A Different Place

It was midnight when I found myself wide awake, struggling for the oxygen that my lungs craved for. Little soundless cries beneath a surface alien to me, yet in ways, so familiar. Drowning had been my biggest fear. That moment when you think of all your phobias, for some reason, it had always been the sensation of breathlessness; the despair and agony of being robbed of your right to breath.

The inevitability of my body losing its power to fight back soon found me and I was suddenly just very exhausted. So this was it eh? A whole life of living ending right here, in circumstances beyond my comprehension. the bizarre situation I had found myself trapped in.

And soon, there was darkness.

I opened my eyes to find myself under water. My senses more perceptive and my vision much clearer, every sound ringing in my ears in this body that no longer seemed familiar. Suddenly, the realization kicked in. HOW WAS I NOT DYING OF SUFFOCATION? How was I breathing? And then, I felt a strange new abrasion on my neck. Gills? Hmm. Perhaps. I examined my body and it was definitely different, more accommodated to this new environment.

I swam across this colony of neon colored finger-like projections, with little blue fish emerging from its surface, as if to speculate the new creature among them. The structures would sway from side to side in a rhythmic pattern to a soundless tune. It was a prepossessing sight.

I swam away from the little blue fish and towards this majestic tree. It was striking because of it violet leaves with convoluted design.  Each one shaped differently, like fingerprints. I swayed closer and closer to the tree and observed the life with in it. I saw these beautiful yet perplexing creatures. I could swim and fly at the same time. Awestruck by my discovery, my attention was caught by the the foundation of the tree. The tips of these roots were golden and would sparkle, luring a population of orange butterfly-like-creatures toward itself. They paraded the sparkle, it was almost as if they were worshiping. I wanted to explore the tree further, explore its greatness, but I was caught by a sound.

The sound was of a woman singing a sweet, wordless lullaby, like an opera but more delicate. I swam towards the sublime sound. It was so alluring yet so tragic. I wanted to cry but smile at the same time, I wanted to scream but dance to this bittersweet melody. I felt a rush of different forms of emotions all at once. It was a strange yet beautiful feeling. To be able to feel all that you can feel, all at once. I swam closer and closer to the sound until I found the source; a group of mermaids sitting on a ledge. I wanted to ask them so many questions but it seemed discourteous to interrupt the tune.

I stared at the magnificent creature until I felt as if I was being sucked into nothingness. The nothingness I felt on my arrival to this anomalous land. I knew it was time to go but it was too soon. I wanted to explore further. I wanted more time as I wanted this area to be embedded in my memory; I didn’t want to forget. I could never forget.

Then there was darkness.

I woke up in my bed, a familiar place gasping for air. I was back to my world. The world that seemed so normal, so mundane. My life is so achingly human, mired in quotidian details. I wonder though, did I ever leave or was it all just in my head?

By: Maheen Zaidi


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