You may notice that my writing today is a tad on the flowery side – I’m not having an attack of artistic pretensions; this is my effort for the Weekly Writing Challenge, Easy as Pie. It’s really just one giant metaphor with a few mini ones thrown in for good measure! I hope you like it.
One day in spring, I broke out of a prison in which I was unaware I was held captive. During my imprisonment, I would occasionally feel a faint glimmer of hope that a better world existed than the one in which I inhabited and yet I remained cocooned in my dark cell, never dreaming of escape. My captor was my friend, or at least I believed him to be; when the loneliness became all too apparent, the four walls closing in on me and any possible opportunity for an alternative perspective lost to the bars on the window and the padlock on the door, he would sit by my side and warm my sad soul. Nobody visited me in prison, no one except my jailer and thus I relied upon his reactions alone to serve as a mirror to my character; if I voiced an opinion, it was he who informed me whether it was deemed acceptable or if it fell like a dead weight to the ground; if I felt the heavy burden of the world on my shoulders it was him who afforded my concerns a frame of reference.
It was all I had known, or at least all I could truly remember. Before I was taken and held in confinement, I had lived a life of liberty. Back then, I was oblivious to the untold number of detainees who endured their daily existence in darkened pens, much as I would come to do as I grew out of childhood. I knew nothing of their inability to recognise how they had come to be trapped, of their denial over the destiny that had befallen them. And so the same entrapment caught me unawares; an inconspicuous grooming process that occurred so discreetly it completely escaped my notice when I became a willing participant in my own internment.
There were times when my captor appeared to enjoy taunting me with the degree to which I needed him, of which he was all too aware. Belligerent and dispassionate, he threw me crumbs of companionship, exploiting the fact that he was all I had. I hated myself for the hunger I felt for his attention, my inner soul crying out for the comfort he dangled before me but rarely yielded, and yet I could not stop myself from wanting him. I was addicted to the destructive relationship that flowed in so many directions from one day to the next, its dark edge of unpredictability frightening and bewitching, an amalgamation of good and evil, of security and danger.
And then one day, I awoke to see a beam of sunlight fighting its way through the slits in the window, choosing my grimy cell for its temporary residence. Years had passed without me witnessing even the merest hint of light, and so I moved warily yet excitedly, positioning myself in its path. I felt the warmth of the sun’s rays on my skin as I stood mesmerised for a while in the centre of my jail, before following the artery of light to its final destination – the padlock, hanging unfastened from the door.
That was the day that marked the end of my existence as a prisoner to alcohol, the day that I became reacquainted with a way of living that now, thank God, represents normality. Initially terrified and fraught with anticipation, I stepped beyond the confines of my jail, to discover a place more beautiful than anything I could have imagined. Light bounced off shining rivers, birds sang their happy songs from high up amongst gently swaying treetops, and fields of emerald green rolled out in front of me.
The contrast between living with an alcohol dependency, and learning to live again, free of any shackles, is flagrant.