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A young man walked along the path. He knew his destination was not far. There were many leaves blown onto the path before him. They made an almost deafening roar as his shoes smashed them aside and into the ground.

The autumn air was brisk and kept him cool as he walked. Although clouds filled the sky, there was still plenty of light to see his path through the forest.

The walk was comforting to him and his thoughts filled his mind.Taking him through many familiar lines of reasoning, yet even in this serenity of nature; the answer, the direction remained the same.

But he had come to accept this. It was not as if, he had not fought and struggled with himself over it. Many countless nights he had found himself going over it all, in his mind. Like a record that has been played too many times, it just skips, again and again until the end has been reached. Always the same.

The path veered sharply right and climbed. He turned with it and his steps became more deliberate and measured. His thoughts turned to his destination. The hill which he ascended too many times in the past. His perch above the town below, this hill that rose above the small town he had resided in, all his life.

He had come there many times before. It was a place to think, a place of solitude, of peace and of privacy. Although his reason for coming here this time is not exactly the same as it was in the past, he trusted that it would still hold some of those qualities.

The climb up the hillside was going maddeningly slow. The pain in his leg was growing sharper with each step he took. The pain grabbed ahold of his thoughts, the accident that took place six months ago came clearly into his mind.

He and a friend were driving home from a game. They were not really going too fast, slightly above the speed limit. Just as they rounded a corner they saw the light they had seen coming around the corner, was from another car traveling in the opposite direction as them, and it was in their lane! His friend startled, quickly jerked the car right. The car crashed through a fence. Then they were in the air…falling.

After that he cannot remember. His mother told him later in the hospital, that the car had landed nose first and then fipped end over end, down a deep ravine. He was told that both he and his friend were lucky to be alive. He was not so sure he agreed with that last part.

While his friend had suffered only minor cuts, bruises, and some cracked ribs, his injuries were a bit different. He got the cuts and bruises of course, but it was the leg injury that was bad. He lost part of the muscle tissue and was lucky to be able to walk at all. The accident ruined any future career in sports and changed his life forever.

His mind moved away from these thoughts as he finally reached the top of the hill. His eyes began to gather in all that he was seeing. A small town, with its shops, boardwalks, streets, and people, lay sprawled out before him. Beyond the town lay fields of green and yellow. A few farm houses and barns could also be spotted. In his mind this was the perfect view of small town America. Simple, serene, and cozy.

As he sat down on a nearby stone, he pulled the shiny metal object from his back pocket. Sliding his fingers carefully, almost caressing it, his mind once again sank into his thoughts. The last six months of pain and agony crept into his mind. The times he cried fighting the intense pain to make a single step. The times when he realized, as he lay in bed at night, that he would never run again. The times he cried when he saw that his unspoken dreams would not happen.

The pain and the anguish flushed through him. Like poison coursing through his veins. Fiercely, he slipped his thumbnail into the notch of the blade. Then a quick flick of his wrist and the blade of the knife was fully entended.

Thoughts swirled around in his head. A kaleidoscope of images round and round. He thought his head might explode when suddenly everything stopped…

An over-whelming sense of calm came upon him as one thought came to the front. It was clear and its clarity shouted “A life without dreams is not worth living!” This single thought echoed loudly over and over in his mind, “A life without dreams is not worth living!” He could not fight it anymore, he could not find another answer. A tear slid out and rolled down his cheek. He harshly wiped it away and slammed the knife into his wrist.

The pain that shot through his arm almost made him pass out. Having been in that accident, he had endured much worse and was able to retain consciousness. Gritting his teeth together he began to rip the knife up his arm. The pain became so intense that he began to scream as he wrenched the knife further up his arm.

In all the pain he had not realized the amount of blood that was spilling out of him. It was on the rock he sat on, on his shoes, on the grass. He, for some reason, thought it would have been more red. But it was almost as black as oil.

His eyes raised up from the blood on the grass and fell upon his arm. A six inch gash stood out glaringly and blood flowed forth. The knife fell from his hand. He felt kinda sick looking at it. Slightly light-headed also and that made him decide to look away from it.

He looked down at the town once more and noticed that the town had a slight orange hue to it. It dawned on him that the sun was setting. ” My last sunset. If only I would have had some dreams worth living for ” he thought.

He noticed it was getting darker and then sensed he was falling. He felt a hard pressure on his right side and guessed he must have fallen to the ground. He attempted to get up but nothing happened.

The thought came to mind once more “A life without dreams is not worth living.” Then he noticed it had gotten very dark and he thought ” I am sorry mom.”

The sensation that he was once again falling began to creep up on him and he started to feel colder.

Then a thought flashed in front of his mind. As loud and clear as the previous one that had haunted him for so long. ” Life is not meant for living dreams, it is meant for helping others live theirs.”

Darkness.

No pain.

Darkness…

©-2006 JB Thomas

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