Born Again

When these things were done I was turned by my companion so that I was face up with my eyes still closed, for I felt it was not yet appropriate (it did not seem possible) to open them or indeed to move myself voluntarily from the appointed position.

The next moment he decided to light a cigarette by resting the matchbox on my chest and striking so the flame ignited close to my heart. An amazing flash of light flooded through my closed eyelids, producing an instantaneous ecstatic response . I inspired sharply with a gasping noise and opened my eyes.

I felt extraordinary, with an almost beatific sense of purity and peace as if a monumentally painful test had somehow been completed without undue sensation.

For some reason I could not help but throw my hands above my head as if compelled to achieve some sort of final designated pose. I did this three times before I noticed then that my companion bore a serious expression and hardly looked at me as he smoked silently.

I let my arms fall outwards into the approximate position they had been in when I was prone face down a moment before. My legs were bent slightly from the knees with my feet together because he was sat at right angles to my body, back against the wall with his own legs pinning mine into place.

I looked him in the eye and smiled in peaceful adoration, with the restful thought in my otherwise clear mind that the purpose of my life had been fulfilled. My head fell onto my left shoulder as I gazed at him.

The realization of what had just happened then struck me with breathtaking force. I saw with shocking clarity that everything had changed – the Leopard was now She, which I  am; the animal was spiritualised – and as this truth dawned upon me a tear fell from each of my eyes. I had been turned inside out; I was born again.

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