Here, broken.

Waiting for the Good Samaritan

Sound. Was that a sound or… me thinking of sound? A voice. Yes, that’s it… the sound of… not words… the sounds of someone in pain. I think it was my voice. Waking to my own voice? What’s happening? Am I dead? Gone mad? No. I because I feel, yes now I feel… pain. Oh… I feel so much pain. How could I not have felt it before? Now it rushes through my whole body, a wave from my head and then to all of me. All I know is the pain that throbs in a pattern the most opposite of any rhythm possible.

Am I even here or is the pain all that is? Am I here? I live in this wave of pain for some duration of time that I have no way of measuring. I wonder if time is even passing. I don’t know.

Now… finally now. The wave of pain is slowly leaving… no… not leaving… only making room for me to be here too. Now I wish it were only the pain and not any of me that was here in this moment. There it is. The sound. My groaning in pain. But it sounds much more like the voice of a child than the voice of one almost 14. Too much like a whimper, too much like a cry, not the deep voice of a man suffering. So that was my voice that woke me – is my voice, my groan of pain.

Why is it so hard to think? It’s dark and my arm is cold and my head keeps sending waves of pain that come from the inside and vibrate out to all of me. Is it dark or are my eyes closed? Or am I blind? Fear comes now, outshouting the pain that I thought nothing could outshout…. I am blind and dying. Why is it so hard to breath? What is happening to me?


I see it. It’s happening. They are coming at me. I know. I know too late. I run forgetting everything else, even to breathe. I only say to myself that a boy like me can out-run old men like them. I say that I’m faster. I say it over and over. I know they are right behind me but I turn to look hoping I am wrong. I see two of them, I notice their lips and teeth lips that seem impossible to ever form any shape but a snarl, then in the rest of the moment, I take in their beards and finally against my will, their eyes. I had not wanted to see their eyes. I turn back to the road ahead scanning for some way of escape. My eyes look too much ahead and too little down. I trip and I fall. I know they are on me now. I don’t look at them, not at those eyes, but in protective reflex, I turn toward them and my arm covers my face, fearing the blow that I know is coming. At that moment I smell them and realize they smell exactly as they look. I wonder if their appearance makes them smell that way or their smell makes them look that way. It is during the brief moment of this thought, that takes much longer to say that to do, I feel the dull crack of my forearm and I feel no pain but watch it drop limp and hang by my side, useless, useless to defend me. I fall to my back, feeling now the pain in my arm as the landing jars me. I wonder if my arm is still attached.

I still do not look at them. I try to roll over, to get up, but my legs won’t help me. Something heavy and alive is crushing down on my ankles. I try to get on my knees using my one good arm putting out of my mind how impossible it will be for me to get up and run with only one arm to help me up and no legs to help me if I did get up. I only think about going forward, looking down the road, using every once of my strength to get me there. I try to move down the road by the power of my will alone.

I feel a handful of my hair caught, jerking my head back. A noise fills my head starting from the crown, a noise that I feel more than hear because it resonates so deeply in my bones , a broad, flat, echo mixed with the sound of something wooden breaking. My mind halts and I know nothing except the echo for half a second. Then the hardened path races up to meet my face. The road presses into my forehead, nose, cheeks… presses too hard.

Time slows down.

All I smell and taste is dust and dirt. I notice this means I’m breathing and wonder if I’ll cough or choke on the dirt in my mouth and nose. A little stone is pressing against my cheek – into my check, a tiny stone. I’m thinking about a little stone and knowing that if I were walking this path as before I would almost certainly not even seen the stone. My body is feeling other things but my mind is on the little stone. I imagine what it looks like – how it looks against my cheek. It feels smooth. I don’t feel pain or fear, just the little stone. It’s all that’s here.

A stone, a pebble on the road, pressed against my face becomes my whole whole world.

Help myself?

I am remembering. I just lived a memory. I won’t say just a memory because it was as real as if it were happening right now. But I remembered what happened before I found myself hearing my voice. It was before I woke up here but how long before? Hours? Days? I can only see a dim light out the side of my right eye. My left eye is closed still – in the dirt. I can think more clearly now. I know I’m on the ground. I should move, get up, look around to see where I am… where they are. Are they still here? No. That was hours ago at least… yesterday? The dim light I see out of the corner of my right eye looks like morning light.

I remember more… I was traveling to the village, walking as it was growing dark, telling myself I could make it to the village while it was still light. Was that last night or two nights ago? My coins, my purse, my coat, my shoes! I know now without checking that they are gone. I was robbed. Left as dead. They left me but left me alive. I wonder if they know I didn’t die. The fear rushes back. Where are they? Who else will come? I have to get myself up and somewhere safe. I try to move. I can turn my head now a little, enough to open both eyes. I realize right now that I was thinking I only had one good eye left. I was scared to try to open it. I didn’t say it to myself but I was sure my left eye was gone, punctured, torn, ripped out… words I didn’t let myself say in my mind. It’s a strangely warm feeling – knowing I have both eyes. Full of this new relief, I try to get my arms under me to raise myself up. My right arm lies still even though I am willing it to move and help me. It lies still. Using only my left arm I slowly raise myself but only end up rolling sideways, bringing a new sharp pain to my ribs. I am on my back. Breathing deeply now brings the sharp pain with every breath. I can’t get myself anywhere. I can only lay here beside the road I was travelling last night – or was it two nights ago. I don’t know.

Thinking, Hoping

Laying on my back and being able to see the sunlight shifting finally gives me a sense of time passing. Before when I was on my face every moment seemed like the only moment and none the moments moved on to another. I have never known that ugly terrifying side of time before, its ability to move so slowly that each moment is too much to bear. But now I could think, plan, think of options, possibilities. I find that if I just take shallow breaths and try not to fight the pain in my head and arm, I can think clearly or very close to clearly. I can think. I am not going mad. My mind will not be strangled by a snarled web of confusing thoughts.

I allow my mind to take the next step, hope. I know its risks. Although not yet 14 I have suffered many losses in my life. The feeling of being a fool for hoping! Who do I think I am to have that sort of hope! The embarrassment of allowing others to know my hope and see it crushed. Who does he think he is to have that sort of hope! But I also remember times when I was without hope. Those were times of such deep despair that I do not allow myself to go over them now except to remind me of the need to have hope. So I allow myself hope. I think of the ways that I can be rescued, helped. I think of how I can work to regain what was taken. I think of being able to return to my family. I am comforted with the knowledge that it will be many days still before they begin to realized something might have happened to me. But some traveler will come and see me and help me and I will be able to get on my way. That’s my hope.