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The Little Things In Life
This is a story told from the wiewpoint of a man who has spent most of his life in prison and who is involved in a constant battle with insanity.
I'm 16 living in Dublin, Ireland. Currently writing a book exploring the meaning of life in a philosophical sense and how it has changed down through the ages. Hope to have it published early next year.
The Little Things In Life
Back then things were different. Everything was different. Everyday brought with it miraculous adventures, adventures which came and went in the blink of an eye. You couldn�t become weary. Time didn�t wait for anyone or anything. To stop and catch your breath would be to miss out on the whirlwind of spontaneity that is life.
Of course it�s so long ago now. My memories are fading. Certain incidents occasionally push themselves to the front of my troubled mind. Eager to be noticed. However even my clearest of thoughts will eventually become part of the dizzy blur of my sub-conscious.
Looking across at the black, unforgiving walls I find myself reminiscing. Thinking about what could have been. I imagine myself lying on my back in a small forest glade. The sun�s rays cut through the leaves of the overhanging trees like dozens of gleaming daggers. A river runs through the clearing. The sunlight twinkles on its miniature waves, which endlessly come and go like the hands of time. I lift my head and notice hundreds of flowers cascading down the nearby trees. They remind me of tiny scented waterfalls. Each one as unique and beautiful as the next.
Why do I do this to myself? Why do I constantly torment myself with such fanciful images? The answer is clear. Without these hopes, these dreams, I would have nothing. These words inside my head are my lifeline. When despair drags me down I cling to them and they pull me out of its dizzy maze of nothingness. Of course these threads of hope are just that. Threads, and eventually they will snap and my hidden desires will be torn from my weakening grip, leaving me with nothing but the unfriendly walls of my cell.
I can feel myself losing my grip. I must hold on. I must not let myself be swallowed by this force. A force that has devoured so many prisoners before me. I try to concentrate on the outside world, the little things in life taken for granted by so many people.
A memory from my childhood springs to mind. I remember the day. A sparkling December morning covered in sheets of fresh cold ice. I recall being struck by the phenomenal magnificence of the sky. A vast blue ocean stretching to the ends of the earth. �Look� I said to a passer-by, motioning towards this miracle. �At what?� they replied puzzled, �There is nothing there.�
There is never nothing in life. No space has been left unfilled. The only voids are those created by ignorance and by the failure of people to notice the countless miracles around them. Miracles so carefully carved to perfection.
People naturally notice spectacles such as the changing of water into wine, but what about the miracle of life or love? These phenomena are seen everywhere. Seen everywhere yet noticed nowhere.
It angers me, this utter disregard for such beauty. It is the peoples� world but they are foreigners on their own land. Banished by the barriers they have created, barriers which are strengthened as each new generation is born.
In a sense they are like me. Prisoners of their own minds. Unable to see through the thick steel bars of ignorance. How can they have lost their appreciation of the little things in life? Monotony is never an excuse. One cannot become bored of something that never repeats itself twice. No two days in life are the same. Each brings with it new feelings and experiences. Each day is in essence a miracle in itself.
It seems somewhat ironic. The little things in life, the parts of life most taken for granted are the parts of life I yearn for so much as I remain enclosed in this dark prison. These small habitual rituals don�t blatantly scream for attention, yet they never fail to intrigue me. How something so simple, so normal can be so amazing.
I am strong. These lifeless prison walls will not triumph, for there is a part of me that reaches beyond my mortal heart, a place so sacred that not even the greedy fingers of death can reach it, an untouchable memory box filled with hopes and dreams. I feel despair envelope me like a thick mist, blinding my senses yet strangely sharpening my awareness.
A sudden urge to be free from these chains of imprisonment comes over me. Then anger. Anger for the shot I fired when I was seventeen, anger for the years spent in darkness without the rays of the sun to brighten my thoughts and above all, anger for those men that are free, yet drink the opium of apathy, finding comfort in ignorance, bliss in discounting the little things in life- those exquisite marvels which grace each new day with their presence.
I break down. I have been a fool. My life has become a symbol of the futility of human effort, a constant whirling roundabout with me as the dizzy passenger, shackled to the center, learning nothing but the word �eternity�. My sobs echo through this mindless prison, reverberating off the iron bars that have prevented me from existing for thirty-two years. I have lost my battle with captivity. It has sucked from me the last bit of hope remaining.
Now I am weary. I close my eyes and let these feelings of misery, anguish and despondency wash over me like the ebb and flow of a gentle tide. As I do this, memories come flooding back. The chains which have kept them from me for so long now vanish into my distant past. I can taste the fresh pine smell of winter; sense the crisp, golden feel of autumn leaves under my feet.
Every recollection I had so carefully stored away now rushes through my veins, filling me with such euphoria. I am freed from the thick prison walls of despair. I have overcome my misery, my anguish. I have triumphed.
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"I very much enjoyed this piece. It is professionally written, descriptive, poetic in parts. I hope this doesn't sound patronising, because it would be a damn good piece of writing for anyone, but for a writer of sixteen it's all the more impressive. There were just one or two very minor things that I thought might be improved, but really, it would be splitting hairs to mention them here. Excellent. I wish you success in publishing the book you are currently working on, and look forward to buying and reading it :) Thanks for posting :)" -- Simon King, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, United Kingdom.
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© 2002 Fiona Shine
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