The seat feels on hot against my thighs. My back aches. There is a fist of firey fingers in my right hip socket and the heat radiates along my spine into my right shoulder. I know this pain, I’ve had her since high school. She’s the closest thing I’ve ever known to a nemesis - the only threat to my identity I’ve ever known. And while there is something comforting about her, like the guard rails on a curving, cliffside highway, she is also confrontational, derisive.
I don’t want to move when I feel this pain, although I’m not physically immobilized by it in any way. The sensation is nervous, in either way you might hear that word - of the nervous system, or anxious, afraid, unsettled. She communicates as if through cipher to all of my inner/outer functioning, takes command of my musculature, breathing, focus, heart rate, body temperature and emotional state. I have a sense of my own role in this security breach, the choices I’ve made which have left gaping vulnerabilities in my life and the chances I’ve had to reinforce them.
Here I sit, burning inside my own house, which no one can see or smell or do anything about. Will I let the flames consume me or will I wield their power as my own? Will I let this fire scorch my flesh or will I wear it like a protective skin into battle? Will I learn the language of this lesson or will I continue to cover my ears in rebuke of its insistence?
On the edge of the cliff, holding on the guard rails cursing their obstruction to my desire to fly.
I climb over, lean forward, and jump.