Monday, May 19, 2008

On Hot Coals

I guess this is kind of a sappy story, but I couldn't figure out a better way to end it without it being morbid.

I close my eyes and take in slow, deep breaths. I can smell the smoldering charcoal. It smells like death. Not like a corpse. It smells like cremation. Like expelling all energy from a living being. Why would anyone be cremated? It would destroy everything human about the body. It would make you admit that we are no more significant than firewood. Nothing but elements and compounds, waiting to be oxidized. Does it free the soul from its earthly body? No. Then people wouldn't be buried. If there is a soul, then cremating the body would likely destroy it. I open my eyes. There's no turning back now. I unlace my shoes and slide them off. I slip off my socks, staying the shape of my foot as I throw it into the wind. That's what I'm basically doing to my feet anyway. They probably won't be usable for a while. I take one more deep breath, then step onto the hot coals. The pain is excruciating. But I can't run. I need to show that I'm tough. I take the other foot and gingerly place it down. I take another step. It is destroying my feet. Screw it. I sprint as fast as I can. Whoop! I slip on a coal and land on my back. My whole body feels like it's on fire. It basically is. I can't get up, but nobody is rushing to help me. The pain recedes. I feel nothing. Is this mind over matter? No. This is losing consciousness...

I wake up in a hospital bed. I can't move. I figure that I'm not going anywhere for a while. What was I thinking? How could I let people egg me on to do this? I'm an idiot.

The doctor tells me that I'll be okay and out fairly soon. I smile. I'm happy I walked on the coals. Now I can finally appreciate being alive.

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