status quo

The first time I awoke, I immediately fell asleep again. The second time I was surprised. I cannot remember the third and fourth time.
The fifth time I heard voices. There were three, somehow I was able to distinguish them, the rough, croaking one, the light one and the monotonous one; I did not understand the words, however.
Then I slept again, probably for a very long time, for as I awoke I heard the same voices talking about how long it had taken them to do something they never mentioned, but finally had been completed. I would have asked them if I had been able to and had known what a question was in the first place. That is also why I did not ask myself why I had been unable to comprehend the voices at an earlier time.
The seventh time no one was speaking. For a moment, I believed back then, I heard a loud, alien sound not unlike the monotonous voice, although fleeting and gone faster than I could wonder about it. The rest of this unusually - if I could even call up any usual thing at all for a contrast at this early point in my life - long interval there merely was a playful hissing and humming, alternating in an irregular rhythm not quite entirely non-musical.
The eighth time the voices were back, hushed and mixed with many other unknown voices. The moment would not last long, however, for soon there was talk of a mishap, and all those many voices very rapidly agreed that, indeed, something unintended had happened.

After an unknown time span, during the next round of this weird game, I found everything changed. I felt something, and I remembered many words that would describe this exotic impression. Legs, I felt my legs! And the very thought, too, that anything could be considered mine, it was simultaneously refreshing and frightening. That undescribable feeling of a part of me that suddenly sprung into existence out of nothing!
Another round of sleep, then I felt my arms, too. I realized only now that those, just as my legs, despite being palpably there, did not obey my will at all. How could something so fundamental have slipped my mind - I asked myself - and then how I was suddenly capable of asking in the first place.
Over the course of those two days - although the denotation should be understood not in a temporal sense, but merely as the course of waking and sleeping - the three voices were present, they talked and explained among each other, sometimes they even laughed - a wonderful new experience on my part, too. Mostly they talked about me, but even though I understood the words, I rarely grasped the meaning.
Day eleven, I was happy. It's not as if in hindsight, there might have been any particular reason; I just did. Perhaps it was a delayed gladness about the recently acquired tactile sense in my extremities - and the anticipation of the day I would be able to move them - more likely, however, the feeling was founded in itself and the very ability to experience it.
On the twelfth day I was able to open my eyes, but I could not see much, glaring lights shining directly into them, and bright tiles around their sources. I also questioned why I had legs, arms, eyes and - since the almost very beginning - ears, for as refreshing all those sensual impressions had been, I now felt quite hollow and unfulfilled in a rather undefined way.
Day thirteen dawned, and I spoke. As soon as I woke up the light voice posed a question which I answered truthfully, and the voice appeared content. I still saw above, before, below, behind or next to me the blinding lights and wondered about the very orientation my slowly awakening body had in this space. I wanted to ask the light voice about it, but my mouth did not obey and I remained silent instead. As a result, the last I felt, for the first time and as the last thing before falling asleep again, was fear.
Finally, on the fourteenth day, I saw the voices' tiny owners, two men and a woman, the latter belonging to the light one. I saw them stand before me and realized that I, too, was in an upright position, although held in place by rigid belts which I felt tightened around my body, possibly not to fall over, because - defying repeated efforts to move them - my limbs remained frozen.

On the last day the shakles fell. My body, my arms and my legs, free to move, and move they did, I stepped forward, carefully, slowly, maybe testing whether both ground and legs were sufficiently stable. Satisfied they were I made another step, and another one, I stepped into the light which had blinded me earlier, now it gleamed not among tiles, but bathed in a bright sea of blue.
I turned around, to the right, back to forward and then to the left, thus seeing all three voice owners, as always talking amongst themselves, yet suddenly I found them exhausting, disturbing, almost unpleasant. I stood there, pausing, thinking what I wanted to do with my newly won agility - freedom! - but before those thoughts had had the time to ripen into something akin to intention, I again turned to the right and realized that the movement of my legs was the direct result of the words spoken by the croaking voice.
And thus I walked in a pace regular and slow, effortlessly keeping up with the three voices, following a path, the blue and the light at my left, stone walls, windows and doors at the right, sometimes other people who did not seem to care at all about my presence.
The path ended inside a big building, filled to the brim with people of varying sizes as well as innumerable wooden, metal and even a few glass receptables. The croaking voice had stopped walking besides one of the boxes; the other two voices must have left us in the meantime - without me even realizing - and had gone somewhere else.
The voice pointed towards the box, larger then itself, it spoke a few short words, and then like a stranger, an outside observer, I could watch myself bend down, grasp the box with my fingers and hands, much higher than the head of the voice owner, and finally, following its explanations and walking behind in its newly taken path, I carried it in front of my chest.
Pride! Pride was the new emotion that I feld when I obeyed the voice, when I followed it through a maze of corridors, lights, large and tiny people, until we passed a wall of glass with water and fish behind. This sight, so entirely fresh and at least as alien as once ago the mere possession of my limbs, it filled my mind with many questions, with curiosity, I wanted to stop and marvel at these wonderful beings, how they floated meekly, elegantly, majestically.

But I did not stop. I kept walking behind the croaking voice, no hesitation, that moment of longing for the creatures behind the glass was shorter than the blink of the eye of that person in front of me, and yet infinitely long. When we had just left behind the water held by the glass, only then did I realize that it hadn't been my legs and arms which never obeyed my will, but the very will itself which did not respond to my feelings, and that it had been like this since the very beginning, since that second in which I was surprised for the first time.
Then I was overwhelmed by a feeling of happiness and satisfaction, I felt warm and safe, some might say I loved the voice, this tiny person, as it finally spoke again, the voice like music in my ears.
"Put the box down over there, by the other ones, golem", it croaked, and I believed myself in paradise as I obeyed.


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