Friday, October 24, 2008

Shrinking

I had a dream that I would like to share. It was long with many nonsensical links in the narrative, like any dream.

Right before I woke up, near the end there was this man groaning on the floor. It looked like he was a traveler who was just making his way home. The people passing by didn't think to stop and help him, so he was just laying there. I stopped and asked him what he needed. He needed water so I ran off to find some water. People stared at me, even scoffed at me for trying to help him, as if he was too dirty and unworthy to be helped. But I didn't care.

I found water, and on my way back to the man, I saw a young boy running towards the man. I just knew implicitly that the young boy was his brother. This "boy" was more like a teenager. And at the very moment the boy reached the man, the man lost consciousness, and went limp.

The boy stood looking over his older brother's body thinking that he had just died. Knowing that he had no one else in the world to take care of him, the boy began to shrink. His body was quickly becoming smaller, and more vulnerable until he was about the age of a toddler. He had an expression of utter pain on his face, as one tear rolled down his cheek.

As it turned out, the man was not dead. After being roused and given water, he and his brother reunited, and all was well. It was at this point, just as an onlooker and fairly uninvolved person, that I began to cry. I went and hid behind something so that I wouldn't be crying in public. It was uncontrollable. The people around me thought I was crazy. After all, the man turned out to be okay, so why was I crying?

But they didn't understand that I saw that boy shrinking. I saw him becoming more vulnerable. I saw pain. And it wasn't something that I could just forget.

It strikes me that the same thing happens to us when we lose someone we love or go through a traumatic experience. We shrink on the inside, we close up because we're more vulnerable, we feel our chests being constricted, and our hearts beat slower and heavier in our throats.

I'm awake now. But I still can't forget the shrinking.

2 comments:

Asmaa said...

I told this story to a friend of mine today and she was laughing uncontrollably for quite some time.

I guess it's not as profound as I thought it was.

Abdul said...

I read it last night. It was profound to me Asmaa. I think you are right that a part of us shrinks at the passing away of someone close. However things like this are inevitable and one should make the most of the present - easier said than done.