The Power of Paper

This pain is unbelievable.

I am not just using this as a figure of speech – I mean I genuinely cannot believe it. This pain defies all logic; it should not exist. It is torture, impossible to believe. Unfathomable. Incomprehensible. This piercing, undiluted agony fogs my mind and clouds my vision. I can no longer perceive the world around me. There is no steady stream of red liquid, there is no metallic smell, there are no blinding lights above my head. There is nothing but this. My gasping breaths, waves of nausea, and this penetrating, pulsating pain.

I suddenly feel intense jealousy and hatred toward the past version of myself who has not yet experienced this misery. How blissfully at peace I was. How sure of my place of comfort in the world. Stupid, ignorant, ungrateful girl. I want to spit in her face, I want to gouge her eyes out.

This pain feels very intimate, like it was specially designed for me alone. Someone took the time to sculpt it from the dirt, make alterations here and there, fashion it for me personally. This is my pain. No one else has ever or will ever experience pain exactly like this. This pain and I, we are each other’s destiny. Every step I have ever taken has been in pursuit of it, and I just didn’t know it.

It is the kind of pain that makes you reflect on everything you have ever known to be true. I thought I was happy, once. I thought I was loved and content. Was I, ever? Is happiness even possible in a world where this kind of pain – this ruthless, despicable agony – can exist? How can these two opposing forces occupy the same world? It cannot be, I must have been imagining it. There was never love. There has only ever been this pain, this absolute, all-encompassing desolation.

It boggles my mind that the pain did not exist five minutes ago. It feels like it has always existed – I cannot remember a time when this misery was not consuming my every thought. In fact, it is all that has ever existed. When the world was created, and life sprung out of nonexistence, this pain was there. Many millennia from now, when the universe closes its eyes into blackness one final time… in those last sputtering moments, this pain will be there. It is the beginning and the end. It is everyone and everything and everywhere.

Just as the blackness threatens to overwhelm me, there is hope. Beautiful, merciful hope. I am consumed with relief – knocked sideways by it. My choking gasps become deep, calming breaths. My pounding heart begins to slow. This hope is my salvation, my oasis. I imagine it as a powerful, glowing light – but instead it comes in the form of a small nude adhesive rectangle.

The band-aid envelops my throbbing finger like a warm embrace, and I allow myself to believe that I might just be okay after all.

3 thoughts on “The Power of Paper

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