"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of." – Albert Camus
Downward I fall evermore as the pain sets in, as the loss registers with my mind.
Moments ago I stood on top of the world, yet now that same world was consuming me in its bowels. All around me are the walls of this pit that seemingly reach higher and higher as I continue my descent; I pay little attention to them, unbeknownst to me their meaning as they take on different forms—for my eyes are fixated at the bright light growing smaller far above me. A silhouette of someone is in the light—a woman. She isn't moving; she just stands there, staring down into this abyss, watching me fall.
How far into the abyss can she see?
She moves now, and no longer can I see her.
The light goes out and finally my descent ends.
One could say that I am still alive, but those who have been here know that at this stage one is but a breathing entity, that which has no life past the superficial definition. It is a time where existence is a morbid thing. Does one even continue to exist at such a point?
I look around, yet there is no light. How does one continue to exist if there is no light?
Lying here I realize I'm in shallow water. It is cool, but the air is warm. The atmosphere is comfortable. For how long I have laid here is uncertain, but doing so any longer would be a mistake. Yet, with no light, how does one continue?
Are we able to make our own light? As I wonder this, my surroundings become visible to me. But there still is no light.
There are stairs lining the walls in a spiral fashion. My eyes follow them up and around. My resolve is weak, but stairs are easy enough to climb. As I climb up the stairs, hope barges into my conscious. Suddenly I find myself climbing faster, the newfound hope driving me to an end I am certain is achievable. Faster and faster—I'm running now—there is no longer any doubt in my mind.
But then the stairs stop and I am barely able to stop myself before running right off the edge.
Confused, I look around me. Surely there are more stairs somewhere. But there are none to be seen. My confidence dwindles to hopelessness once more. I sit on the edge of the stairs and stare down into the water below.
Is there no way out?
I've sat here for the longest time. Standing, I face the wall behind me and place my hands on it. The wall is flat, and even though logic tells me that I can't, I press my fingers forth and attempt to climb. The feat is unimaginably difficult.
I feel weight that isn't my own bearing down on me, and as I glance down I see the sources chained around my ankles. It's too much, and I fall, hitting the stairs and slipping off further, back down to the shallow water where I lay for a long, long time.
But I move again, sitting up; it is difficult to do so because there are two more weights chained to my wrists. Climbing the stairs won't be so easy now, but surely even I am strong enough to get that far. As I realize this and begin to climb the stairs again, the chain on my right wrist breaks.
After a tiring climb I am at the wall again, though not foolish enough to attempt another scale just yet. I rest on the edge of the stairs again but this I time stare up into the blackness towering above me.
There still is no light.
The rest renews me only in strength, and doubtful is my confidence on whether physical strength is enough to scale this wall. It turns out that it isn't; as I reach the same height as before, my body brakes under the added weight and impossibility of the climb, but this time I do not roll off the staircase.
I take another moment to rest, but not just my body. Closing my eyes does more good than one would assume in a place absent of light. My mind sees what my eyes cannot, and before me runs a path straight up. It pierces the abyssal blackness with its radiance. Following it higher and higher with my mind's eye, it seems to never end. When I open my eyes, above me I see a tiny speck of white light, like that of a single star in the night sky. Eagerness manifests itself in my mind, and as I yearn more and more to reach the source of that tiny speck of light, the chain on my left hand breaks.
For a third time my fingers touch the wall. Looking up I breathe in deeply and begin my ascent again. Where physical strength failed on its own, determination was there to back it up. Surely this time I would succeed in my climb, even with the weight on my legs.
It is a long and tiring climb. Quite a ways up I see a small platform off to my left. It looks suitable for resting on. Above me still a decent climb away is a larger ledge. Tired, I give into the small platform's temptation of resting. It was nice to sit down again.
But suddenly I'm falling—the platform had crumbled beneath my weight.
Frantically I reach to the wall and press my hands and feet against it. After managing to halt my descent, I assess the height that was lost in the fall. Accepting the situation, I begin to climb again, the chain on my left ankle breaking as I do.
With every effort that pulls my body higher, the light above me gets equally larger. I had passed the larger ledge, rest seeming negligible compared to my burning desire to reach the light. Suddenly, the wall before me transforms into a mirror. Looking at myself looking back, I begin to reflect on more than just physical traits; I reflect on all of my actions, the things that have led me to this situation. Certainly my actions have not been perfect. Mistakes were made along the way and poor choices were made while better alternatives were cast aside.
I'm not perfect, but that doesn't mean I can't be a better person—one who embraces those better alternatives while casting aside poor choices.
I realize who I am at the moment isn't necessarily who I want to be. Change is needed.
Upon this realization the chain on my right ankle breaks and no longer am I hindered by the heavy weights. I strive ever forward, climbing faster and faster, footholds having protruded from the wall to aid me.
As I near the end of my climb I take a moment to gaze downward into the abyss that held me prisoner. Down there the light does not penetrate, but even as my gaze lifts from its depths to the light above me, things are still not clear. Perhaps they aren't meant to be. My hand reaches out and grips the surface of the earth and finally I lift myself from the abyss.
The world is still beautiful—the grass is still green, the air is still warm, the sky is still blue, the clouds are still white, and the land before me stretches vast lengths before converging to the horizon.
But as I turn around, someone I know very well is standing there. On the opposite side of the abyss which now extends like a ravine to the left and right is that woman. She's looking at me, emotionless, but her eyes are sincere. Her arms are not extended welcomingly, but I know that being within them is a shield from the unknown.
I study the abyss before me, from where I stand to where she stands. It is a long distance, but maybe jumpable. I turn around and behind me see again the flourishing land that seems to never end. My gaze finds its way back to her.
They say that if you continue to search for what happiness consists of that you'll never be happy; but what if you already know what happiness consists of—does the pursuit of that happiness mean you can never be happy?
I don't know.
Maybe we aren't meant to know.