Awakening (Pushcart Prize Nominee, SFLR 2018)

by Deborah Svatos

The sensation sweeps over me, engulfing my body like the waves rushing over the sand during high tide. I feel euphoric. I feel broken. I feel crazy. I feel perfectly sane. I can’t tell where one feeling begins and the other ends. All I know is that I am free. In this state of mind, I could be anything: A lounge singer clad in stardust, whispering to the souls of the longing through the music binding them all together. An Olympic diver falling into the depths of still blue with the grace of Isadora Duncan. The girl at the bar ordering her fifth drink because the joy of the buzzed sensation the alcohol gives her outweighs the importance of responsibility.

Somehow, I am all of them in their soulful, composed, and rash fervors, a walking harmonious collision. It’s a moment in time that dances to music only I can hear. Is this madness? The result of my life’s pain bursting through the floodgates and sending me into a crisis-induced state of mania? Or is it just an escape I’ve willingly pursued to run from my own demons? Whatever this state of mind may be, I love it with the passion that sometimes drives me to write unbidden in the latest hours of the night or sing every song that embodies how I feel with a sweetness rivaling a nightingale’s tune. This feeling has the flavors of all the right words conjuring up descriptive poetry for every sentiment close to my heart and sweet chaos driving me to break from convention for the first time in my life. If this is madness, may my mind never recover and return to the chains of sanity. Sanity appears lifeless in comparison to this sensation. Never have I been so caught up in something I didn’t understand. As I head out into the night, the feeling moves me through the comforting air of the periwinkle dusk, singing to me in the sweep of the wind as I run from what once was. Oh, to live boundless in this reverie until the end of my days!

Somehow, this beautiful cacophony of conflicting emotions and a thousand states of being managed to awaken me from an unbreakable sleep. I can see the vespers of the night, diamonds framing a lunar pearl against the dark void. Normalcy never held such beauty. The trance I lived in, composed of endless steps down an empty tunnel, is broken into shards of realization reflecting life’s unseen nuances. Only now do I realize that this is ingenuity and loveliness woven together as only I could see it.

Suddenly I am someone as creative as all the Muses crooning from the heights of Mount Olympus, the ideal portrait of a writer. The words come rushing in as the feeling consumes me. Every detail of life in its infinite beauty, clearer than perfect crystal in my awakening, flows out through the words in my mind. I feel passion grab hold of me, stronger than I could have ever dreamed. The exquisite allure of this emotion filling my consciousness is spellbinding. At this moment, all I can do is put pen to paper, letting the words dance from my fingers onto the page in swirls of ink. Emotion and inspiration sing a duet in these heathery hours of the night, enchanting and bold, driving me as I write of the splendor my eyes have beheld in this exceptional evening.

All I see, hear, and taste is this pureness of vision, the singular pursuit of the world’s miraculous detail coming together through my art. I am lost in the sound of the voice in my mind. It’s a combination of music, creativity, and awe speaking only to those who dwell in the arts. Embracing it fully, I craft the words it inspires. One by one, they form a reflection on this night, a tribute to the spirit of innovation that moves me to write. When at last, the passion recedes, I find in myself a new feeling: utter delight. Now that I have known the feeling that drives the artistic minds of the world, I can revel in what it has wrought. For now I see the world in a new light, and my words on the page stand as a testament to an inner awakening.