DO NOT BREATHE! It was and only it was — the very idea that entered my mind right at that very moment. It came too fast way before I even thought of it. It came too fast way before I even wondered why I should. It could be that my brain cells were very well connected right at that time. It could be that the smallest voice beneath my conscious lobe whispered it gently yet I just haven’t realized it. Or, it could be the instinct of being human that took over and not my brains.
I just found myself tossing to and fro in an all-blue soft mass which I knew that time I was touching it but I just can’t hold it. It felt so soft and jelly as it passed through my fingers. The more I tried to feel it, the more it’s getting away. It felt a little warm as it playfully passed through my palms. Then I realized I was feeling it around my legs, shoulders, head and all over my body like it’s getting a hold of me.
It was water. It was all water. I was underwater. I kept glancing left and right looking for the sky. “I need to see the sky!” My inner voice kept whispering. I really needed to see the sky. I knew I would recognize it once I see it. It’s just that I couldn’t see it. Water was all around me. I didn’t even know which way to turn yet all I knew was that I was still there, very alive. No matter how I fully opened my eyes, all I saw was water and blue which I already confused myself if it’s the floor, the walls or it’s just it. I was already running out of air. I was already losing my breath.
Panic now invaded my heart very fast that I already lost my way of thinking. I even slightly opened my mouth to shout for help which made me lose air even more. It was such a wrong move and I couldn’t believe I did it. Then I remembered that one of my cousins was standing just by the pool while the rest of them were way above the starting line waiting for their turns to take a slide like what I did. I was thinking, “Ah, maybe my cousin will jump into the water because I was already drowning.” But I was not expecting her to do so because, who would expect? I was hoping that one of those people swimming in the pool would notice me yet I was giving up the idea because — who cares anyway? They didn’t even know me! I kept my eyes open yet I still see the same thing. I could hear static drowning sound of exciting laughs from the crowd and the undeniable long constant buzzing sound underwater.
I guess that’s it! Life is just so awesome afterall. Life is a one-exciting ride. Life is a slide of a lifetime. I never knew what it’s really like until such time it gave me a hit. I got the hit. I really did. I didn’t feel the need for air anymore. It was like I already had enough in my lungs. Its like the motor that kept running suddenly stopped working. Panic was now gone as depression took over.
“My life is a mess!” It’s how I’ve been considering it since late last year. I won several battles yet I lost a lot. I’d gone up several times yet I was usually down. I’ve moved from job to job, friend to friend, humps to cliffs. And my work, my health, my credit card, my family, even my heart and my marriage to all these overloaded, endless bills and overwhelming family obligations – yeah wow! I was such an empty box, an empty chair, an empty cup. I was never filled in and if I was, I just dried up so easily. All these heavy loads drowned me even more. And now I’m gonna watch them all circle the drain.
I can make them stop. I had to make them stop. Then so I stopped! I stopped from glancing for the sky. I stopped from hoping to see a hand to grab me out of here. I stopped from holding my breath. One depressive thought conquered my mind saying, “Sige nalang!” which means, “Alright then!” I knew that time that life only comes once and then it’s over. I knew that time I still had my whole family to take care with and that I was sent to this world for a reason; but that crucial, very scary depressive line was too strong. It didn’t even give me a fight.
As I started to breath, one big, male, Filipino-skin-toned right hand, reached out to me, which I quickly grabbed with my left. I can hardly move my right hand anymore for some reason, yet I managed to push myself upward. And the force was too strong that he was able to pull me up.
At last, the sky! I’d never seen it so blue. I’d never seen it so beautiful. The sun. I never felt it so warm. And the air. I’d never appreciated it until I got my head out of the water. I inhaled like I’d never inhaled before. Then I started coughing all the water out of my lungs. It felt so extremely relieving. I can even feel the water rising from my heavy lungs. My eyes were now swelling and watery for I kept coughing all along. Breathing was painful yet it felt so humane.
Once I got myself back, I looked up to the man who lent me his hand. He was smiling with his eyes slightly squinting from the sun. Sincerity was all over his face. Then I said in a dropped tone, “Thank you!” Then I looked back at him and said, “I truly thank you!” I was still catching my breath and coughing when I suddenly felt scared and just wanted to burst out in tears as I explored his face. Right at that time — his was the most beautiful face I’ve seen. The world was the most beautiful place I’ve been. And my life was the most beautiful event ever happened. I will never forget that face.
This all happened last Easter Sunday. The day Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The day the world was redeemed as sins were forgiven. It’s the day of second chance. It’s the day of a new life. It’s the day of a new beginning. It’s the day I was reborn!
It’s been four days now yet it just seems like awhile ago for me. I can still very well see the underwater. I can still very well hear the long constant sound of depression and losing hope. I can still very well feel the pain of holding my breath for a very long unexpected time. So as the pain of filling my lungs with water. I can still very well feel the thrill of breathing, craving for life — the thrill of my first breath.
Looking at it now, I still can’t believe I was able to get out of there. And I can never believe how I just gave up for life so easily. After all these years, I just gave up just like that! Everytime I recall it, a sudden formless thrill occupies my heart. It’s something heavy. It’s lonely and fearful. This scary feeling keeps me up in the night. That very moment keeps coming back to me in dreams and the awkward feeling of being haunted keeps me awake. I cry myself in the night. I cry in resentment. It was never a crash and burn story. It really was scary. It was a struck of life. It was a struck of time. Just few seconds late and I could have died. It could be the reason I called my mother early morning before we left for the get-together. I just checked on her because I already had an anxious feeling that too much happiness may cost a lot. Yes, it cost a lot. It nearly cost my life!
God is truly good. He gave me adequately. He came in His least expected figure. At the time nothing’s left out of me but my broken hands, He lent me His and saved me from my pool of broken dreams. He never came too early nor too late. And I’ll say it again — HE DID NOT COME TOO EARLY NOR TOO LATE!