the Abyss

I am tumbling.

Down, down, down.
The sensation is pleasant at first.
The feeling of weightlessness seems euphoric.
Then, suddenly, Terror grips me
I feel my windpipe constrict
Reeling and flailing
I kick and struggle and resist
but to no avail.
Jagged rock and clods of dirt grasp and cling
Bite and scratch unrelentingly
I feel my bones crack and wail
I taste warm blood upon my lips
And I cry out
But produce no sound strong enough
to carry toward the light that has long since receded above
The pit in my stomach yawns in enormous dread
Like a giant chasm
Helplessness.
And so I,
I succumb
to Gravity.
Blackness.
Disoriented.
I wake. At least, I think I do.
Unconsciousness slips away, then returns
like a lingering wave upon the sand.
It’s so hard to tell.
I know something’s broken.
My jaw? My ribs? My arm?
But the panic has seared all pain
And coalesced into a numbness
My eyes strain, willing to see some form or shadow.
But, perceiving nothing,
I quickly lose heart.
The same old Terror seizes me.
I stumble, hands outstretched
Scrambling, clamoring for the edge, a wall, a stone
Anything.
Where are my bearings?
What are bearings?
There is no north or south, nor east, nor west
Words lose their meaning down here.
The falling has warped all sense of space and time
I blink.
The fluttering of my own eyelids is the only sensation and signal I can perceive
There is no light down here.
Day 14.
I have memorized the walls.
Some of them, anyway.
They stretch before me, these alien cavernous canyons
Taunting me, evading me.
I struggle to climb and grip the sides
But I know better by now.
I have fallen too many times to count.
Convex, concave
The sheer height and angles prevents me from what I desire.
Escape.
Day 21.
My eyes have not adjusted.
In fact, they’re probably useless by now
but I have learned not to need them.
The walls that I have loathed
Have become familiar.
I know their grooves, their nuances.
I dare to explore
Creeping along, sometimes sprinting ahead
around corners and nooks and quarries.
I am in uncharted territory, but it matters not.
By now,
I can anticipate their turnings, their leanings.
Day 39.
The loathing has passed.
It is Loneliness, and not Terror that grasps for my attention
But I pay her no heed.
I recall days up Above
The smell of new shoes
and of filet mignon
The soft murmur of in low-lit rooms
The thrill of new conversation
and uncovering the mystery of Another
Navigating through
Insecurities and quirks
Phobias and defense mechanisms
and being bound by memories
by obligation
by preconception
and self-consciousness.

And I recall
the pain of learning to unveil myself
in the presence of Another
and
unlearning Fear.
I fight exhaustion
drift to sleep…
I am stunned to wake and realize one morning–
if it can be called that down here–
That this Abyss
has always been part of my world.
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