by P.A. Lovas

I couldn't breathe. Almost as if my throat had been severed, all I could bid of my lungs were quick, painful gasps. It felt like I was drowning, I tried to move, to flail my arms in my frenzy. But even the smallest movements sent waves of nausea rushing through me, and I could taste the bile rise in my throat. And for the first time, it wasn't an unpleasant taste as it had always been. This time, it seemed to be something deeper. Something I could not quite explain.

Then, it hit me. Life. This was what life tasted like. So hot and bitter, brought on by the most unpleasant of feelings. Yes, that was life. An unending circle or torment and pain, lightly scattered with a handful of good times. But, in the end, did that make it worthwhile?

I remember as a child, I was told, "The world is a stage, and you can play whatever role you choose." Isn't that the truth? Everything is a game. An imaginary folklore that we convince ourselves is real, when in reality, we are all just puppets being pulled by the strings of those around us. A miserable existence where all you can do is obey. How is this worth anything?

I shiver. I'm cold. Another sign of life, and another painful one at that. We are brought into this world causing suffering, and we spend the rest of our existences making up for it. Everything ends in pain. No good emotion can last for long. The warmth of the sun ends in burns; the feel of the grass ends in stains; friendship ends in betrayal; love in heartbreak; life in death. A proverbial path that leads in the road of pain, brining torment to any who dare to tread it.

You call me jaded, but I shrug it off. I don't care. It's the truth. I am jaded, in your eyes. But in mine, I see truth. This is how things really are.

As the old saying goes, "Nothing can last forever." Those words ring so true, but yet, it is false. There is something that lasts forever. Pain. You begin your life with it, end with it, and the in-between is riddled with it. In the end, is it worth it?

It's dark, and the darkness seems to seep into my every pore. I try to scream, but I have no voice. My voice was silenced years before. When did I loose my way? Why do I now desire to find it?

The darkness grows thicker, and I can almost feel the cold, dank hands pulling me deeper. "Who are you?" a voice calls out. Who am I? I'm me, aren't I? But, who is me?

I know I'm not who others think I am. In reality, the me you know is a fa├žade, an impenetrable mask that I lost myself to for as long as I can remember. I've locked myself away someplace where that I can't find. The all too brief searched all end in that obnoxious wave of nausea and disapproving looks of those around me. The normal people.

"Normal." Such a short word. Seems so small and insignificant. But it has the power to make or break you, or so it is hoped. By calling somebody "abnormal", you offend them. Why? Why is being different so bad? Why does this sheep have to follow the flock to have worth? Isn't being me enough?

But, who am I? I'm a puppet to the world, abnormal in my beliefs, and a prisoner to myself. Because of this, I am nobody. I am a shadow. Somebody you pass by on the road to where you are going. My road, my existence, has been lost forever. I was never ment to have a path of my own. Just follow the the flock. "Why can't you be like everybody else?" But don't you see? I am like everybody else. I've looked over myself just as you have. I believe I have no self worth, can no longer be anything but a puppet. am I not like you?