I can still feel the heat on myself, tingling my toes first, then crawling up my legs, my arms, coming up to my face. It almost killed me. Almost.
My smile was bright, brighter than it had been in a long while. But a lot of things were very bright that day, brighter than they should have been. I was almost floating through the air, I was so happy, I was grinning so much that my cheeks hurt. My happiness was unparalleled, as was the cause. Nothing could compare, nothing could live up to it, ever, to that level of joy. I was completely swept up in it, having lost each of my senses, the giddy feeling spreading through me, reaching every nerve end, every sensor in my body. My brain was singing, my heart dancing, I was on top of the world, in a cocoon of bliss. The day was bright, sparkling new and other things were bright too, brighter than they should have been. The sun was shining with such intensity, it could burn my skin, but my aura of joy covered me, protected me through its heat. Nevertheless, it was a welcome heat, the first true day of spring after a cold and damp winter. The sun was a flag bearer of the warmth that was to come, the happiness of new beginnings, a new chapter. Its heat was auspicious, its light revered. I was unafraid, sure of the perfectness of everything about the day. Nothing could possibly go wrong. But it did, terribly wrong, terribly bright, brighter than it should have been.
The heat was on me now, completely, in all its intensity, the fire was raging, like a hurricane. It swept me up my feet too, but not with joy, with a sinking feeling. I was coughing, choking on fumes, my lungs screaming for air, my body covered in ashes and soot, hands just as dark as the sun had been bright. The orange was so deep, so wild, ravaging like a storm, that I was forced to close my eyes, forced to look away. It was clear: my end, it was coming, I had no energy left to run anymore and I was too blinded by tears- tears caused by the smoke- to see. I was sinking, not in water, but in fire. I didn’t feel cold, like one does in death, instead I was hot, like a volcano, like lava. I was melting, cell by cell, becoming one with the elements. I wasn’t dying, I was disintegrating.
My happiness came crashing down the moment consciousness came rushing in, the moment I realized I had survived. Oxygen didn’t sustain me that day, it almost killed me. Almost.
I remember the stars were brighter than night, more vivid, more vibrant, twinkling much more, winking much more. They spoke to me that day, in sweet hushed tones that soothed the deep pain inside me, the fire that was sparking in my heart. They spoke in voices as cool as water, creating beautiful illusions. But the next moment, they talked with heavy voices, voices of agony. Their symphonies came together to create a crescendo of pain. They echoed souls writhing in agony, sparking that little fire inside my heart just as quickly as they had doused it.
My mother always told me to not be excessively happy about absolutely anything, not to let the happiness rule my senses. Beacuse if, my happiness did not end up matching the satisfaction brought on by the cause, I would be deeply disappointed, making it difficult to bear. Maybe that’s what happened. Maybe I let my happiness control me and it spiralled out of control. Maybe it hampered the results. And Maybe, I am paying the price for it. Maybe all good things come in packages, mixed with equal parts of pain. Maybe my pain was made not to compare those good things, but the larger happiness with which I awaited them.