I always knew what was right and what was wrong. It was ingrained into me from as long as I can remember. Daily I was told by parents and elders what was good, righteous, and told not to do that which I naturally wanted to do; the evil and the bad things were not to be considered.
But things weren’t always right. I knew what was right and what was wrong and I knew what I should do and I did it. I did everything I ought. I worked hard to be the very best that I could, and I was.
But on the inside things weren’t right. I was acting and pretending and being a good person but I wasn’t and the day that I realized that—that I was a despicable human being for just acting, acting and pretending to be good while on the inside I was seething and hideous and disgusting and hateful—.
That was when I first sunk the shovel into the heady ground, pulled up the first tuft of scraggly grass, and hurled it aside.
The beginnings of the hole were solitary, far from my parents and those elders. No one knew that it existed, and at first it was just a small trench, a dent in the earth. I was the only one who knew it was there. I was the only one it affected.
But every day I returned and took out a chunk. Some days it was just an inch of the brown dirt, just a tiny bit of hatred toward the gory, horrifying monster on the inside. Other days I would flee from those I knew, flee from them congratulating me on my good deeds and my wonderful heart, and I would attack that ground with the ferocity of a burning, guilty soul. Those days the hole grew deep.
Years. Years and years I went back to that hole, climbed down deep into the empty well and sat digging. Sat, punishing myself for everything that I wasn’t and everything I told others I was. I hated myself with a passion. Surely if they knew about my secret, they would all hate me as well. Who wouldn’t? Who loves a two-faced, self-consumed self-righteous prig?
I dug so deep that the sun and sky were small in the distance. I couldn’t get out of the hole anymore but there was no one to blame for that but myself. After all, I pretended. I dug the hole. I hated myself. It was my fault everyone else hated me as well. It was all my own fault.
I sat in the dark, cold dirt and wept. Wept because I could do nothing, wept because no one was to blame but myself, wept because I was an awful excuse for a person. I wept, and I felt earth fall and trickle down my neck.
The hole was collapsing. It was collapsing in on me.
Frantically I searched for a way to keep it from crushing me, keep my actions from resulting in my death. I kept lifting beams, pressing them against the sides of that dungeonous hole, that deep grave that I dug for myself and as soon as I turned my back to brace the other side the wood shattered and sent scores of bloody lashes across my skin, my face.
I couldn’t stop, though. I couldn’t stop trying to save myself or no one would save me. My feet ached, shredded and impaled by a hundred shards of bloody wood. I wanted to cry for help but who was there to cry to? I was so deep no human eyes could see into my self-perpetuated darkness.
And finally, I cried. I cried and screamed and railed as the earth fell in on me, the splinters thick in my hands. I shouted and cursed and cried at the circumstance, at how I fell and how I couldn’t get out and it was my own fault and no one could save me. I hurt, and so I cried. The salty tears stung my wounds but I didn’t stop.
I fell on my knees and wept. I can’t do this, I screamed.
A footstep. A single footstep and I was sure I heard it. You! You, I yelled, my voice raw. Please, I’m stuck. I’m going to die, and no one will help me because they all hate me.
Why are you stuck? It called back.
I told him everything, poured out every reason that I was so despicable, how I got myself into this place I could never get out of, how I was going to die and I deserved it because the world should not be subjected to my presence.
I do not hate you.
Sobs wracked my body. Of course you do. What could be more despicable than lying to everyone you know, willingly betraying their trust in you? Lying to everyone?
I love you.
You don’t! I screamed, aching from the lies he told. You can’t, no one can. I don’t even love myself. You can’t.
But I do.
I fell silent, weeping.
Take my hand.
I looked up and saw him reach to me thought my tears.
I shook my head. Surely if you pull me out the hole will collapse and I’ll die.
How can you be certain?
I watched you dig it.
So he knew, he knew everything before I told him. He knew it all.
I reached up to take his hand.
He grasped it gently, tenderly, and placed in my torn palms a rope. Hold on to this.
I did, tight, and slowly it lifted me from that grave. I looked back, and down, and saw. He stood in my place.
What are you doing? I screamed down at him. It’s going to cave in, you’re going to die—I know, because I dug it! It’s a suicide trap!
My feet touched the ground as he looked up at me. He called as the last beams shattered, I know.
The earth closed over him and I screamed.
I never forgot that moment. He took my place in my own trap, he killed himself so I wouldn’t have to kill myself, he took the crushing earth and the sharp, stabbing wood shards in his precious flesh so I could live.
Years later, when I reached the city my parents and the elders always spoke of, I entered the gates with cautious tread. My scars from the wooden beams had never healed and I always remembered, every time I slipped my worn shoes from my feet or rolled up my sleeves. I rubbed my palm as I stepped onto the beautiful street.
I looked up, around, taking it all in, and my breath abandoned me as I saw him standing on the stairs of the palace.
His eyes lit up when he saw me, his face shining with joy. He held out his scarred hands, and I kicked off my shoes and raced across the pavement with marred feet to be folded into his arms. He kissed my gently, tucked my head beneath his chin, and held me in that grasp, so gentle and tender that I knew—nothing could be better than the eternity I would spend in his arms.
Never forget where you came from. Never forget all He did for you. Though the years come and go always, always remember.
Happy new year to you all. :]
Christina Kuri Icarus
"No one can travel so far that he does not make some progress each day. So let us never give up. Then we shall move forward daily in the Lord's way. And let us never despair because of our limited success. Even though it is so much less than we would like, our labour is not wasted when today is better than yesterday!" ~ John Calvin