The splinter and the flea

I see the outline in the distance of a shimmering city. Its proximity sets my heart off on a tangent. My weary feet beat at the shifting sands at the idea of shelter. My failing body wills just a little longer into my fickle bones with desperation to rest.

But the sands that separate me from this Mecca I’ve been gaining towards are many. Each day that is born and dies under this sun turns that cityscape into a bitter mockery. Soon this Eden that I’m lumbering towards becomes an enemy. A taunting, illusive naysayer hurling silent steely insults at my drudgery. Somehow my savior became my nemesis. And still I carry on.

Because somewhere instinctual I know that struggling against an undertow doesn’t free you faster, it just means you suffer as long as you’re down. Your lungs will burn and your eyes will sting and every capillary inside you will scream. But you will break the surface, naturally and effortlessly, before too long. Someday, the sands will deplete. They’ll spill themselves upon the cobblestone streets of my Oz and the journey will be behind me. One day, I’ll be standing upon my terrace on a gentle morning. I’ll gaze upon those sands with fond familiarity and I’ll smile. It had been worth it. Cursing my circumstances won’t change their nature but perhaps it will make the sun burn hotter, my throat feel scratchier and my legs feel heavier.

Perhaps my flailing against my own misfortune won’t shake it from me like an unwanted flea. Perhaps it only serves to make this narrow crawl space in time more uncomfortable. Perhaps like all things in nature, if I stay very still, time will work me out of this misgiving moment like a splinter from a fingertip. I can’t break the surface quite yet, but I can find some peace while I’m waiting for the worst of it.

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