The Freedom of Caving In

The Freedom of Caving In

A Story by NyanMeow

The world is caving in on me. When you say it aloud, it sounds kind of terrifying, doesn't it?


The world is caving in on me.

When you say it aloud, it sounds kind of terrifying, doesn't it?

My memories are full of green meadows and tall, tall trees. My childhood was full of running, jumping, reaching. “Do you think we can touch the sky?” My best friend asked me on a day when the clouds were white and puffy and the sun shining. I giggled and shook my head, but she was insistent. So I jumped off an oak tree in my backyard, where I promptly fell in a sea of grass.

My best friend cried, my sister sighed, and the future was a far off reality I never expected to come. After all, the sky was so very far away.

Sister had a chart on the white wall beside her door. It marked her growth, written in a fine, precise ink. Every morning I had to walk past it, and I knew this was not unintentional. Nothing my sister did was unintentional.

My favorite place to be is by the river. It can't speak, it has no beating heart, but it is alive all the same. The rippling and swaying, the soothing rushing as the small current beat against rocks, it calms me. I have often watched the fish, as they swam in their little schools and make grand formations on the water and imagine I was among them, my life simple and yet full of so much beauty.

On one of the last warm days of the year, I laid on my stomach by the bank with my spiral-bound sketchbook and was enjoying a time of peace. Entranced in my work, I did not at first notice my sister join me. It was hard to look at her now. Everything about her was large, from her height to her hands. Her normal graceful movements were fumbling as she attempted to fit her legs in the river, the tips of her dark brown hair getting wet and slightly pushed by the tide.

She waited until I looked up. And for both the first and last time in awhile, I did truly look. I looked straight into her eyes and saw something I had never seen before. There was no judgement, no disapproval. All of these were warning signs, preparing me, but I still said nothing.

I closed my eyes and listened to the water until she spoke.

“I know that I've been hard on you over the years.”

I've learned that people often say things simply looking for you to disagree with them, to reassure them. But I saw no reason to do so, and kept my eyes closed.

“I just wanted you to be practical. I wanted you to be ready. But perhaps that wasn't my job, you always did have you head in the clouds, even when you couldn't touch them yet!” She never had been funny.

She put her hand on my shoulder. “I've found my key.”

I opened my eyes and took a deep breath that seemed to use my entire body. I did not want to say goodbye to my sister. But in my world, when you can reach the sky, when the trees become small, when you no longer fit, you find your key and then you go on.

I sit now by that same river, the sky cloudy. It is about to rain.

The sky is no longer so very far away. All I have to do is to reach up. The day I never thought would come is here, and in front of me lies a sparkling golden key, not unlike the one my sister held when she bid her goodbye to me, or the one that made my best friend's face light up. Every day, I find new letters in my mailbox. They are happy and promising, describing tall buildings, deep oceans, and new people.

So why am I so scared?

It is a short five minute walk, a quick turn of a key in a lock, and I could be with them again.

Instead I am frozen as a light shower begins to fall from above.

This quickly causes confusion for the fish, who are surprised, every time, by the new height of the water. They all dealt with it in different ways, but for the most part stick together. I watch a green fish find courage and break free. My heart beat nervously, would it survive? But within moments, the brave fish joined a pack a few feet ahead, who all joined together to create a majestic figure eight.

I smiled until in the corner my eye I saw another fish. It was purple and tiny and obviously scared. I willed it to go on, to rejoin it's friends, to just take the leap, it would only be a moment. But instead the fish floundered behind a rock, where it struggled until it expended all energy and shut it's eyes.

I shed a tear for this fish as the current carried it away.

The rain begins to fall harder.

Then I stand up, shaking at first but with a new resolve. I clutch my key close to my chest and let the rain wash away the tears from my face.

For there was still time for me, time before the world caves in.

© 2011 NyanMeow

Author's Note

I would love feedback, as I am planning on entering this into a contest.

The whole thing is basically a huge metaphor, and it might not be for what you think. Feel free to guess and I'll tell you if you're right.

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Added on December 27, 2011
Last Updated on December 27, 2011
Tags: right of passage, lesson, metaphorical



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