I look down and my feet are stone. Not stuck in stone. They are stone. And I am trapped. The walls change, but always the suffering is the same or worse. And from inside these walls like a voyeur I watch life peeking through the darkness.
Those connections I had when the stone slowly encased the soles of my feet are mostly lost. I see you all on distant media. I watch you grow and leave me. The distance is so great it is like your feet are weightless. You fly.
As we mature we move away from people, and closer to others. It is the natural order of life. But I am stuck. So you might think I am not trying, not reaching for you. And yet I cannot. My suffering has made my world so small, my steps so heavy that I can barely find purchase on the walls to steady myself.
So I watch instead through social media inside this dark space. And it is a blessing and a curse. For I am glad to participate in your life in the tiniest way just by being privy to witnessing the milestones and markers of life as you travel away from me. But it is also gut wrenchingly painful because I am immobilised. I cannot participate. And I wonder if I ever will again.
See, you can reach me. But you have forgotten I cannot reach you. It is as though you believe we have grown apart naturally. And perhaps we might have. But we didn't. I just couldn't grow at all. You did all the growing.
While you were filling each moment with life. With love, loss, suffering, travel, family, homes, moving, exploring, evolving and living..... I was enveloped in the darkening grey. In stone. In suffering and loss. And when I dare venture to visit the colour it is when I was last connected. Which is a millennia ago for you. But it is yesterday for me.
For if you think of the very last time you saw me truly healthy, unshackled by pain, suffering, intense exhaustion, confusion, anxiety, memory loss and weakness – the last time there was no wall between us nothing stopping me from being completely engaged in the moment and keeping me separate – you would realise with some shock that it was over a decade ago and I was in my late teens, maybe very early twenties.
Remember back then? Maybe you don't feel like you can fly any more, but back then our feet floated in the air and anything was possible. I got trapped there, grounded. Like a demented window shopper. A statue who can only watch life in the dark through the shuttered gaps of the windows.
Even now the stone creeps further up. I wish you would look down and realise that you can fly. And that my feet are of stone, soon the whole of my legs will be overtaken. So there is only so far I can stretch. I am sorry I cannot reach you. I can barely reach me. I am scared even the distance to the the window will be too far soon. That I will not even be able to have those tiny voyeuristic peeks through the darkness at your life.
Until then I try to maintain even the smallest of contact with the statues that populate the darkened spaces on the distant media, made closer only by their plight. They too have been carved in stone by the cruel artistry of chronic illness and are stretching wildly towards each other. I brush my fingers tips against theirs at full stretch. And wait for you to come closer. For me to be free.
When there is space again, when my feet are freed, when the light streams in and I can move without struggle, without the assistance of walls, I shall reach. You may no longer be there. But I will try.
And if you are gone, I will recolour my life with an abundant freedom of choice. Who knows where or how it will be built. The future is not set in stone.