From my tiny corner I breathe in small sips of air, not allowing my lungs to draw in more than needed. Taking in the barest essential, nothing more. The walls here squeeze my body into a position that is not natural. My back aches from the awkward contortions. My arms and legs cramp and seize in pain. But then everything goes numb, and that is bearable. This is fine. Others have it so much worse. Famine. War. Systematic rape and torture. I am alive. I am abuse-free. I am able to see slips of daylight and even feel a breeze from time to time. It’s not a big deal. Not really. This is how it’s always been. I muster a small smile and endure.
Sometimes though, when the air shifts, I get a taste of the sea. The smell of the salt and sand is a demon. Making me unmindful and selfish. It beckons me with evil thoughts: to run through warm sand and let the waves kiss my bare feet… to lift my face toward the sun and breathe in deeply… to taste air laced with the poison of promise and hope.
This is how it’s always been. I should be able to muster a small smile and endure. But the devil of the sea is powerful. And I am weak and wicked. I untwist my body, stifle screams as blood flows to places it hasn’t visited in years. Cold, dead limbs ache in reception of the returning warmth. Waves of thudding pain radiate through my body, as I stand and make my way to the window.