my own again. I gasp for breath and find only pockets of muck and sewage, clogging me up and forcing me to try and squeeze my lungs clear one more time, never getting enough volume, feeling the compression, losing air bit by bit by bit.
I wake up in a sweat, my mind struggling to make sense of my experience, of an aging and damaged body, of desperate isolation, of emotional entombment and every time feels closer to the last. It is no effete, artistic game for me, it is the residual capacity of a closing life lived fighting for space, for air, for breath. The ache, well, it does not stop.
There is no one else, though, to move the story along, to offer caring release, to play the part of salvation. I’m supposed to be smart enough to do this by myself, and even when I reach out to clinical professionals, they can’t imagine any way to change the scars accrued from a tortured life full of scraping for survival and love while carrying too much, too much, too much, too much.
The epigenics of my life, the weight I have struggled to carry and pass through, have left me paying a high cost, going deep into deficit in a way I can’t just use my own thinking bootstraps to pull myself out.
So I wake up gasping for breath, shock coursing through my body, desperately trying to think of some thing, some place, some experience, some connection that can help to heal me.
And all I can do is write & pray.