A Thousand Tears

It was cold against my face.

I took a deep breath and pulled myself up. The dampness of the concrete stuck to the side of my face leaving me almost too numb to feel anything. It was then that I realized that I did not know where I was. The room was not my room and it was no place that I could recall being. In fact, the only two things I could note was that I was in a room with a concrete floor, and that there was a window with a sickly yellow glow outside. I was somewhere – but I did not know where.

Almost if on cue – the churning started. Looking forward I saw the otherside of the room began to fill up with water – but not in the normal convention in that the water started to flood my way. Rather, the water began to build up on the far end of the room and began to slosh back and forth against an invisible wall. It was like watching the ocean captured in small glimpse of memory. With each splash against this invisible wall, the water seemed to become more “angry” – as if that was a concept. Now fulling pulling myself off the floor, I stood tall and watched as the water began to slam back and forth against this invisible wall – yet it was changing. There was something more to those foamy heads as they slapped themselves against the unyielding wall. Each time the slammed – they became more focused, more sharper in shape and presence. Each slam against the invisible wall soon became a slash – a cut into the wall. One became two, two became four, four was eight and so on and so forth.

Gone was the frothing walls of the sea and in its place were rotating, churning blades of water cutting against the barrier between us. The cold fear of the unknown was soon replaced by the gowning anxiety in my chest. The waves – these blades…they were coming for me. Looking around – there was no door to exit this dark concrete room. There was no ladder or way of making it to the high window of sickly light that watched me. All I could do was stand and watch this churning mass of destruction wear away the only thing that was keeping me from utter destruction.

There was no one else in the room with me and there was nothing to aid me in any of this. I was alone, unarmed, and unprepared. For a fleeting moment, I thought of my family – my mother and siblings. Where would they be without me – where are they now? Was I truly alone? My mind then raced to my friends – those that I considered family – brothers and sisters even. None of them would know – none of them here…

It shattered – like a thousand panes of glass – glossy tears of frozen sand that exploded in front of me. I threw my arms up out of instinct as I felt those shards tear into me. The pain was greater than I had previously experienced – more than heartache, and a father’s disappointment – deeper than the loneliness we constantly fought off. This was a pain unlike any other – yet I knew there was more to come. Slowly raising my head, I stared at the churning ocean on the other side of the room. What was once a violent sea, became an assembly line of razor sharped blades comprised of the sea water itself. Much like the tide – it pulled back to create a sense of false relief right before it charged forward. The watery blades of destruction ebbed closer and closer.

The instinct to run and find higher ground was there – but where could I go? What could I do. The only window was too far high and past the sea line. There were no doors, vents or anything too hide in. There was only myself and the sea. In a few minutes – the blades would be close enough to slice my skin to ribbons. I had no where to go, but inside my head. This is where I had a choice – do I continue to scramble and look for a way out, or do I just accept it? Do I just accept the destruction coming to me? There was no way out – so why bother? I should just stand here and let it come. I should just let the waves – these harbingers of destruction just take me…

Yet – there was another thought that came in my head. Something I should blame on someone else. Instead of standing there, I took a step forward. I took that step forward and followed it up by another, and then another. I began to close the distance between myself and the waves. The closer I got – the more horrible the noise became as I could see the waves churning everything it touched, including the concrete beneath it. I didn’t care – it would not matter. This isn’t to say that I suddenly became a nihilist – rather, I had accepted the path before me and even my own choice would not deter my decision.

I felt the chill of the water before I ever felt the firey pain of my skin being sliced into ribbons. It was a numbing sensation that I remembered from years before on the shores of Balboa and Newport. That cold was an old familiar friend that embraced me with cold arms. Those cold memories of times long past allowed me to ignore the pain on my chest as the water blades slashed into me. Yet – I did not back away, I only walked forward. In my mind, I could see my flesh being cut to shreds – like hunk of meat on a deli butcher’s machine. Yet it was not just pain – it was my own anxiety, my depression, even my own self loathing. This cold pain was nothing new – it was something I knew. This was pain I dealt with every day of my life when I questioned whether I was a good enough person, a good enough friends, a good enough father. All this pain – I knew this and…and I hated it. I hated it like I hated myself.

I screamed.

I screamed so loud that I felt my voice give out and all the air in my lungs leave. I thought it was the last time. It was the last time. It should have been the last time.

“Get up – we have work to do,” a voice said.

I looked up, there was a familiar face. He smiled at me as he reached out with his hand, “Its like I told you – the first challenge will always be the hardest. It will be elemental – something daunting and unrelenting that cannot be avoided. If you can make it though that – you will make it through to the otherside. You did it, you made it man – but now…now we have a fuckton of work to do.”

I took his hand and stood tall – I had forgotten how much tallen I was than him. I looked at him – waiting for his name to drift back into my mind. Instead he slapped my shoulder, “Names have power – it will come to you when the moments right. Welcome to the City’s Reflection – hope your in the mood for a ride.”

It was cold against my face.

I took a deep breath and pulled myself up. The dampness of the concrete stuck to the side of my face leaving me almost too numb to feel anything. It was then that I realized that I did not know where I was. The room was not my room and it was no place that I could recall being. In fact, the only two things I could note was that I was in a room with a concrete floor, and that there was a window with a sickly yellow glow outside. I was somewhere – but I did not know where.

Almost if on cue – the churning started. Looking forward I saw the otherside of the room began to fill up with water – but not in the normal convention in that the water started to flood my way. Rather, the water began to buildup on the far end of the room and began to slosh back and forth against an invisible wall. It was like watching the ocean captured in small glimpse of memory. With each splash against this invisible wall, the water seemed to become more “angry” – as if that was a concept. Now fulling pulling myself off the floor, I stood tall and watched as the water began to slam back and forth against this invisible wall – yet it was changing. There was something more to those foamy heads as they slapped themselves against the unyielding wall. Each time the slammed – they became more focused, more sharper in shape and presence. Each slam against the invisible wall soon became a slash – a cut into the wall. One became two, two became four, four was eight and so on and so forth.

Gone was the frothing walls of the sea and in its place were rotating, churning blades of water cutting against the barrier between us. The cold fear of the unknown was soon replaced by the gowning anxiety in my chest. The waves – these blades…they were coming for me. Looking around – there was no door to exit this dark concrete room. There was no ladder or way of making it to the high window of sickly light that watched me. All I could do was stand and watch this churning mass of destruction wear away the only thing that was keeping me from utter destruction.

There was no one else in the room with me and there was nothing to aid me in any of this. I was alone, unarmed, and unprepared. For a fleeting moment, I thought of my family – my mother and siblings. Where would they be without me – where are they now? Was I truly alone? My mind then raced to my friends – those that I considered family – brothers and sisters even. None of them would know – none of them here…

It shattered – like a thousand pains of glass – glossy tears of frozen sand that exploded in front of me. I threw my arms up out of instinct as I felt those shards tear into me. The pain was greater than I had previously experienced – more than heartache, and a father’s disappointment – deeper than the loneliness we constantly fought off. This was a pain unlike any other – yet I knew there was more to come. Slowly raising my head, I stared at the churning ocean on the other side of the room. What was once a violent sea, became an assembly line of razor sharped blades comprised of the sea water itself. Much like the tide – it pulled back to create a sense of false relief right before it charged forward. The watery blades of destruction ebbed closer and closer.

The instinct to run and find higher ground was there – but where could I go? What could I do. The only window was too far high and past the sea line. There were no doors, vents or anything too hide in. There was only myself and the sea. In a few minutes – the blades would be close enough to slice my skin to ribbons. I had no where to go, but inside my head. This is where I had a choice – do I continue to scramble and look for a way out, or do I just accept it? Do I just accept the destruction coming to me? There was no way out – so why bother? I should just stand here and let it come. I should just let the waves – these harbingers of destruction just take me…

Yet – there was another thought that came in my head. Something I should blame on someone else. Instead of standing there, I took a step forward. I took that step forward and followed it up by another, and then another. I began to close the distance between myself and the waves. The closer I got – the more horrible the noise became as I could see the waves churning everything it touched, including the concrete beneath it. I didn’t care – it would not matter. This isn’t to say that I suddenly became a nihilist – rather, I had accepted the path before me and even my own choice would not deter my decision.

I felt the chill of the water before I ever felt the firey pain of my skin being sliced into ribbons. It was a numbing sensation that I remembered from years before on the shores of Balboa and Newport. That cold was an old familiar friend that embraced me with cold arms. Those cold memories of times long past allowed me to ignore the pain on my chest as the water blades slashed into me. Yet – I did not back away, I only walked forward. In my mind, I could see my flesh being cut to shreds – like hunk of meat on a deli butcher’s machine. Yet it was not just pain – it was my own anxiety, my depression, even my own self loathing. This cold pain was nothing new – it was something I knew. This was pain I dealt with every day of my life when I questioned whether I was a good enough person, a good enough friends, a good enough father. All this pain – I knew this and…and I hated it. I hated it like I hated myself.

I screamed.

I screamed so loud that I felt my voice give out and all the air in my lungs leave. I thought it was the last time. It was the last time. It should have been the last time.

“Get up – we have work to do,” a voice said.

I looked up, there was a familiar face. He smiled at me as he reached out with his hand, “Its like I told you – the first challenge will always be the hardest. It will be elemental – something daunting and unrelenting that cannot be avoided. If you can make it though that – you will make it through to the otherside. You did it, you made it man – but now…now we have a fuckton of work to do.”

I took his hand and stood tall – I had forgotten how much tallen I was than him. Looking down at him, I tried to place his name – his face from a fog of memory. I narrowed my eyes as I looked at him – waiting for his name to drift back into my mind. Instead he slapped my shoulder, “Names have power – it will come to you when the moments right. For now , welcome to the Reflection. I hope your in the mood for the ride.”