Essence Of Life
It's two in the morning, and I have yet to fall asleep. I'm not upset about anything; there's no big exam to cram for tomorrow; I'm not suffering from insomnia. Tonight, I'm just thinking.
If you knew the things I've seen, the terror I've experienced, the Death I've been witness to, you might wonder how I ever sleep at all. It's not as if I never think about the Design, as Alex calls it. Of course I do. Hell, I based my every move around it for while there. Do you think I've forgotten them? Never. I know that they're still out there, safe and sound, in that place where everyone gets a second chance.
The feelings and images are seared into my mind, and will always be there. I see the plane explode; I see the glass shatter; I feel the horror in that room as we stare out the window in shocked silence. I see the flashing lights of the ambulance as they load Tod's strangled body into it. I see myself standing on the sidewalk, splattered in Terry's blood. I see Alex drag Carter from the car; I see the train; I see Billy's headless corpse. I see the crowd of people around Carter's mangled body; I see the neon lights flicker and die along with our friend. How can I still go on, after all this? I can tell you how in one word: Alex.
You may think that I'm one of the last two living survivors of Flight 180. You may think that I walked away from that burning car, without a scratch. Think again. Though Alex may have saved my life that night, it's as if I still died. No, not I, but the old Clear Rivers, the bitter, mistrusting girl whom existed in a dark void, away from the rest of humanity. I spent the entire night at the hospital, pacing the hallways when the doctors finally threw me out of Alex's room. I can't describe what I felt during those endless hours of waiting, because I felt nothing. The agony in my heart was far too great for mere human emotion to express. Finally, in the early hours of the morning, they let me back in to see him. I remember how beautiful he looked lying there, and how badly I longed to hear his voice again, telling me that he would always be with me. As I stood by his bedside, he slowly opened his eyes, his gentle blue eyes, and smiled weakly up at me. I'm not sure what I did then; I may had cried or screamed or laughed, or all three at once. I do know that the joy and relief that flooded my heart was too much to describe. And then, Alex changed my life with just a few hoarsely whispered words-"I love you."
The rain is falling in sheets outside, and a sudden flash of lightning illuminates the bedroom. I turn over and watch the streams of water snake their way down the window, thankful to be inside and dry. It was like this the night of the explosion, and the night that Alex saved me. However, this time the storm is not a harbinger of Death, but an element of Life. Alex has taught me many things about Life. He's taught me to savor every priceless moment, no matter how minuscule it may seem. Because of him, I've been given a second chance. Before I met him, I existed as a stranger in a strange land, hiding from the rest of the world in a vain attempt to also hide from the ugliness inside myself. The only way to channel my strangled emotions was through my art, but even this brought me little happiness. We all strive towards that ultimate goal of happiness, never knowing that the greatest joy in the world is already in our grasp. That joy is life itself. Blind before, I now see the beautiful gift that has always been mine. Every time I gaze up at a starry sky, or taste the sweetness of a fresh apple; every time I feel the rain fall on my skin, or hear the sparkling laughter of a child; every time Alex and I hold hands, or watch the sun set, or make love, I can feel the Life coursing through my veins. The very essence of what it means to be alive is all around us, but I was never aware of it until now.
"Storm's keeping you awake?"
I roll over, snuggling close to Alex. His hair is tousled every which way, a sleepy grin on his face. I can't help but smile.
"Not really. I was just thinking."
He wraps me up in his arms, kissing the top of my head lightly. "'Bout what?"
"Ya know. Everything." The bare skin of his chest is warm, and I rest my head on it.
"Mmm. Typical answer," he says with a soft laugh.
I laugh as well, and the rain laughs along with me.
After a while, Alex is asleep again, his steady breathing blending in with my own. I stay awake, listening to the sound of his heart beating against my ear. The sound of Life. The sound of my Life, now, and forever.