You Have To Reach For It

by Frank

FirefighterAs he was lying in bed sleep from a long day at work, a dark ominous smoke slipped under his closed bedroom door. This thick cloud slowly traveled from one side of the room to the other, never rising above the height of the bed skirt, until it filled the square footage of the floor. It smelled of burning wood, boiling paint, burnt plastic, and warped metal as it was the smoke of a fire that raged on the first floor of his two story house.

From down the hall the blaring scream of his frightened daughter quickly jarred him from his sleep. When his eyes opened, the room he was in was consumed by darkness. The darkness from the smoke was so severe that he blinked twice to make sure his eyes were opened. The stabbing pains coming from his chest, as his lungs tightened due to a lack of air, distracted him from the absence of visibility. While coughing violently, he reaches over to the side of the bed to wake his wife to notice she is not there.

The scream from down the hall intensified going from a shriek of fear to a piercing continuous scream of pain. The scream in a matter of seconds was muted by the sound of splintering wood. The floor began to crack perpendicular to the direction of his bed. Before he could move an inch, the floor in his room split forcing his side to slope downward towards the lower level. The hole that opened, in his eyes, looked like the doorway to Hell. He could now see the fire that violently raged on the floor beneath him consuming everything in it’s path.

While he was still in it, the bed frame began to slide towards the hole in the floor. Each inch the bed moved forward, the angle of the falling floor sloped further downward, increasing the speed of his decent. At the time when it looked like all hope was lost, just before the bed plummeted 13 feet to the burning kitchen below, the tall bed post at the foot of the bed stopped his forward momentum. The posts were stuck where the floor in his bedroom had splintered forming the shape of a letter t.

Due to the angle that the bed was falling, he grabbed hold to the top of the bed frame. He watched the pillows, comforter, and sheets disappear into the flames, while he held on for his life. The fire was so hot that he could feel the texture of his pajamas changing. His palms were sweaty and he was losing strength due to a lack of air in his body. While he gripped the top of the bed frame with all he had left, the bedroom door on the opposite side of the falling floor swung open.

At the foot of the bed, where the bed posts met the split floor, there was a person with their hand out reaching to him to save him. He couldn’t see their face though the smoke. His eyes were burning and watering due to these unfortunate circumstances. He didn’t know if he could trust that this hand was strong enough to pull him to safety.

All he could hear were the muffled screams of someone yelling at him to take their hand. Loosing more strength, his left hand slips from the top of the bed frame. The blurry individual’s screaming intensifies,

“Take my hand! You have to take my hand!”

With his little remaining strength, he figures he has nothing to lose. He reaches out but his arm barely makes half the distance it needs to travel. He grimaces in pain as the momentum swings him back towards the bed frame and puts more weight on his one arm that maintains it’s grip.

“Try again. I won’t let you fall. Please try again!”

He stretches forth his left arm once again, arms shaking from the exertion of strength, when he loses the grip on his only remaining hand and falls 13 feet into the fire.

When his body hits the floor, the force was so severe that he falls out of the bed being awakened from his nightmare. As the days passed, he told anyone who would listen about his dream. The common question people asked him was the same.

“If you knew the distance was too far for you to make it, why did you reach?”

He thought hard about that question every time it was asked. In his dream it was a matter of life and death and he choose to reach for life. However, he knew that this dream was teaching him something more. He learned that if you want something out of your life, you have to reach for it, no matter how far it may seem. If you never reach for it, you will never obtain it.

What are you reaching for?