Another Chance

by Jackie Johnson

Another Chance, A window of opportunity

September 6, 1961, No wait, 2009.

Forty-Eight years later and I am still walking, living and breathing on this glorious planet we call Earth.

It's been filled with triumph and heartbreak, success and failure, laughter and tears, joyfulness and pain. In my life whatever bad has been followed by good. Whatever door had been closed a window of opportunity had been opened.

I remember such a very long time ago it seems that there was one particular door that slammed shut so suddenly and with such force I was not able to get my legs out in time and the slam of the door on my legs hurt so bad that they would not move. The pain was so intense all I could do was sit there in agony crying it hurt so very bad. I had never in my life had a door cause me so much pain that I could not walk, I could not even think. I sat there for such a long time waiting for the pain to subside.

When my window finally did arrive, I tried to get up and go through it but found my legs were still so very painful, they wouldn't move. I sat there helpless watching the window fade away and then finally grew so dim it was gone.

I waited and waited in the dark, in pain for yet another window to open. At times when saw yet another window crack open, I would look through the crack, see the light from behind it but for some reason did not think it was for me. So I would wait yet again in the dark, pondering until another would open. Sometimes this took days, but many times this took years. It seemed that when I was too afraid and confused to open the crack and look through to see if I should wander out, I would look back into the dark where I had been and found it safer just to go back to where I was in that dark place because I knew it felt comfortable and I had been there such a long time that I was familiar with it, I was getting used to it. It was quiet and in a disturbing way, peaceful. It was a safe place for me. So as I turned my back from the window and wandered back into the dark, I would stare at the window with trepidation and remorse as I saw it slowly close, shutting out the light that had tried to beckon me through.

I would wait in the dark staring at the place that was once a window and loathe myself for not opening it because deep inside I knew I should have.

As the place the window had been grew pitch black and silent, I lost track of where it had been and where I saw it last until all traces of the window were gone and wait in my comfortable, silent dark waiting for yet another to open.

Many times as I waited in that dark room, I would be filled with a terrible regret and get back up to feverously try to find it again. I thought if I searched real hard, I would find where that window had once been. I would search until I was exhausted, feeling panic stricken that I could not find it. When I was too tired to get up and search yet again for where this window had been, I shook my head, went back to my place and give up. It was getting just too hard to find anymore. So I would just wait for it to appear again.

It seemed that the longer I waited after I missed going though one, the longer it took for yet another to appear and open for me. Sometimes as I sat and waited in the dark, I would wonder if that was the last window that I would ever see. Sometimes, I almost knew that another would not even appear and that the dark where I resided was to be my permanent home for life. That thought alone would bring me feelings of despair.

I remember I had waited once for so long that I was starting to feel that I had only imagined the last window. Then slowly, after so very long, I forgot it was ever there and I stopped looking for it completely. I settled myself back in that dark place again. I knew in my heart that I was looking for something, waiting for something, but I no longer knew what that was. At times I felt confused and as I wait in that place, I started feeling better not looking for that something that I was supposed to be looking for and settled into the place not waiting, not looking, just there.

I think I recall, every now and then, seeing from the corner of my eye, a light coming from somewhere. Maybe it was behind me or to the side of me, I don't remember. I think it was there but I closed my eyes and thought I only imagined it being there. It had been so long I forgot what it looked like.

Just recently as I sat there huddled and shivering, I felt something nudge at me and awaken me. When I opened my eyes, low and behold, there it was, right there in front of me. I stared at it at first not quite believing it. Then all of a sudden I smiled. Oh my God, that's it! That's the window. I remember it now. That was what I had been waiting for. My heart started racing and I jumped forward grabbing on to the ledge. I immediately took a stick that had mysteriously appeared in my hand and propped it open.

This one, this beautiful, glorious window was mine. It had come to me yet again. I would not lose it this time because I knew this was it. That was what I had been waiting for all this time.

I peeked through the window with sleep-covered eyes and what I saw there filled my heart with such joy and happiness I was bursting. I wanted through that window so bad. I pulled myself up to try to climb through but my legs were very stiff and sore and it was very difficult to move. I kept hanging onto the ledge and peered up at the stick that was holding it open, I did not know how long that stick would hold up. I knew in my heart and in my sole that I had to figure out how to get my legs up so I could crawl through it.

I am there right now. The stick seems to be holding strong. My legs are starting to move better so I manage to get one of them up and over out the window. My whole body is now holding the window open. I am not afraid of the stick not holding it open anymore. I can breathe a sigh of relief. I feel the sun shining down on that part of my body that is out the window. If feels so good. From deep within I remember the feeling of being completely through the window. I remember when my whole body felt the sunshine. I remember being completely free. That joyful, wonderful feeling unlike anything I could even explain. I start crying because I know I can get that other let up and through that window.

I am working on it now and I have so many ideas. I do not feel panicked anymore because deep down, I have no doubt the other leg and the rest of my body will get through that window and I am so happy I do not have to rely on that stick anymore to keep it open. I do not need the stick but I know I had better keep it there just in case, because I know now what it feels like to be out the window and I don't want to chance loosing my balance and falling back. So I need the stick there

I know I have to work on getting the other leg over. But right now, this very moment I can rest for a bit and get my energy back so that tomorrow I can work on getting my leg moving up and out the window completely. It may take awhile because my leg still hurts as bit. It has not moved in so a very long. And every second in every day, I feel my leg gaining strength. I feel it very slowly inching upward towards the window. And I know that with every inch I lift it, I get closer to being out the window. And as the sun shines down on the inches that get through, I get stronger.

There is no way I am giving up hope now. I just have to keep going, keep working at it and it will go through. I am no longer cautious, hell I am more than ready to just jump through. But I do need to rest often so I don't strain myself and accidentally fall back. I need to be patient and give myself time. But each day that I wake up and see my leg on the dark side and feel my leg stiff and sore and so hard to move, I am reminded that my other leg is still on the outside and my body is propping open the window. And I remember instantly that I have to keep working and I know I will not give up, It's a new day. A new day to keep on getting that other leg up. The sun shining on the leg that is outside the window feels so good. It's just a matter of time.

I'll never, ever go back. The feeling of that leg that is outside the window is so wonderful and so happy. It is giving me the courage I need to keep trying.

I still do not know who nudged my shoulder to awaken me so that I could see the window in the dark. I know I felt it but I don't know who or what did it. I had no idea, no clue anyone was even there with me in the dark. I thought I was alone all that time. It just blows my mind that I was not. I sometimes wonder where they were all that time. I wonder why they did not awaken me sooner and why they did not let me know they were there all along. Maybe they tried a few times and I did not really care or even remember they had tried. All I know is that I felt it this time and I am so grateful. I love them so much. I will always be thankful, that this time, I felt their touch.

Jackie Johnson

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