As far as the train could go, I rode it to the end of the line. It was a man-made island filled with modern steel and massive machinery, an international hub of commute and dreams. Here I’ve come and gone, bringing people to the gate, hoping to go off, but to only be smacked by reality. The truth was, that I realise it was not my turn yet. The possibility of going was such a well-justified dream, just that I couldn’t withstand the realities of the consequence to be shaken and bedridden again if I were to be injured…
Regardless of head logic I went up to the counter to ask for a ticket. My bag was packed and my spirit was excited. Blood was rushing through my veins and fun was round the corner. The images of holiday, a new life and a brand-new start were yelling out at me. The escape from pain, the hardships of being useless, and not depending on others were just a flight away, and I could just taste it now. A seat leaned back over thousands of miles, high over the clouds, further away from gravity with the service of a bell. It sounded like a pretty good treat to a new life. However, the truth was that the plane ride would rattle me like a tin. The aeroplane would shake all the workings and progression, through one ride. Inducing me once again into a jelly form rendered again with incapability and more pain.
The vibrations and constant conflicts of incoherent forces would cause back stabbing, brain burning madness, which in turn would force me into a seizure shaking the know how of how to move, and end up a wobbly body with another increase of pain, and the inability to move. I would step on to the plane a mobile man, but most probably carried off as a slab of patient.
Smiling and as I looked at the golden ticket, I called my family. “There’s an open seat I really want to fly, my heart says yes! Should I go?” “No, you’re not ready. If you go but end up paralysed for the rest of your life, would it be worth it?” replied the voices, with the phone passing back and forth between family members. “I think so, it was my dream to move again and experience life, doing this would complete the end of it.” I retorted. “Don’t be rash, if you go on the plane and end up back in the hospital, jeopardizing the rest of your life, it’ll be really bad.” The concern voices said. To be honest, we were both right. I had been so eager about getting back to life, that I was foolishly ready to enjoy myself for a few moments and may suffer the rest of it. So feeling a tare in my heart and an anchor on my legs, I responded to the front counter with a smile sliding off my face, “Thank you very much for searching, I’ll take a ticket up next time, but this time I’ll have to pass.”
Feeling dishearten, angry and sad, the state of my condition came clear again. If I go on the plane and risk it all for a moment of euphoria just to throw it away again, it wouldn’t be worth it at all. I need to build myself back up well, so I can enjoy all the goodness for the rest of my life.
I walked my friend to the gate, giving a final hug. This scene became a loop on replay, as the many times I’ve travel to the airport and got turned down by a smart choice and a force by condition. It made a world map travelled by my many friends who came to visit me and left back to their real lives after coming to Hong Kong for their escape. We squeeze firmly and steadily so as not to squash my back, and gently too, as not to crush like an egg.
“You didn’t have to send me Luc.” Said my visitors. “I had to, I enjoy all our times together and you mean a lot.” I replied. “Well when you get better, come visit me!” replied my guests. “Of course I will. You know it…” We released the hug and my friend started towards the passport and ticket check. “ … Have a good flight! See you soon, I’m not going anywhere till you come back, unless I heal up by then. Ha, ha, ha.” I said goodbye. The truth was that it hurts to laugh, to see them leave, one after another, months after months, time after time, because it was everyone except for me going.
It was great that they could come to Hong Kong to visit. I understand the flip of the situation from their side and their holiday away from their place, but I wanted mine so badly too. As they walked through the doors off into immigration I visualised myself every time going through it too.
Next time it’s going to be me. Mumbai.
Next time came and it still wasn’t me. Next time it’s going to be me. Holland.
Next time came, but I was still here. Next time it’s going to be me, at least I’m feeling stronger and getting closer. San Francisco, I am definitely coming.
I turned around to sit down on a railing, frustrated, sad and angry. Okay, I get it. I have to earn everything I want, so I just got to work harder. If I keep at it, one day it’s going to be me. One day, I will have my start, one final day; I will have the fulfilment. I’m going for it. My friend’s figure disappeared and now it was time to go back home to the grind of rehabilitation.
Even though I don’t ask for much, I realised that what I want was an emotion. The new start didn’t have to come from a place, a trip, a holiday, but it had to come with a change of mind and growth. Everyone wants to go on holiday, and even those who visited me were searching for it in Hong Kong too. I realised that if I couldn’t be content with myself, and always placed false hopes in the illusion of something else, I would never be fulfilled.
An escape might always be enticing and sounds amazing, but the truth is, we will never be fulfilled if we are not content first with ourselves. There is no substance great enough to fill a cup that has a hole in its bottom. We must first work on ourselves, before enjoying the additional bonuses life has to offer when looking for long-term contentment. We can be on holiday without going away, and happy starting from within. Start searching inside, before you go out.
What do you tribute your happiness to?