An Essay from a Reader: Braving the Journey

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 4:19 PM
..Braving the journey.....

This is the second time I am travelling down south.  The early morning cold caressing my head. I wrapped myself in my jacket as the bus was speeding its way in the expressway. Yesterday had been a roller coaster of emotions, and my cowardice and fear got the better of me. I was actually in the line already, having had secured a number, yet I could not muster enough willpower to approach the nurses.  Defeated and crying, I went home just when the queue started.

Now, I feel isolated despite the big crowd lining up for the start of the releasing of queue numbers. I don't understand how but I just have this haunting feeling that all of us were congregated for the same purpose, gathered by the same affliction.

Time indeed has an eerie way of seemingly stretching its hands to eternity when one is expecting his turn. I was unconsciously fidgeting, patiently waiting for the clock to strike seven. I tried to be occupied by being familiar with my surroundings. All I saw were anxious faces covered with sunglasses and facemasks; a faint attempt for anonymity. I bought mine the previous day, and as I was about to proceed to the billing counter, my hands began to perspire profusely, and I failed to put it on....

Strange, but it seems that I can see right through everyone's facade; those sad but determined eyes hiding behind the darkly tinted glasses, darting furtive glances, those voices; hushed and mumbled. Was it really these people or was I seeing right through my own soul?


Numbers 30- 50 were summoned and I timidly followed. My mind was preoccupied with questions and random thoughts and I was vividly conscious of the inquisitive stares thrown by those who were seated. The odor of the hospital was assaulting my nose; that distinct scent which reminds one of his mortality, of his fragility, his vulnerability...

A gentle nudge made me snapped from daydreaming, and as I was interviewed by the nurses, I struggled to keep my voice from breaking. A series of numbers and processes were elaborately drawn by the other nurse; his voice distinctly mechanical and neutral; perhaps, due to the hundreds of random people whom he had the privilege of handing out their sentence, or a conscious effort on his part to adhere to neutrality to avoid any hint of judgment...
I  never found out as I headed to where everyone was flocking...

My steps were short and uneven. As I tried to find the rooms for extractions, cold fear was gradually erroding my resolve to continue with all the required tests for the day, Many times, I just wanted to simply ran out of the building again and go home, to forget that I have ever found out and to just continue living, existing, sailing to wherever life will bring me.... All along, I have convinced myself that I have already fully accepted my fate, yet here I was, shuddering, my extremities cold and unresponsive. 
I slumped in the farthest seat away from everyone, my stomach growling, my eyes once again on the verge of tears.... I was frightened, afraid of the magnanimity of what I am about to face....

As the day progressed, the void inside my heart was starting to feel heavy. This was the longest day of my life...

Tests and counsellings came one after the other. I tried to look around and realized that people do have different ways of coping with adversty. Most, with head low were staring blankly at the floor, murmuring intelligibly. A few, hands clasped were evading  glances from seatmates, others were surprisingly calm and composed. 
I was silently sobbing. I went to the restroom. I can taste the bitter reflux of my morning milk. I gagged; relentless, convulsive. If only I can forcefully vomit my illness.....

The intermittent shout calling on patients from the counselling room was a  painful reminder of reality, of the reason why we were there... 

After an agonizing hour, I was finally invited inside. I seated myself opposite the available nurse, trying my very best to stifle the deluge of tears. After some encouraging pleasantries, I found myself asking for her mobile number. It was only during that instant that I realized that I was so lost, and my soul was desperately wishing for someone to be beside me, someone to lend me strength and candor, a friend to replenish my waning optimism. I longed for validation, for a companion in this difficult journey. I have never felt so alone in my entire existence.... 

I was assigned a code, a lifetime identification. My facemask suddenly 
seemed to have clamped tightly, making my breathing visibly laborious. I realized that this code was supposed to protect whatever privacy all of us was left with. This was me now, reduced to a mere combination of alphanumeric characters and letters. I am officially part of the dreaded statistics...

For a brief moment, I found my spirit soaring, free from all the worries of my condition... the nurse unknowingly lifted the heavy weight of my burden with her encouraging and positive words...and for that I am forever grateful....
May you and your comrades continue to touch the lives of similar patients, for you never know how much a small gesture of kindness can ease our doubts and sufferings....

I finished 3 hours before the releasing of results. After grabbing some overdue breakfast in the canteen, I tried to rest under the shade of a tree in the parking area. At last, everything was at peace, everything was in its due place. The glorious clouds, the blistering sun, the blissful breeze, the busy ants, the falling leaves.... I might have fallen into a nap, but the wild vibration of my phone catapulted my slumbering consciousness back to where it is supposed to be, where it is needed; reality.... 
Before I knew it ,I finished the preliminary tests, with some prescriptions pending the result of  the xray. Boy was I proud of myself. I know this was just a small step towards my healing, and I hope I will be able to couragously face the others throughout my lifetime...

They say life is what we make it, and we are the captain of our own ship. I have once steered mine into the treacherous sea of disobedience and sin.

Now, I am trying with all my might to pick up the pieces and to steer my wayward ship back to the right path.

I pray that you be my wind when I am once again beset by temptation, that you be my shining star when everything seems to be dark and uncertain, that you be my strength when my heart is filled with fear and sorrow. 

Leave me not my friend, for I am afraid of braving this heavy cross alone.....





POZZIEPINOY’S RESPONSE

Thank you for this wonderful essay. To those who want to write their stories and their journeys, please email TRR at contact@projectredribbon.org.

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Stay healthy,
Pozziepinoy






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