06 June, 2009

Trying to stand.

She gathered her breath and tried to stand. The muscles in her legs screamed with agony and gave way beneath the weight of her soaking clothes and spiritual depletion, but she fought on. She didn’t stop to think about it, she only worked her way upward, sweating. Clinging to the stones on the wall, she fought and wrestled her way up, and though she was heavy, and staggered when she finally lifted herself, the physical burden of her body was oddly gratifying in comparison to the agonizing weight in her heart. Victory. She gathered her posture and began to walk.

Burdened so, she made her way down the backstreet. I must find a place to rest for the night, she thought. She turned one corner, then another; made her way past the back of a putrid café, a seedy depot; throngs of rodents and the cretins of society leering at her coldly as she scrambled along. When at last she stood at the gateway to a busy street, she joined the flock of pedestrians. Each inhalation froze her soft-palette with silence and savage cold. The city consumed her; and for a little while she ceased, entirely, to think.

She leaned, forlorn against a weathered wall and thought, I am not what I was. Indeed. She was nothing, and now at least she was the possibility of something. And this she would defend.


She returned to find him waiting by the window. How long have I been away? she thought to herself. She recounted her journey to him, a seeming stranger after all that had passed.

“But was it not rough?” he asked after a time.

“Certainly it was rough," she replied. "Certainly I was in danger of my life! The ocean of despair, as it were, reached out for me! The impatient foam required my body for its satisfaction! I believe I enraged it by continuing to exist!” she said with a rich, dark humour, “But I am inextinguishable, it seems. I am beyond the reach of temper or of climate," she uttered, "and like a flimsy scrap of cork still bobbing in quiet bays long after the ship has floundered, I have endured…” she let out a profound sob. “Why?” she cried, “What is it that gives me this… this perpetuity?”

She laughed bitterly, her face almost imperceptibly contorting with pain and amusement. Shura did not know it at the time, but she intrinsically possessed two elusive human qualities: one we call beauty, the other called identity. And although the standard notions of disfigurement were not evident, her disfigured spirit endured a terrible sense of tragedy. And it alone articulated, and would continue to articulate, that pain was a necessity. For Shura, as for us all, pain was no accident, nor was it malformation, nor malice, nor misunderstanding. It was integral to her human character, both in its inflicting and in its suffering.

This is pain's role, she thought to herself, it makes beautiful.


  1. AnonymousJune 06, 2009



  2. Wow. It says so much so quickly and artfully.

  3. Stunning. Thanks for sharing Alex.

  4. incredible to see what adversity does for us, and clearly for you, it doesn't just "make beautiful," it has made beautiful words pour from you too.

  5. This is incredible Al. You should seriously write a book!! I'd buy it!

  6. AnonymousJune 18, 2009

    YOU and your mind are two of my favorite things!




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