It’s been a few hours now since they lost connection with him and the only hope was a small GPS device built into his suit. He continued to float and stare into the vapid nothingness that surrounded him wishing for a glimmer of hope. Praying that they located him and over the horizon would soon emerge his saviors.
His watch was no longer functioning so maybe there was little hope the GPS device was still actively sending out a signal of his location.
There was no way to know for sure.
Moments of terror would flood his mind. His body would stiffen as his heart raced and warm tears would stream down his face. He would start to scream which was more an act of release than it was a cry for help. The nerves would eventually subside and he would then escape into his own mind for clarity and calm.
Each time he ventured deeper into his brain it was like being in a hallway that was littered with doors on both sides. Opening the doors led to rooms that were playing his memories on repeat. A wave of emotion would come over him causing him to smile, or cry, or get angry, but just feeling something was worth going through this gauntlet.
Loneliness is a feeling that no one ever seeks and it grows exponentially as each second passes. Sitting there alone with only your mind to comfort you is a scary proposition. Not knowing if anyone is going to come and save you is paralyzing. It consumes your being. You become obsessed with it. If no one comes what will happen? If death is the only solution why do you have to wait so long?
Hope is all we have to live on. We beg for mercy while making promises that we will change to appease…well…someone or something that we feel cares. That our change will allow a series of events to transpire that will shift the lives of those around us without considering the ramifications of those actions.
You eventually start to question existence all together. Trying to grasp in your final seconds, minutes, hours, days, what life is all about.
Are we just animals meant to roam Earth? Have we become a product of our own intelligence? Could we have evolved past our intended target? Is it possible that this – life in general – is devoid of any actual purpose?
These thoughts came flooding into his mind as he continued to float. Drifting away from one thing and closer to another, both too far to see. All that was in front of him was everything and nothing somehow rolled into one.
That becomes the ultimate question we all ask in times of desperation. When we are crushed by someone we love or told our worth is nothing more than the dirt underneath someone’s shoes or are left to sit alone on a street corner begging for money.
How did this all happen?
Rarely do we take a second to comprehend the great moments in life. Not often do we reach the peak of a mountain and ask, “why me?” Rather we ask, “what’s next?”
As he floated there the questions become more and more complex. His mind was quickly turning on him and he was losing energy. He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
The dreams he had became vivid and more realistic than he ever experienced. He found himself in rooms with people he couldn’t interact with, inside moments he regretted and would do anything to change, with the love of his life that he let escape. Moments of joy popped in and out. The birth of his first child, the way the key turned when they opened the door to their new home, how much his face hurt after smiling for hours when he was accepted into the program that brought him to this exact moment.
He tried to wake himself up but exhaustion won.
Hours later his eyes opened and he found himself still within a nightmare. He moved but his surroundings hadn’t changed so he didn’t know how far. Again panic struck and he began to scream uncontrollably. Screaming so loud that he began to hurt himself. So loud that he could feel the blood in his mouth, but he couldn’t stop. This was his only chance at survival. The only hope that someone within a short distance could hear him was his only rescue.
He then passed out from oxygen deprivation.
He wasn’t sure what but something startled him. Nothing was visible but he knew that if he didn’t wake up now all hope was lost. Suddenly in the distance there was a dot of light. Of course it could be nothing at all. Just a light reflecting off a surface miles away.
He used all of his strength to push himself forward. He did his best to get to the light and found himself actually moving toward it. The fact that he was moving at all was enough motivation to continue on. The light was getting bigger and he could see it was something that was actually holding people and people meant safety or, at the very least, refuge.
Then he finally reached it. He found a window and began banging on it, doing everything he could to get someone’s attention. Finally someone saw him and pointed that he should make his way around to a ladder that would allow him to climb to a door. As he climbed he became weaker and each step felt as if he had a cinder-blocks tied to his feet. He arrived and saw the handle on the door turning, salvation had arrived after the most hellish of experiences. The door swung open and he was greeted with a hand that pulled him aboard.
A smile came across the man’s face, one bigger than when he accepted this mission into space. His comrades patted him on the back and told him he was safe now. They couldn’t believe the stories he had to tell and the ordeal he went through. They all laughed at how amazing it will be to get back to Earth and feel the ground again. One of the other astronauts approached the man and told him he was lucky and that he was dangerously close to running out of oxygen.
As he continued to float a smile came across his face; he was rescued.