“Sometimes it’s the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

No Pain No Game

2:00 p.m.

Serena was embraced with terror, the agonizing chest pain was radiating to each cell of her trembling body. The girl was nearly into shock as if she had barely survived a plane crash, an earthquake or a tornado that caused her multiple injuries. Her mind was blank. She felt defeated, suffocated, deprived of all vital energies.

Serena thought she was going to faint again, and fearing that she might lose the least of remaining control, commanded to herself in a soft voice, “Breathe, breathe to live.”

And then, while Serena was concentrating on her breath, something marvellous happened. An authentic inner voice rose in protest within her consciousness straining at the leash to escape from this mirage reality: “Remember who you are. You can’t afford yourself to be weak. Not now. Don’t be afraid. You are not alone. I am here for you, I am your best friend, I am you. I’ll take you out of this situation. All you need is to calm down now. Once you are calm, we’ll figure the way out. Breathe, breathe for me, breathe to live… Just keep doing it. It’s easy. In and out.”

2:05 p.m.

Serena closed her eyes. Normally extraordinarily beautiful, and now badly swollen, her ice-blue eyes could no longer bear the pain. The pain was of two types: the burning pain caused by “mortar” mix of tears, make-up, wind and sun. And then there was the purely blinding pain inflected by the image of the man sitting on the edge in front of her. “Change the image, keep breathing, calm down. Forget about everything, just for a moment. I promise, we’ll get back to him a little later”, Serena’s inner voice was getting more and more persuasive. “Change the image.”

First Image: Seaside

Serena is still a little girl of about 5 years old. Her parents, comfortable on their deck-chairs, are talking excitedly about something she doesn’t understand: either way, it’s none of her interest.

Step by step, one tiny foot in front of the other, she is directed right to the sea. The sand is gold, the wind is mild, and the air is hot. As for the water, its transparent green and the waves are enchanting. For a while little Serena looks back at her parents, but they don’t seem to worry.

After a while she goes inside the water and starts seeming: she did that a dozen of times before. Besides, the sea is so salt one doesn’t takes an effort to float over. So she is floating there, for a while. Then suddenly the water gets high. Suddenly Serena realises she’s got quite far since the beach line seems so distant and the people on it so small. They are shouting though, and growing in number.

The inner voice tells her she must go back. So she does. Serena knows instinctively if she has arrived till here, she can do all the way back in the same manner. She is calm; she doesn’t understand why grown-ups do always panic. All she has to do is to keep breathing and keep swimming. Serena is sure she will be okay.

Next moment though, she notices a huge powerboat coming right towards her. Once back to the shore and tightly embraced by her parents, little Serena softly explains, “I wasn’t afraid of the sea, I was only terrorized by the powerboat of rescuers: I didn’t know what is it, I couldn’t control it and I didn’t know what to expect”.

Second Image: Skating Championship

Serena is about 13 years old. She is great, her technique is implacable, her legs are fast and powerful; she is in one of the leading positions. Then suddenly, one of her rivals – a red hair nasty boy – nonchalantly pushes her to the hedge. As a consequence, Serena loses her balance and violently falls down, breaking her arm. Not a tear. Nor a scream. She will think about it once the race will be over. Reassuring her Mum and medical aid assistants that she is okay, Serena rises up and continues the competition ignoring the excruciating pain. And, comes second to the finish.

Third Image: Car Accident

Serena is 19 years old; she just had a huge car accident and is barely survived. Analysing her multiple severe injuries, the doctors are rather surprised the girl is still alive and conscious! Serena captures the slightest notes of the doctor’s voices and the way they exchange looks: she understands that they don’t think she can make it through. Yet, Serena decides she will; she knows well she can do that. And she does.

2:25 p.m.

Have you remembered who you are? Do you understand what is happening right now? What are you going to do?” Serena’s inner voice was violently penetrating her mind.

Serena realised she have probably fell asleep for a while. Or not, since when in to comes to deeper levels of consciousness, know if what one thinks is sleep is actually sleep. But when she awoke, or whatever, she felt reborn: like a phoenix rising from the ashes…

To be continued…

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