I’m in the middle of a lake that’s covered with ice. I notice that the ice was starting to melt and it was getting pretty thin. I don’t even know how I got here. It’s like I just woke up and suddenly I was in the middle of that lake. I try to take a step but the ice cracks from the pressure, but I know I can’t just stay in place either.
I keep willing the ice to hold together, willing the cold to stay so the ice doesn’t break. I keep walking, searching for a place that’s safe, but all I see for miles and miles is the frozen lake.
I know at any moment I could fall through and drown.
Hours pass, I find a spot where the ice isn’t so thin. I rest there for a while and actually start to feel safe. I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. Soon enough, the ice starts to melt and break. Then I’m back to walking on the thin ice. I keep willing the ice to hold together and for the cold to stay. It seems to work, but I’m so tired and this has been going on for so long. I start to wonder if it would be so bad if the ice were to break. I wonder what would be worse, the cold water or this never ending state of trying to hold it in. But no, I can’t let go. The ice is the only thing keeping me from the pain. I have to be strong.
I was so tired. I stopped willing the ice to hold together. I stopped willing the cold to stay. I decided to let go.
I fell into the cold, dark water. It was horrible. I regretted my decision instantly. I was thrashing around trying to get back up on the ice but it wouldn’t let me. It’s like the water was pulling me down, enveloping me in pain. I didn’t like the pain. I wanted to feel numb again. I wanted anything but this.
I kept trying to hold onto the ice but without anyone willing the cold to stay, warmth started to creep in. It melted the ice that was keeping me from drowning altogether. I hated that warmth. For months, I kept willing it to stay away. Yet now, I could feel how it warmed the water. How it warmed my body so I wasn’t feeling so numb any more. I started to float. I still felt the pain but it seemed farther away somehow.
I felt more at peace despite the pain. As if by accepting the water everything was less horrible. After some time drifting in this limbo like state, I hit land. For months, I searched and walked on ice and I couldn’t find safety. Yet when I let go and let the warmth in, safe ground found me. When I was one the ice nothing hurt, but I was also numb from the cold. I was so tired. When I let go, I was plunged into pain but then after some time, I could feel again.
I felt rested.
I scrambled onto land,
and for the first time in a very long time,
I felt happy again.