I’ve lived on the border of the outback all my life. It’s been my back yard since I was a little girl. I grew up among the scrubs and dry bushes, breathing the dusty, dry air every day. My eyes lingering on the forever clear blue skies, never a drop falling from it’s sparse clouds, and the relentless heat of midsummer and harsh freezing nights of winter weathered my fair skin, making me tough, still the everlasting vastness of the dead looking land never ceased to amaze me. Despite my affection for the land, I respected it. Never did I venture to far into the brush, frightened by the tales about the unforgiving landscape, horror stories about dead travelers, thirst and madness. Regardless of this the outback was a never-ending passion of mine, my secret love, the imaginary land of my own.
As I grew older I was drawn to this strange land, further and further out into the country, not returning home before nightfall. I could say I was careful, but that would be lying. I was careless and reckless, and being young I felt immortal. Then one day, the horror stories came true.
I watched as the sun sank below the horizon, taking the light away, and as darkness fell, fear rose in my throat. I kept scanning the horizon; dread now choking me the darkness cloaking my mind sending me into a panic. I started wandering but still there was no sign of my home, my safe haven. The night carried on and so did I, walking and as the sun once again shed light over my bare surroundings, and I continued to walk.
On and on I went, until my legs could no longer take my weight, and the pain, and lack of water and food broke me. But still I walked on; numb from disbelief and unaware of my course. I sustained my wandering.
As my knees hit the ground with a dull thud my crazed mind was shocked awake by the pain, for it was by now to unbearable to ignore. I lay down, an inhuman scream ripping from my mouth and carried out over the desert planes. I lay there in agony as the second day came to an end and the landscape was once again shrouded in an eerie gloom. The darkness took me in as the pain that was burning me from the inside out clouded my mind rendering me blind to my surroundings.
I thought that would be my final night. The agony was so immense. I can still not wrap my head around it. That night seemed to last forever, tormenting me. Every time my eyes threatened to close I forced myself awake. I was not yet ready to die. I could not. I was too young. But as the night wore on, filled with my agonized screams there seamed to be no more hope. So as the third day dawned and my howled pleas had turned to whimpers, my raw throat blistered and dry, I laid my head down and waited for death to rid me of the hurt, for his cold fingers to take my soul and carry me away from the unbearable pain into the light that was lapping over the horizon. As the sun began to rise in all its splendid glory, I surrendered to the blackness. My head sunk to the dusty ground and I let myself be carried away from the pain. As I floated into unconsciousness I allowed myself one last breath, one last reminder of the life I was leaving behind.
Had I not been alive today you would not have heard my story. Many people who have been near death often say it changed them, and I am no exception to the ordinary. Yes, it changed me. I still live in the house on the border of the outback, and even though it almost took my life I feel no resentment towards it. I cherish every small pleasure of life, every small blissful moment. Each morning I walk into the bushes of my back yard and watch the sunrise over the horizon. I guess it reminds me that I did not die in those early rays of morning sunshine, but got a new chance at life.