My Great Escape
By Aneesh Chatterjee
I escaped. I escaped my home. I don’t even remember if I ever called it my own. I wasn’t a victim; I was not oppressed.
My life was average, normal, unnoticed, blessed. Of course there were spines. Creatures, vile. But who doesn’t deal with that? I did for a while. Yet, I escaped. Without knowing why back then.
But now that I’m here, I’m beginning to see. My home was a hell-fire, and I was protected, oblivious to the suffering and screams around me.
The reach of evolution has brought us close, and perhaps a bit too close for my taste. For here, in the comfort of peace and security, I’m seeing what I might have had to face. My home was burning. Prisoners of the corrupt, the greedy, the sickest bowels of humanity, stared at me through their bars with eyes that demanded justification for my freedom. Or perhaps they merely stared; perhaps the hell-fire is stronger within my heart, tearing my conscience to pieces, at the thought that I was randomly selected to leave the pit, and enter the kingdom.
What gives me the right? I asked. So did they. I could hear them scream. I was a citizen of my home, cursed to suffer within it every day.
This life – this happiness – it wasn’t even a dream. My friends toiled and burned and fought, with me watching from a distance, indifferent and confused. I don’t know if they ever asked me for their loss, but I know I can never provide, what they have been refused. My home is filled with monsters, creatures that ruin lives for a living. From here, it’s all clear: the sickening acts are too dark to see. Innocent souls assimilated, destroyed, lost and grieving; I couldn’t imagine what it would have done to me. But I escaped. I was protected well.
I was one of the lucky few who had no stories to tell. My hands are soft still, my psyche unharmed. I am safe, sound and secure; no reason to be alarmed. So why does it burn? Why do I cry? Because it’s my own home? Because that’s where I’m supposed to die? Is this patriotism, or sympathy? Or is it just plain confusion? I am lost in my own fortune, my faltering delusion. My home is beautiful. Its colors outshine the brightest of any other. Its life, laughter and arbitrary adventure are found nowhere else in this world. It tastes wonderful. Could I stay there forever? No one could not. The living quarters are too cold. And so I escaped. I watched millions of my people fall below as I rose to the skies, left to be thrown in the construct of psychological torture and die or live a slave.
I wished I could bring some of them with me. But then I realized, the real world is not so fulfilling. Not a dream. Not so brave. I escaped because I was given the chance. I was guided without hindrance. Guided away from the colors, lights, laughter and tears, from the blood-curling screams and turbulent fears. Today, here, at this moment in time, I know I can never go back. My home is a sin of humanity, in itself, a crime. I couldn’t care less what it lacked. I cannot love my roots, I cannot state my blood with pride. All I can do is watch the place burn, as I allow my own flames to subside. I will never make the mistake of calling it my own. For that day, I escaped. I escaped from my home.