By Charlis Cunningham
An afternoon visit to urgent care turned into a full day in the emergency room, complete with an ultrasound, CT scan, intermittent stomach cramps, vomiting, and nearly ended with surgery. I was now one week and three days out of the hospital after suffering from severe inflammation in my intestines. As a result, I was down approximately eighteen pounds in less than three weeks and had rid my waistline of Mom‚Äôs traditional food that was so richly full of bad calories. I would never utter such things to her or make her feel that the delicacies of our culture were the culprit of my intestinal demise. I had no real answers, nor did the doctors, and the only conclusion was that sometimes these things just happen.
The days after my discharge were spent lounging about. I lay on my large grey sofa neatly tucked in my favorite cotton throw this particular Saturday. The man I was deeply in love with sat at my feet with his strong arms and full beard that exuded masculinity. He radiated with compassion for my well-being.
‚ÄúHow do you feel?‚ÄĚ he soothingly whispered.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm better. I haven‚Äôt had pain in several days.‚ÄĚ
We sat smiling at one another for a moment before he suddenly vanished and a tall figure draped in a dark red cloak appeared standing over me. Unexpectedly, the figure, filled with malice, thrust forward a long spear jabbing me in my lower abdomen. I screamed in pain and jerked forward clutching my stomach. My voice echoed against the sterile, white walls of the living room as I woke myself up yelling, ‚ÄúOUCH!‚ÄĚ I had fallen asleep on the sofa once again. I tarried for a moment, checked for pain, and collected all the images from what obviously was a dream. The strange figure pierced me exactly where the inflammation was prevalent days before, and consequently, I now felt a slight tightness. I didn‚Äôt ponder too much on the visons or my stomach because my dreams had proven to be weird over the years and I was still going through a healing process.
It was late, so I shut everything down and made my way to the bedroom. I slid into the cool sheets and let my head sink into the pillows. My eyes focused out the window to a bright star in the cobalt blue sky. It appeared to be moving, doing a dance in a circular motion. I blinked a few times to ensure my eyes were accurate. Clearly, I was exhausted. I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and after a few inhalations with my eyes closed, my eyelids were flooded with brightness. An immense light revealing an open space all around me permeated my body.
What is this? Surely, I wasn‚Äôt asleep this time. There was no ground beneath my feet, I spun in mid-air as I flailed my arms yelling and crying. My body heated, then illuminated in iridescent colors starting from my extremities. I sparkled everywhere in colors I had never seen. My heart raced in anxiety before a hushing wind swept across my face causing my screams to diminish into heavy painting. The light spoke.
‚ÄúWho are you?‚ÄĚ
I had no reply to something so mystic and I was further distracted by my physique that was still sparkling like a precious jewel.
The light spoke again, ‚ÄúDo you know who you are?‚ÄĚ
I gulped a big lump down my throat before finding the courage to mutter back, ‚ÄúN-n-n-no.‚ÄĚ
It was all I could think of.
‚ÄúWho are you?‚ÄĚ the light repeated with force.
Trembling and scared to give another shoddy answer, I replied ‚Äúmy name is Nia.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúDo you know who you are?‚ÄĚ
I could feel the intention was much deeper than the question and in a moment of contemplation I could honestly, yet regretfully, say ‚ÄúNo.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt is your purpose to know who you are. Seek truth and knowledge of your origins‚ÄĚ the light exclaimed.
Before I could inquire, the light disappeared and I was back in the middle of my bedroom. My body reverted to its normal state‚ÄĒeverything was the same except the thought in my head. Who am I? For twenty-two years, I had known my place of birth, my parents, family, religious beliefs, and everything that shaped who I am. One starry night all this was changed by a light being who challenged me to look deeper, discover where I come from, and to know who I really am.