Do you remember?
What it felt like?
What what felt like?
But I am living.
To not just be the person riding in your body, viewing your life through devices used for sight?
To gaze around your world with wide eyes?
To have a seemingly permanent smile?
To not just hear the constant noise?
To hear a new song and feel chills run down your spine for the sheer brilliance of every note, every cord, every verse?
To listen to the sounds of life?
To listen to the silence of snowfall or the rhythm of rain?
To not just eat to survive or avoid it at all costs to fit into everything?
To taste an explosion of flavors and revel in each delicious one?
To not just smell smoke or fumes or charred food or blood, and ignore them all?
To breathe in the aromas of cooking meat and warm chocolate and baked bread, fresh flowers and cut grass and cool salt water?
To not just feel burns on your arms and fingertips, or your own body’s rebellion?
To feel a lover’s soft hair, or an all-encompassing embrace from true friends, or a cooling breeze?
To have adrenaline running through your veins?
To lack breath, not from a disease or malice, but from laughing until no more sound will come, or a kiss that makes it impossible, or a sight that takes it away?
To smile so bright it could power whole countries?
To be connected to every touch, every sight, every sound?
To love without abandon and as if you have never felt true pain?
To live each day excited to wake up and anxious to sleep, only to seek the new opportunities of the next?
To wake up to sunlight streaming through the windows and feel its warmth?
To know the love of your parents, the protection of your siblings, and the comfort of your friends?
To hope for what may come?
To have faith in the world and marvel at its wonders?
To love another as if you have always known how and never truly got the chance?
To feel anticipation and excitement?
To feel your stomach dropping, not from dread or fear, but from the thrill of a roller coaster or the sheer amazement of a return of affection?
To approach hospital doors not to watch loved ones leave us, or to hear news we’re terrified of?
To see a new life come into the world, or a stranger take their first few steps again after having lost all hope they ever would?
To lift a child into the air and give to them the gift of flight, even if it’s only for a few moments?
To dream as if you will live for a thousand years, and even the wildest ones seeming almost possible?
To not just be surviving?
So when did we become so… numb?
Maybe when we looked at the world through those wide eyes and saw things that made us want to slam them shut.
Maybe when that bright smile began to yellow and we had our teeth kicked in too many times.
Maybe when that constant noise became gunshots and cannon fire.
Maybe when the chills down our spines became the feeling of being in someone else’s cross-hairs.
Maybe when the sounds of life became the screeching of brakes and the twisting of metal, and screams of all of those we couldn’t save and the hatred of those who didn’t know us from the rocks they threw at our houses and cars.
Maybe when the snowfall turns black and yellow from dirt and piss and the rain became acid.
Maybe when eating for survival wasn’t even a good enough reason, if it meant others would call us beautiful.
Maybe when those flavors became blood and vomit and venom and our words.
Maybe when that smoke was people and those fumes were flammable and that charred food was all we had left and that blood is ours.
Maybe when we realized ignoring them is what it takes to survive.
Maybe when the cooking meat was human and the chocolate was a melted Hershey bar and the bread was molded.
Maybe when the flowers were dying and the grass was filled with bugs and chemicals and the salt water was determined to kill us.
Maybe when those burns and rebellions were self-inflicted and the pain is what makes us feel.
Maybe when we woke up to find it a dream and our arms were empty and cold and the breeze is tearing our home apart.
Maybe when that adrenaline pumped as we ran for our lives.
Maybe when that breath was our last.
Maybe when that smile actually meant ‘use me and abuse me and make me hate me’.
Maybe when those connections became burdens others threw at you because they didn’t want them.
Maybe when that love was lost and used until it broke.
Maybe when the next day held the same as the last, and waking up meant facing a world we didn’t want to see again.
Maybe when that sunlight was blinding and it hurt and caused disease and burned.
Maybe when our parents became our enemies and our siblings left us behind and our friends ripped off pieces of us they didn’t personally like.
Maybe when hope made us naive and we were used and thrown away.
Maybe when people began to kill for their faith and the marvels became their weapons.
Maybe when we forgot how to love.
Maybe when that anticipation became anxiety and made us sick inside and excitement became looked down on and childish.
Maybe when that dread became reality and the fear was proved right, and that roller coaster killed a little boy and the affections were unrequited or could be manipulated.
Maybe when those loved ones were all we had and the news meant we would be alone again.
Maybe when that new life died three weeks later in its sleep and the coffin was so small.
Maybe when they fell trying.
Maybe when the child cried, or we lost our grip, or we weren’t strong enough.
Maybe when we woke up and realized we only had a few decades.
Maybe when even surviving became impossible.
So when did we become so… numb?
Maybe when we realized numbness hurt less.