Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Lifeguard (11/09/06)
- TITLE: My Unusual Life-guard
By Mary Lang
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In this structured place my mind glides over the smoothness of controlled, daily activities. I know what to expect, so I allow my thoughts to float on the surface because it is too painful to plunge deeper.
But it happens, though I resist, there are times when scenes from some lifetime flash through the surface like flotsam bobbing near the shore. The life must have been mine, but it troubles me to see it. Scenes of incessant children’s demands and insistent commands from a religious guide create agitated waves battering my thoughts about like a rudderless ship on an ocean. My head spins, swirling in a vortex of demands and commands. Again, I feel as if I am drowning though I am on solid ground. My mind screams for relief.
I want to succumb to the drowning water, to let it wash over me, to carry away my agitation. I recall how near I was to release, but my attempts were sabotaged by doctors and other guardians of the living.
I feel my body convulse with these thoughts. My escort strokes my head, and I settle a bit. I stare at my guide but I don’t really see him.
My eyes fill with another vision: a preacher before me, his hands raised in teaching. I know he his speaking to me for he looks at me when he tells me that I am a sinner as Eve was a sinner. His words spew in my face. “Sinners go to hell. Sinners raise children who go to hell. Save the children. You are the mother. Save the children before it’s too late.”
“Save the children,” repeats and pounds in my brain like breakers pounding the surf. I must save the children. Religiously, methodically, I bring the children to the healing water. I put them in the water, one by one, until all are saved. As I look at them, my agitation is sated. They are beautiful there… in their white gowns…
I feel a nudge, and I blink in the quiet room, my children are not there. My usher helps me stand, and then walks me to the dining hall. It is time for lunch. The tuna sandwich is tasteless, but he insists I eat. Slowly the swirling eddies in my mind settle under the seamless transitions of daily activity. Once more, my day is filled with mundane tasks performed under the watchful eyes of my unusual life-guard.
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