I sat on the edge of my bed imagining the sweat down my neck as my fingers pounded the rainbow of colors on the guitar hero controller’s neck. My friends Jokaim, Brian, and Big Brian all were watching the screen in front of me as I nailed every note to the solo of a song on expert. They didn’t care much for the game but were willing to watch me play in exchange for the food I had in my house. While I neared the half way point of the song a strange sensation started inching its fingers around my attention span, and suddenly grasped it tight like a metal vice around my left lung. I lost track of where I was for a moment and lay back suddenly, startling my friends. I had my hand on my chest and I was breathing heavily with my face contorted in pain and confusion. I had no idea what was going on, but my chest was hurting me, not terribly, but to the point where I felt something was wrong as my left arm started to tingle and go numb.
I remember Brian telling me I should tell my parents as the rest of the world grew distant while I attempted taking refuge in my chest. I was met with a monster, a ten foot tall horned beast that had jaws like the ceiling of a stalagmite cave and finger nails like steak knives grabbing my lung tightly. It was covered in a layer of shaggy, thick, black hair like a sheep and glowing green eyes that stared into mine as I searched for a topic to relate a conversation to him, besides what else can you do in such a circumstance? The beast clamped his knives through the flesh of my lung harder; I called out for my mother. They asked if I needed to go to the hospital… no words… I nodded. They helped me out to the car where I sat in the front seat passenger side praying for a shotgun to appear so I could blow the pain away like my parents used to blow on my cuts and scrapes. My surroundings intensified. The street lights became hundreds of glowing suns and the cars became massive elephants and tanks racing across our path. Zigzagging and flying past intersections over 80 miles an hour in the iron brick of a car we owned, the world became a blur. I had no idea where I was anymore; I knew somewhere deep down I was about to wake up. There was no way this was happening.
I cried out “Papi, hurry, it hurts” with all the breath I could muster. I was only attentive enough to hear my parents, both startled by what I said, clamber in mental distress, feeling helpless. Each inhaled and exhale felt like a barrage of baseball bats slamming into my lung and staying stationary untill my next breath. I was in such pain I wished that I had the will to hold my breath and die right there. I almost did; I was so close. If it weren’t for the thought of a girl I at the time was inescapably in love with, I would’ve chose death instead of pain. Suddenly I was at the monument named Wellington Regional hospital sitting for half an hour waiting for x-rays… waiting… waiting… growling… the beast was slipping into the dream state I wish I had been a part of; it curled into a ball the size of a small dot on an x-ray and came to fruition. I was amazed by how long the “people” who worked at the hospital could endure me in my distraught pain, how they could let me sit and twist and curl. “What the hell,” was all I could think to myself until they finally brought me some hardcore drugs to relax my nerves. They came to tell me that my lung had sustained a two percent collapse and that I was free to go home tonight with whatever monster I did harbor, dormant or not.
The next morning around 9 o clock I came to the hospital to bad news. They told me that somehow over night my lung proceeded to worsen in condition, even though the pain was not as major, my collapse had increased to 30 percent, and the smallest of activities was a laborious chore. They threatened to penetrate my vault with a device to suction the beast out and kill it in the process, I remember hearing the young naïve voice of a new doctor telling me “I’m not going to lie, it’s very uncomfortable”. I started to feel my pores erupt with a cold sweat of anxiety and fear; I was releasing a poison to my skin that would intoxicate my mind. They preformed countless tests and had me wearing a breathing mask constantly. Every night I felt helpless like every morning, and trying to eat and sleep was a pointless, laughable subject. The lack of oxygen made any movement painful and sore; I needed to have a heated debate about my situation with my new companion in my vault. I had talked to my girlfriend long enough for her to tell me she was in love with another, and to be informed that I proclaimed friends had stolen certain undisclaimed items from my room the night I was rushed to the hospital with the initial collapse.
The heat was over 200 degrees Fahrenheit blasting from its mouth under the green glowing eyes. Its teeth crunching as communication became apparently impossible. I knew of only one disease or contagious virus could defeat my foe. It was as simple as a smile. I kept a smile on my face when anyone was looking to make sure they always smiled back, and I knew then that I would be stronger after this. A week later I was back to school, unable to walk up stairs or do so much as limp to class, but still ready to contend with a prize fighter named life, taking so many names under its belt. I met with my monster a final time, to have a conference. I confronted him about our battle against one another and convinced him to let me live a semi-normal life meaning: minor to medium chest pain frequently, no running, no sky diving or scuba diving, and no strenuous activity.
I knew that I was alive and that since I didn’t die that night and every time my lung pain came back that I was to do something special, or at least I was meant to make the people I love happy. It was a tumultuous time for me, but I learned that by feeling the range of emotions and pain I could further my understanding of the human mind and how we react and see things. I felt closer to becoming who I am now, someone with a vision, and a new appreciation for life. I felt that I had been finally opened up to a less bias truth, and that I could stand tall with my foot upon this chest in my blood stained Sundays best. I let my lungs breathe fresh air. Besides, I prefer my chest open now anyway.