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Salvation in 8 Hours

August 10, 2020

Written by Nadia Al-Khunaizi

Puffy-eyed with a bowl of fruit in my hands, sitting on the edge of my dear friend’s bed, I search for salvation. We stare at the television as we wait for a secret we often share only with each other.

My eyes turn into black pits but my vision feels clearer than ever. Everything is alive. My friend looks over at me, smiling, and talks to me about the vibrance of the colors that surround us. I am grounded.

I watch as this haven expands. My eyes follow the endless hall and I realize that we are entering our own pocket of reality. It is both safe but new, comforting but exciting.

The blue carpet wavers. It is the ocean, and each oscillation is a tempting whisper. We wonder if we dare to take a dip. We sit on our island, the shared isolation a companion to us both. I miss the beach, with childlike wonder and building sandcastles. In this place, the veins in my foot are slithering snakes, and my friend grows a lion’s mane. She is the embodiment of strength and I feel so lucky to see this transformation. I want a transformation of my own.

I remember a mentor once told me about the strength trees—they never ask for anything and yet they celebrate life. He says life is about surviving and the beauty of nature. Laying on the ground, I wish I could grow deep roots. Instead, I am a daisy struggling against the roaring wind of the ceiling fan.

The lion and I weep together. My priorities shift in the same tempo as the reality around me as all my worries begin to break down. In assessing new scars, I see past ones resurface; I find myself pondering over old pains and realizing that I needed them to grow. The calm around me reassures me that pain is temporary. In yearning for my transformation, I made room for its deliverance. My roots pierce through the hardwood floor and I relish in my own strength.

I can breathe again. I look down to see snowflake patterns rising from my leg as they extend across the apartment, through the window, toward nature, and past all spatial comprehension. This mathematical phenomenon connects everything. I have trouble grasping the idea of common knowledge. I begin to wonder if this feeling of unity will dissipate and pray I can take it with me.

As the ocean dries up and the world loses its color, I smile at all I have felt. I have been gone a lifetime, but I have returned.

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