series –


A change in momentum.

I open my eyes, and I know from the first flicker of light that I’m back in the pit again. I wish I could explain how I got here and why, but it’s honestly something that defies explanation. One day you’re fine, and the next you’re in the pit—that’s all there is to it.

I know what you’re thinking; you’d expect it to be dark here, muddy or moist probably, the walls cold to the touch, and not a glimpse of the sky in sight. A real pit is like a dungeon, right? Maybe you imagine me lying here, at times despondent, other times desperately trying to claw my way out. Crawling, climbing, with arms and legs trembling from the strain, only to fall back into the depths again.

But it’s not like that.

The pit is a brightly lit space. It’s not blinding sunlight, but the subtle grey of an overcast day. The diffuse light wraps itself around everything here, keeping any shadows at bay. It’s hard to say why this unsettles me so.

I lift my head and look down the narrow corridor that is the pit—or is it a chasm, maybe? Whatever it is, it’s impossible to tell where it begins or ends; its edges are somewhat translucent, like endless curtains billowing in front of an open window, the morning breeze lifting them up ever so gently. It’s neither cold nor warm here; the ground below me feels neither solid nor soft; the air isn’t humid, nor is it dry. It’s as if this space only exists in the way that it does not.

A thought comes to me, a simple one: what if I just keep lying here? For now. Until this fatigue (why am I tired?) runs out of my bones, to settle in the soil below. It can’t hurt to rest for a while; I’ll only need a minute, then I’ll be fine.

It’s a comforting thought, and I let my head fall back to the ground, satisfied with no longer having to defy gravity.

I have no way of knowing how long it’s been since I last opened my eyes. It’s always light here, always day. I decide to get up, stretch out my sore limbs (why are they sore? ), and start walking. I take two steps, maybe three, when an invisible force hits me in the chest. A sudden gust of wind that, ironically, pushes the air from my lungs. I fight to keep my footing, but the force is relentless. It targets the center of my body and pushes and punches until I can feel my ribs ache. I manage a couple more steps before I slump down. A trickle of desperation runs through my mind, but quickly the comforting thought returns: I just need another rest. Give it some time, and it will be okay. I’m sure it will be okay soon.

Yeah. It will be okay soon. Sleep resets the brain, and I know I’ll have more clarity when I wake up.

It’s been several days, I think. I’ve made no headway so far. Every time I move, the wind returns, as if it knows my every thought and move. Sometimes I manage to push forward a bit, but more often it just forces me back several paces; I’m not even sure I’m any further than I was when I first woke up here. It’s hard to tell in this place where time seems to have no meaning. I know there has to be a way out, but I can’t recall—it’s so hard, SO HARD, to remember anything here.

The comforting thought has now settled into my gut: what is the point of getting up? Hmm? Only an idiot tries the same thing twice (more like a hundred times, a thousand?) and expects different results. What’s the harm in staying here? It’s not like I can move anywhere else anyway.

I guess that makes sense. Better to preserve my energy and wait for a better moment to try again. I should try again, right?


It’s been…I don’t know, I really, really don’t know. Some days, I believe I’ve been here forever. I’m haunted by vague recollections, specters of a different time: running down a hill, the wind in my back (is that even possible?), the sky bright and sunny. I move, and the world becomes a blur, my momentum picking me up and carrying me. Carrying me.

What a cliché! That never happened. I’m just imagining things now; I’m probably recreating memories to construct a false sense of hope. As if things were ever different. Come, pay it no mind; let’s calm down before we do anything stupid. 

The comforting thought has been less comforting as of late. It still reassures me that I’m doing the right thing, to take it easy and rest (am I really resting?). But then why can’t I shake this anxious feeling?

Sometimes, and this will sound silly, I wait until the thought is gone to try and get up. I move unexpectedly, hoping to catch the wind off guard, moving sideways, crawling on hands and feet, scooting my butt forward in the hope I can outsmart… I don’t know what, but something. I think I’m at least making some progress this way, but I have to be quick because the thought is never far. I have to be patient (this isn’t my strong suit, if you haven’t noticed) and focused (yeah, that one neither).

If only I could trick myself into not thinking. Things would be so much easier. I could—oh I think I have a plan that could work! I’ll move backwards, there’s no way they can see that coming—

i’m down again. maybe this time i i won’t get up.

i had gotten so close, SO close, to…yeah, whatever
the wind hasn’t stopped i’m not even moving a muscle but it won’t stop

it’s unrelenting

i can’t do this

i’m done

Image – Reclining Nude (1905) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Original from The National Gallery of Art. Free public domain CC0 image.
Font – Bungee font family. Used under SIL Open Font License


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