The Glass Prison

Christian H., Contributor

I open my eyes only to discover a black abyss. Within the abyss lies my very self. The same self that many a mistake to be cast into the void that society has created.

It’s quiet. Not that of an odd quiet, yet a soothing one. As dark as this bottomless prison is it has a calming atmosphere about it. No eyes are watching, nor people talking. Despite how many see this as grim or punishing, it is purely a blessing to myself. Outcasted, isolated, abandoned, securely placed beyond the evils of others.

 

Time passes all the same and a speck of light disturbs the atmosphere. At once, the cold comfort darkness had provided was banished by the infiltration of the warmth and false hopes of the light. Slowly, the entire abyss erupted into a fountain of light. I shield my eyes. The light is blinding and revealing of my very existence.

I’ve known only of cruelty and the sound of hope being demolished. There will be no day I shall turn to the light. Suddenly, a thought drowns my very statement. “What of the surface now?”

 

Curiosity began to take control. My mind spinning, heart churning, eyes quickly opening wide. I look around to find only to find a glass room with a wooden ladder. Discovered, found, by my most fascinating nightmare. “Do I dare relive my horrid past?” I grasp the ladder, looking down at the cracked glass floor, and scan the bright mess for the first and last time.

 

One by one, my body slowly crawls up each peg as if the next has a danger that the former peg had lacks. Anxiety filled my body and the crawl transformed into a climbing frenzy. “Be this opportunity a blessing or a curse I will embrace it with open arms!” With every motion the gap between isolation and acceptance is shortened. The last few pegs approach as the shattered remains of a glass ceiling creep into view. I step across atop the shattered platform, and a gleaming light shone through my former prison. Looking beyond the edge, I discover multiple chambers and think, “For all I had known I was truly alone, but truly that isn’t the case here.”

 

I found the irony of it all humorous. “How long had I been here? How many others have been put through this? Who helped me out of the chamber? Why did they help me?” My mind a ballroom and my thoughts its dancers. It all stopped once I found that light. It illuminated another of the many containers; however, a terrifyingly broad image of what was inside shows itself. I could never spot anything outside of my walls when the light had enveloped my cavern, but here, I could clearly see the poor man inside! “How long have I been so ignorant? Any eyes could clearly see me whether I knew so or not!”

 

Once again my hope became my greatest despair. “Why did the light shine on me?” Outside, there are fates of judgement and acceptance. Inside, there is no difference between myself and an animal in captivity. “When I look inside, it allows me to see how foolish I was to assume that freedom comes from the disposition of the shadow of society. “ How can one be free if there is a division between the ideals that create freedom itself? One ideal suppresses another and the suppressed ideal is then discriminated!” Regardless of ideals, if one person sees another and deems them outside of the “natural flow” of society, the one who is judged becomes imprisoned by the thoughts and actions of others.

 

I almost began to pace until I remembered that the edge of the platform was directly in front of me. I look out toward the corner of the shattered floor and discover a catwalk protruding from the tops of each glass room. In the distance, a set of metal doors with a crack of light between them show me an escape. Walking beyond my “dystopian utopia” brings me ever so closer to my hopeful escape. Halfway across the elevated walkway, the light becomes more visible. My hope, anger, depression, and judgements all derived from a beam of light, and yet a beam of light will end them all. I approach them and push them open.

 

A small stairwell with a large floodlight resting on a wooden chair is all I find. There is no trace of any person that might have come here before, but upon closer inspection I discover a note lying underneath the floodlight. I lift it, grab the note, set the light down, and read. “Light the way for others or you yourself can run along free. If you enlighten the lost, you must stay, but if you go do not expect a warming welcome neither here nor on the surface.” Either way I choose it is a tough place to be. “Do I save others and give up my own freedom? If I leave am I truly free?” My resolve to resurface bends. Life has lowered me into a losing position, and just when I thought I would succeed, I am put at a stalemate. I sit down in the chair, note in-hand, and finally come to a conclusion. My entire path is about to unfold before me.