A story about being stuck inside your own little world for quite some time, and then trying to face the real one.

There are no chains, nor there are locks on the door of this prison. The guards are long gone, led by some other business. I'm free, and yet I stay. It's as if the body is working against my will. I do sometimes manage to get to the very edge of the cell, but the legs give in, scared of stepping out, into the unknown. For so long have I stood here, stepped on this cold, rocky floor, that my feet got used to the feeling.  It had long since ceased to bother them, and I do not want to admit that they've grown somewhat fond of this place. I got used to this grayness, trying to color it with my imagination, and for brief moments even succeeded in creating the illusion of beauty of this place. The guards' faces even seemed pleasant in those moments - they looked like they felt for me. I knew I couldn't lay the blame on them, for they were only doing their jobs - that which they do best. I did not know who was to blame, and I had long since stopped thinking about it. For whenever I did, the thought that I am to blame for all of this occurred. And that I just couldn't accept. If that was truly the case, I would know. I would remember.

I wondered a lot about what exactly was my purpose here, always coming to the same conclusion: outside this cell, I know nothing. Whether I liked it or not, my job was to stay here. Partially due to the fact that I got used to all this, and was aware of all the events. Nothing could surprise me, and nothing changed. Everything was fairly simple and easily predictable. I like order, even if it doesn't do me any good. I'm trying to maintain it, knowing all possibilities in advance. I feel safe here. It's true that I'm deprived of my freedom, but on the other hand, I am protected. I do not know what is out there, and I dwelt here for so long, that I've forgotten what the world looks like (if I ever knew, that is).

I doubt. I decide to stay, 'cause what if there's something even worse beyond these walls? I'm not yet willing to take the risk of venturing into the unknown, but it still calls to me. The legs are moving on their own, circling between the door and my bed, under the excuse that they need a little walk, so that the small part life that's left in them doesn't get extinguished. I sit like that for a while, staring into the light that's reaching through the slightly opened door. I would like to take a closer look, but I'm afraid the light would blind me, 'cause the eyes have long since got used to the dark. I'm thinking about the light more and more, suffocating in my own indecision. The curiosity keeps me nailed beside the door, until the legs get tired, but then I lay down and peacefully observe the ray of light, as it hits the floor. It's gray?! I always thought it was black... Maybe it's just a trick, maybe my imagination started controlling me, and everything changed.

Desire for a change, adventure, any sort of event, arises slowly and gets stronger with every passing day. It tries to fight the doubt, the lack of hope and faith, and at first, it does not succeed. The door moves, seamlessly, but the eyes know the gap all too well. Each fraction of an inch encourages my curiosity. I approach the door more often, and each time they get more enigmatic. The hand, under the excuse that it's tired, slowly lands on the rim of the door, and starts sliding downward, mimicking numbness. It tries the hide the shaking and excitement, secretly catching rays of light. Each time, it stays there just a tiny bit longer, noticing that nothing bad happens to it, and each time it decides to slide the door open just another inch.

The fight between desire and doubt, hopelessness and curiosity, continues. Who knows how long it would have lasted, if it weren't for the curiosity of the ones on the other side. I heard voices. They were calling to me, telling me of the beauty of their world. Their hands have already slid the door half open, stopping for a little bit here and there, for they did not want me to be scared by the light. But, they were eager to find about this other world, the one in which I dwell. They were persistent. I told them everything, as it is, not trying to make it sound any nicer (or uglier), but I refused the calls to join them, still unprepared. I told them it was all the same to me.

Many gave up with time, not realizing that I actually wanted their help (at first, I didn't realize that either), but there were some that stuck around. I got used to this game, as I easily got used to almost anything. I enjoyed the suffering as I vaguely described my world, afraid of telling them everything, talking in general terms - just like they did. But I did enjoy the hope, that was slowly coming back, as they spoke of their own. The clever ones saw right through me, for I didn't quite succeed in hiding my fear and indecision, and they gave up as well, thinking I'm not worthy of their world after all. Only a few of them were left, and I did not want to lose them. I slowly started giving in, and finally, the bravest of the lot pushed the door wide open and stepped right in.

I didn't object. I was actually kind of glad he did that. He was in shock, for he understood now. He tried, with all his might, to convince me to get out of here, and I did not quite understand why.  Why was I so important and needed in that world of theirs? He was in a hurry to get out. He didn't like my world, but he was not going to leave without me. I saw it in his eyes and on his face. He desperately tried to find a suitable solution for the both of us. I didn't want him to suffer like I did, so I decided to stand up and step into the light. It looked beautiful, more diverse. They looked happy.

Then, after a couple of moments, it hit me - I get used to everything way too easily. I mustn't allow myself to get used to this as well. It's too vague, the rules are unclear, and everything looks too good to be true. I heard voices from the other cells, and that's when the answer simply came to me. They weren't doing this for me. No, they did not need me; People like me were just a nuisance, something ugly, that was already a part of their world. I had lived in a world inside another world, never before realizing it. They desperately wanted to drag us out, so that they would feel good. That way, they wouldn't have to feel uneasy, for they would have kept a good picture about themselves, lying to themselves that they had actually helped someone, convincing each other that they are worthy of this world in which they live. I figured this one out immediately. I saw right through those smiles - they too were just a habit, nothing more.

I doubted again. Maybe the cell had made me that way... I wasn't sure. I did want to try; I stayed in their world for a while, then went back to my cell, thought, doubted, and repeated the cycle endlessly. I got entangled in my own thoughts, and I knew that was not good. I couldn't judge things properly, couldn't think straight, 'cause they were affecting me a bit too much. That is why I was disgusted by them. I purposely went out when they least hoped, and went back inside when they thought I needed them the most. I defied them!

I understood. They weren't free, and I did not want to be like them. I have seen both worlds with my own eyes, and I now know what freedom is. I made a decision. I sat in the doorway, right between the two worlds. I defied them, I laughed more sincere than them, and they envied me for it. But I also grieved, hated, stared at them with a frightening look, and then with a gaze that was full of love and compassion... And that is what they could not understand. Incomprehensible, unreasonable... Always there, but never quite. On the boundary between two worlds, I sat - forever free.

The End

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