Tonight, I stood alone in the empty street. Snow and ice were all around me and, above my head, sat a sky full of stars. I drew my breath in deeply, letting the cold air fill up my lungs.
Then, I listened..
There, the silence was. The silence that was there before I opened my eyes on this world and the silence that will be there when I leave. And into my mind, like an old enemy, slipped the question.
The question that has reverberated in my head and heart of late is the cliched, but natural question:
Who am I?
Who is this whose earliest memories were of fishing with his father and being bathed in a kitchen sink? Who is this who remembers playing and imagining from the time before he had words enough to express it? Who is this who fought bullies in school, fist for fist, in defense of his friends?
Who is this that they said wouldn't survive? That they pulled apart and stitched back together, that they poisoned until the fast growing cells died first? Who is this that laid awake alone in hospital rooms as a child and felt the icy dark sense of surrender touching the soles of his feet?
Who is this that tried to play "normal", but who never could? Who met the scorn of many teachers and authority figures? Who is this who still lives that same reality?
Who is this who learned to sing from deep inside his heart, so that the hollow cry permanently lodged in his chest might escape on his breath from time to time?
Who is this who tried to love? Who lost it? Who still hides from it? Who is this who has broken hearts? Who regrets every moment of it?
Who is this who has lost brothers and regained new ones? Who still feels the pain daily of missing each one? Who has felt the depths of betrayal and sense of true loyalty? Who would, as always, fight to his last droplet of blood for those he loves?
Who is this who create all he could to help? Even if it was never received?
Who is this that believes that he will never know himself, only where he's going?
Who is this that will, no matter his work, pass into the unknown, a brief flicker on a spec of dust in the infinite?
Does it even matter "Who" this is?
Definitely not. And yet, absolutely yes. We are all in this story, not just myself, whatever "self" is. We are infinitely unimportant while completely and utterly important.
My story is still being written before it passes away forever. Until then, I just "am".