She gazed at the world around her. Unable to see the colors any longer, unable to feel the breeze. There was no more taste to the meat. There was no more joy in a smile. Water no longer quenched her thirst. All things pleasant had been leeched from her days and replaced with Pain and Suffering. She only knew she lived because they would not let her die.
Many confuse Pain with Suffering. But she knew them both personally, intimately. Pain was the agony that rent her body without remorse, the fire that consumed her nervous system at every movement. Pain was the reminder that her flesh was mortal. Pain was the insult to the real injury. But pain was relatively new in to the original couple, for she had danced with his brother, Suffering, for most of her cognitive life.
Long ago he had taken her hand. He promised that sometimes he’d be sweet and other times she would greatly wish that he would let her go. But even if he released her, she later realized, she would lose too much of herself to be happily free from him. For in his arms she built strength of unimaginable proportions and with his pruning she became refined.
And so with deepest peace wrapped in reluctance, she looked first at Pain’s ugly face and then at Suffering shrouded in his sweet guarantee of unbearable beauty. Then with the greatest of ease she took the hand of her beloved, and by the strength he afforded her she was able to take the hand of Pain. It wasn’t because she desired to have them metamorphosed into herself. It wasn’t because she was forced to. She embraced them because they had always been there. Never left. And she knew they never would.