I took a deep ragged breath, inflaming the jagged fractures of my ribs. My eyes felt sticky and irritated as I opened them. The world was turned the wrong way. I was laying on my side.
My face felt warm on one side, and cool on the opposite. The cool side was slick with gutter slime and running waste water. The warm side was cooking in the sun. The picture in my right eye was blurry, and the socket was swollen.
The gutter slime oozed and dripped down the neck of my shirt as I righted the world. My fractured side was tender and painful with each movement or breath. My memory didn’t quite recall what put me into this gutter.
But I had been here before. I had woken up with this searing pain in my chest and throbbing skull before.
And I had gotten up, before.
And got onto the sidewalk, before.
And kicked the muck from my boots, before.
And stumbled forward, dizzy with pain, before.
And walked on.
And though history tells me that the beatings will continue,
I intend to persevere.
I am not defeated.