THE PRESSING NEED
My hands tremble in anticipation. A video of the cubic contraption plays in my head. Then I see it. The gargantuan metal door.
Resplendent maw opening and closing. Two circles await with which to choose my destiny. Rise to the heavens? Descend to Earth’s core?
DING. I hear the crowd, smell their cake, perfume. I enter, caress onerous steel sides. I should fear. But I fantasize.
I turn around to see a blockade of circles. Each a fate. Apply pressure and life changes before your eyes.
I pushed, but I do not lead. I float, I transport. The device dictates the destination, I merely follow.
The mouth shuts, beast grunting from strain. I move with haste, explore a new place, after its swallow.
Stillness is anathema, atrophy to my brain, heart, and soul. Motion equals learning, evolving, a better me.
Limbs flow like water, part of the instrument. Weightless euphoria, forgiving hand of God, you see?
My body betrays me, undercuts my psyche. Everyday movement is torture, but you couldn’t know.
The outside world pounces, wolf on a lamb. Flight, fight? Freeze. I can’t go.
My mind acts without consent, unreliable partner, physique a stranger in the night.
The machine bestows me liberty. Most take for granted this “inalienable” right.
The kind where intellect and flesh work as one, if fleeting.
My spirit ascends as we decelerate, musical chime signaling greeting.
Jaws creak, then release. Light illuminates where I’m standing.
An unknown planet emerges. Curiosity, wonder, joy. Landing.
Step foot across the threshold, reality’s line.
Beyond gratitude, humbled, honor all mine.
Feelings of sadness, inner tension.
Leaving the benevolent invention.
Its teeth seal.
Colin Stein is a Los Angeles native. Currently a junior in high school, he plays guitar, skates on an ice hockey team, and skis. Born with autism and little verbal ability, Colin learned to express himself via typing three years ago, and has since authored several poems and stories, with more on the way. Like any teen, his favorite food is pizza.