It’s scary how a bunch of your roommate’s overly burnt bagel bites can hurt…

I opened the door to my apartment, the sudden smell and sight of thick smoke smacking me in the face, my memories hovering over me like a thick fog blocking my sense of reality. With opaque clarity, I’d see the crumbling facade of the brick building, my home, the busted glass door hanging off of its hinges, a rude welcoming to the once familiar safe-haven within.

… …

….The atmosphere hangs like a present-day horror movie, tense and dark. Following my timid steps comes the crunching of glass window fragments and the squishing of black sludge pulling on my shoes. The nauseating, putrid smell of burnt rubber and smoke fills my nostrils and brings choking tears to my eyes, now lifeless and heavy. With every corner, realization hits me with a force that shatters my conscience. It grabs my throat and clouds my lungs, my heart comatose, abandoned.

The image of the once beautiful shelter, now burning the pits of my eyes, drifts transformed into the most forbidding of haunted houses. I recall the web of wires, its jagged edges snaking through air, deadly predators anticipating the strike. The once concealed insulation peers out of the walls, a mess of frivolous mockery. With a weighted heart, I step over the shattered roofing tile and ceiling fan blades now below my feet instead of their rightful place above, guardians of my sleep no more. I walk into my old room, soaking in the sight of my beloved photos in their busted glass coffins and my shelves of books now a pile of ashes. With trepidation I stand a shadow, listening as time pauses around me. Suddenly, the roof collapses over my sanctuary, spraying a storm of ashes over my features and concealing all traces of hope, my old way of life destined to forever remain a memory.

After the fire that stole my way of life, merely living proved to be a satanic challenge. Sympathy peered at me like dissecting eyes. Smiles seemed to be a mockery of my newfound poverty. My closest friends stared distant, an unspoken language hanging between us like a prison fence. Locked away on the abandoned planet of my own creation, I began to see earthly simplicities transform into my nightmares.

What a person chooses to endure and what a person is forced to endure falls on the question of her strengths, abilities, and perceptions on living. I had the choice of opening my eyes to the shimmering blessings faithful to my side, or rotting revoltingly in my prison cell, my cabinet of despondency.

The simplicities of life should never be taken for granted. I’ve learned that it’s not the physical components in our lives that determine who we are and what we do, but the mental and spiritual pressures that we tend to lean toward. It’s the moments we cherish, the moments that tear us apart, and the moments we wish we had but despite all chance, we never will.

It’s been almost two years since that aweful time in April.  Moving on with what I had left has revised many of my perspectives. My outlook on life has grown in faith and forgiveness. Of all the things that could have happened, I’m who I am today because of the challenges I faced in my past. I’ve learned to take charge of my life and to strive for the best I can be in the little time I’m given to live. Growing up, I’ve always tried to remain involved. However, it took a tragedy to open my eyes to the full potential of what’s given as opposed to what’s taken away. A phoenix risen from the ashes, I’ve learned to live again.

~ by Candis on September 3, 2008.

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