Being Alive

by Jeng Yang

I stay up in the library a lot, to the early mornings of the day.

Those who know me know I do not study very well so sometimes I do something different.

Our library have light sensors that are triggered by motion sensors. It is common to see a swath of corridors light up as a person comes in and out of the library. When one sits long enough, the motion sensors fail and the lights go out.

Sometimes, I play a slow piano serenade and sit still, long enough to see the lights go out one by one, as the darkness descends steadily towards me until it engulfs me completely.

It becomes so beautifully surreal. No longer buoyed with reality, my mind lifts me by a tether and I watch myself watch myself watch myself.

Life begins, and ends at the edge of comprehension. In the shadow of a distant valley, I feel alive as I take another shuffled step towards the mountain’s peak; frozen, hard air bathe me in the fire of baptism. I am alive, but so, so, very cold.

I feel alive when I put on that uniform. I put on the fire suit, my body drains itself in protest. The heat blurs the mind and enters a special place only the soul could reside. The darkness creeps in slowly, through the corner of my eyes. Soaked, sweat drips down my arms. I am drained and I cannot speak. I push air violently out my throat. It is a hoarse cry; I am alive.

Death comes beautifully. My mind dies with me as I curl up on soft mattresses; my hands rest by my sides. Reborn, always on shrill trumpets, I enter into the twilight state of being and non-being. It…is…slowly…the memories flood back as I find out who I am. For that brief moment, I am not who I am and it reminds me that I am a very small person. I am alive, but what a strange, strange world.

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