• Ilan Cooley

a year without air

Updated: May 22

"The walking dead know not what they are marching towards; they just lumber on. There is no living, or being, or thriving, or meaning, just the endless trudge onward."


Someone turned off the oxygen and turned out the lights. They finished the job with a big dump of black earth on the spot where I lay motionless waiting for death to come.

“I’m in here,” I scream. No one answers. “I’m still alive. Don’t leave me alone. Help me!” No one comes. Those torturous words ring only in my own ears.


“Married life must really agree with you,” she says. I manage a courteous smile. I cannot find words without air. The glare of the spotlight burns my freshly dabbed eyes. They had been dewy only seconds before there were prying eyes on familiar faces, and cameras and wine glasses clinking and happy hugging. I want to go find a corner and cry, but duty calls. To the outside world it is bouncy auburn curls, a slick dress and all that can be mustered, when you’re not breathing. Inside, it is all rot and decay and darkness.


It was a long slow death, the plague that killed my marriage. Cruel words repeatedly spoken, never retracted. Some broken vows. One broken finger. Discarded dreams. A broken heart. Nobody sends flowers when the corpse is still somehow in motion. How can I still be alive when there is no air?


The walking dead know not what they are marching towards; they just lumber on. There is no living, or being, or thriving, or meaning, just the endless trudge onward. And so it went. Day in and day out I marched along in a world without air. The passage of time had escaped me, and routine was my only solace.

From sunrise to sunset for more than a year, still no air. Spring turned to summer; then the leaves wilted and the snow fell, and still no air. Maybe I drowned in my own tears, I wondered? If only I could swim to the top, maybe there will be air up there.


Through dirt and then mud I swam and swam until my wilted fingers clawed to the top. Franticly, I fought to save myself, wiping the dirt from my eyes. I spat it from my mouth.


Then, up popped a daisy through the grass that had grown over my sarcophagus. The first sign of life.


I am not stronger now. That would be a lie. I am just different. Learning to understand that being weak sometimes is human. There is a new quest for living, and being, and thriving, and meaning.


I’ve learned to breathe again.

3 views

connect with us

Click below to send an email, ask a question or send your comments.

subscribe

Subscribe to the ilan cooley

YouTube channel

join our community

join our community and get notified when new content is posted

© 2020 Copyright Ilan Cooley  Created by Black & White Strategies