Rain

Have you ever thought about what it would be like if every time you went swimming the water was all black? To open your eyes, even with goggles, would be nothing. See nothing, feel nothing, hear nothing. The only thing you’re aware of is reality itself. That you are actually there, present, and conscious. What about what it would be like if every time it rained, all the water was black? If every time it started to downpour outside the only thing you could say for sure is that there are other things around you. You can see bits and pieces of things through the shroud of darkness but can’t really confirm what’s going on, or who’s who, or what’s what. Now picture a heavy fog or mist. What if it was all black? You usually can’t see further than 15 feet in front of you in fog anyways, but I want you to take just a moment to visualize, stop to feel the uncertainty of what it would like to be inside of dense fog where nothing is visible. You can hear things, but you’re not exactly sure where they’re coming from or who’s making them. Feel the frustration of what it’s like to almost see things clearly, to be on the verge of a complete realization of your surroundings and your reality but being unable to just get past those few more feet of cloudiness and confusion. ​I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and love it here. To give you an idea and feel for the Minneapolis community, I’ll let you in on a secret that a lot of people don’t know. Minneapolis is ranked number one for being the most bike friendly city in the United States. There are bike lanes and trails that lead to just about anything you could ever want in the city. Whole foods, parks, the metro, classy restaurants, churches, not so classy restaurants, you name it and downtown Minneapolis has it. Personally, I am a theatre junkie and lucky for me Minneapolis is home to one of the most beautiful theatres I’ve ever seen. The Guthrie is on the corner of Chicago Ave. and 2nd st. It’s a big, beautiful building with unique architecture and a big bright red sign in front of it. The most recent show that I had been going to see was the Twin Cities’ (Minneapolis and St. Paul) annual tradition of showing A Christmas Carol. I had been watching this production almost every year of my life, this one being my 22nd showing. It was cold out and I was riding my bike down 2nd street and the theatre was just around the bend. It was about 6:00 on a Saturday evening and it was starting to get pretty dark out. I remember it being hard not to focus on the sky which was quickly filling with clouds as the snowfall started to increase and the street lights became more and more beautifully prominent as they made the flakes glisten and light up as they fell around them. I was about two blocks from the theatre when I realized that maybe the citizens of Minneapolis didn’t really care where they were ranked in bicycle friendliness. The anxious feeling that I get from seeing that bright red sign is the last thing that I remember before I was pushed into that swimming pool overflowing with black water. ​The pool is definitely the darkest and most scary place to be. It felt like years of waiting in the dark, wandering around left to nothing but my thoughts and delusions. I drifted in and out of my own consciousness, not knowing, not caring about whether I was in the asphyxiating darkness or lost in a lucid dream state. I felt so stuck but the only thing I could do was keep pushing through the darkness. Heading for a destination when you’re not quite sure where it is painful. Drudging through thick water that you can’t see is terrifying and exhausting, and there are times that I still get tired thinking about it, but I have a drive. A desire. I needed to get out of the pool and back into the light. The most rigorous and taxing part was not being able to hear anything but the slow pulse of my own blood rushing through my body. I remember screaming out and crying just trying to hear my own voice, nothing ever worked. I tore my throat to shreds just hoping for a whisper of sound. BEEP BEEP BEEP Inside the darkness, I jerk my head to the left. BEEP BEEP BEEP. Running around frantically, I start to rifle through the black, scouring for that muffled beeping. “What is that?” I mumbled to myself. It’s felt like an eternity since I’ve heard anything, my own voice startled me. I don’t have time to rejoice though, so I start to run to the sound. I can’t help but to scream at the top of my lungs, crying tears of joy. I just kept running and running, my lungs are on fire and my legs are starting to give out, but I can’t just quit, I’m swimming to the top. But I can only go so far. I’m starting to get light headed and I can’t breathe anymore. “Just keep pushing. Keep going, you’re almost out of the pool.” I keep telling myself, practically begging. My eyesight started to give out. I couldn’t see my hands anymore. I could feel it though, I could feel my fingertips break the surface of the water. I was there. I was out of this dark abyss, if I could just- BEEP BEEP BEEP The lull of those beeps seemed to coerce me out of what I assume was a pass-out. It took me a minute to come to. It was much easier to move now. To walk around without almost complete restriction was freeing. “I think I did it,” I yelled aloud, “I’m out!” I stop and the beeps start again, less muffled, but still not quite clear. It wasn’t until now that I realize that everything is still black. I can’t believe it. I thought I was going to be out. It’d been so long, I can’t take it anymore. I need something, anything, just some sort of interaction. BEEP BEEP BEEP​ “It’s been three weeks, ma’am-“ The extremely muffled voice comes in with the beeps, but is quickly cut out. Who was that? I jump to my feet. I start to run around, carefully listening. I still can’t see where I’m going, but I know that I heard a voice. After a few minutes I decide to stop running. “What if I’m getting further away?” I ask myself with a sudden feeling of dread and regret sweeping over me. I decide to stop and sit down and just clear my head. It’s been three weeks. That was what the voice said. Three weeks. That’s it? It’s been years for me. An eternity of darkness and silence. Three weeks since what? What happened three weeks ago? Was it the sign? Seeing that sign was three weeks ago? I hardly can recall. Who was the ma’am? My mom? Amelia? God, I miss her. She’s the love of my life, and I asked her to marry me eight months ago or has it been nine now? Either way, I miss her like crazy. Whatever this is, I have to beat it. I have to get out of this. This isn’t as bad as the pool, but it’s still draining. I’m caught in this, this… This thick down poor, this unstoppable rain. I still can’t see through it, it’s still pouring down on me. I am drenched in blackness and soaked with an inescapable fear. What feels like a few months pass by, and I have recollected myself. I made it through the pool. I swam to the top and breached the surface. I can make it out of this rain too. I will be able to see and hear clearly again. I will taste the lips of my sweet fiancé and I will hug my mother and little brother again too. I start to head out searching for the next part. The next step to getting out of here. I keep walking and walking and walking. Each day I get a single muffled beep to keep me going. I’m not even sure what it is, but I know that it led me out before, and it will probably do it again. BEEP BEEP BEEP Day after day after day, I’ve been walking for weeks and still nothing but the one beep a day. I’ve had enough of waiting. I yearn to hear a voice again, just one more time, that’s all I need. I don’t sleep, but I do need to rest. Today I had an idea. Before, in the, “pool” I wandered around for what seemed like years. It’s not the distance I travel but how hard that I push forward. It’s time to push again. I get up and start running, sprinting with everything that I have. This time, I won’t fall. I’m going to push past this rain, make it to the clearing. Harder and harder I push, giving it everything I have. I don’t have to go far. I’m breathing so hard my lungs feel like over-inflated balloons and my heart is beating faster and harder than ever before. My legs start to give out underneath me, but I will myself to stay balanced, I know it’s the only way to get out. Harder and harder I push myself, I can hear the beeps clearly now. I’m almost there. “One final push!” I scream to myself. I give it everything I have and my legs finally go out from underneath me. I fall down, but not sure if I am face up or down. Everything is still black. Did I fail? Was I wrong? Does it matter how hard I push? Will I ever make it out? BEEP BEEP BEEP There it is! I can hear it! BEEP BEEP BEEP I can hear it so clearly. I did it. I can hear it all so clearly now. I still can’t see anything, but I’m back to reality. I’m here I made it. I don’t know what the next step is though. That was all I could do. I don’t have anything else to give. “Thanks for meeting us today, doctor,” I hear a voice say. Who was it though, I couldn’t even really tell if it was a man or a woman. “Of course, I just wish it was under better circumstances. Now have you thought about what we’ve discussed? The longer we wait, the less it becomes an option-“ “Doctor, please just give us some more time. We asked you here because we need to know if there’s any more you can do for him” I know that voice. That’s Amelia. I was beginning to think I would never hear it again. I’ve missed her so much, so it pains me to hear her so sad. “Like I said before, his legs were crushed and he suffered a significant head injury, but up until yesterday, that was the only damage.” Up until yesterday? What happened yesterday? Whatever, it doesn’t matter, just get Amelia to talk again, please. I need to hear her voice. “So there’s nothing you can do then, doctor? There’s nothing you can do for my baby?” I hear a woman say through heavy sobs and tears. Was that my mom? What did she say? Nothing that they can do for me? What’s wrong with me? What happen- “Unfortunately, no ma’am. But we are going to need you to make a decision very soon,” the doctor said very quietly and politely. The slow methodical beeping was the only sound in the room for a long time. I heard footsteps leaving the room. For a while I wasn’t sure if they belonged to my mother or Amelia, but Amelia soon found her way to my side. “Oh Calvin,” She cried, saying every word as though it pained her, “We were supposed to get married. Have kids. Live in some quaint little neighborhood and make fun of all of our neighbors. Why did this have to happen?” “Amelia, what’s going on,” I think to myself. I need to figure out what to do. I have to snap out of this. I hear Amelia stand up and sniffle. “Come now Amelia, I need to talk to you,” my mother says quietly and with immense sadness. I heard them both leave the room. It must be late, I heard the nurses switch shifts. The only thing I’ve heard for a while is the steps of the nurses coming and going and the beeping of what I’ve come to realize is the ECG. I have started to hate the sound of it. I listened to these sounds through the night and into what I assume is the morning, I heard three sets of footsteps walk in. “Do you mind if I have the room first guys?” The voice that could only be my little brother James’ said. “Yeah of course,” my mother said, “Take your time, sweetie.” “Thanks guys.” James said sullenly. What in the world is going on? Why is everyone here? Why does James need the room to himself? I have all these questions, but I can’t communicate. I’m here guys, I can hear you. I think James pulled up a chair to the side of my hospital bed, that’s what it sounded like at least. “Cal..” James muffled out with pain in his voice, “You have been the best big brother anyone could ever ask for, man. I thank you so much for all the times we had together. The Vikings games, the fishing, the video games man. I’m so sorry I took those times for Granted, Cal. I love you man.” I listened to James choke all things out. What the hell? Is this a goodbye? James, I am right here, brother. I am right HERE. I heard him walk out of the room and another set walk in. It was my mom, I could tell by her soft whimpering and crying. She sat down next to me and started to sob. “I’m so sorry, my sweet baby boy. You are the light of my world, Calvin. I wish so much that we could trade places right now. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you or your father, and I know that sounds selfish, but I just don’t know what to do any more.” Mom, wait, please. I am here. What’s going on? I’ve got to try again to break this. I’ve got to get out of the fog. I start running through the blackness, grasping for more. I’m giving more than everything I have, I am pushing it to my physical limit. “You were always so sweet, even with that snarky humor of yours…” She managed through her sobs I keep pushing through so hard that it hurts. Come on, please. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it definitely does not sound good. “Okay, you can come in sweetheart,” I caught my mom saying in between lunges forward. “Calvin…” Amelia sobbed. That’s all I got from her was relentless crying and her saying my name. I had to get out, I was so close. I could see the clearing in the distance, I just had to make it there. BEEP BEEP “I’m very sorry for your loss,” I hear the doctor say to my grieving family, “But this is going to help a lot of people. Organ donation is very honorable and I can’t express to you the scope of the effect it will have on families all around. We thank you for making youR decision, we know it’s not an easy one to make.” No, no, no, I can see it. I can literally see the light, the room, their faces. “Okay, it’s time now. Have you all said your goodbyes?” The doctor said in a almost robotic tone. “Yes.” Muffled my brother through tears. “Yeah,” my mom and Amelia said through heavy tears and cries, “We have.” No, please no! I am right here guys, I’m almost there. Like 30 feet. I can almost see the entire room. The doctor’s making his way over to the side of my bed where all of my life support machinery is. Come on, a little further. I fall 10 feet from the light, and I can’t run anymore. I’m crawling at this point. I’m so clo… BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP

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