[Featurama] Why I’m thankful for Journey
I found myself in a wasteland. Sand everywhere, and nothing in sight except for the dunes below my feet and a tall, glowing structure far beyond the obstacles I was set to travel. As I kept trudging, floating along, I saw a figure dressed in white. Adorned with a scarf as long as the wind’s strides, this journeyer was a friend. We walked together, but in my state I’d still not known why I was walking towards this structure or who this journeyer truly was. All I knew was that we were somehow connected, not by anything except a similarity in location, and our one aspiration; to keep going.
Most of my memories as a child come from watching the old tapes my parents would capture around the holidays. I’d see a small me, the curly, bleach-blond haired little boy running around in the back. I wasn’t in search of anything, truly. Just discovering. My brother would make a big pile of leaves, the biggest I’d ever seen. I look in wonder, thinking of how deep it could truly be. I’d ask myself, “What could be in there?” Hesitant, my brother swoops me up, and tosses me right in. Initial fear wore off as I rolled around in the dry leaves, crisping like potato chips underneath my overall jeans and winter coat, having the time of my life. My brother tossed himself in, putting on an example of fearlessness. When I stared in wonder, he jumped before he was able to.
The sand dunes continued. As I watched my white-robed friend, I could tell he was much more familiar with this land than I had been. He helped me navigate through every open plain, and knew the exact whereabouts of each hieroglyph, assisting me in extending my scarf to lengths I’d not imagined possible. He’d call out to me when I put myself in danger, and I would heed his warnings. It was not because I felt obligated, or that it was my responsibility to listen to the journeyer; he was my only hope, and seemed much more experienced. He was my inspiration.
Growing up, I was always significantly younger than my brother, he being ten years old when I was brought to life. I never really thought twice about it, being as young as I was. I would learn of new words that I’d not heard before, and my brother would say, “Go ask Mom!” After being told to never use those words again, I’d return excited about my new exclusive vocabulary, not for use other than in my forming mind. On late nights we would watch the oft-forbidden MTV to see new episodes of Celebrity Death Match, a show certainly not suited for a young child as I was. Did I really understand what I was watching? No. I just knew that he knew what was right. He was a figure in life that I could learn from. I sought to him for guidance.
As danger lingered around every corner, it became increasingly difficult to stay in communication with my companion. Every whistle I would let out was distant and faint, too faint to be heard. I knew he was still there. I could feel his presence, and would occasionally spot him ahead. When he could, he would still show me the way, and help find the hieroglyphs. But still, I prevailed, as did they.
As times went on, my brother was seldom here. When I was on my way in from school, my brother would be on his way out to have a good time with his friends. Weekends would be slept through, and his presence was a rarity. Even if he was seldom there, I know he was there with me, no matter what. I could feel his presence. Each day was a new adventure with my brother, and the frequency of his absence only grew. Night after night he would stumble in at wild hours, not knowing which bedroom was his, or how to properly walk himself up the stairs. He was not the brother I had remembered. He had changed. But he was still there. Even if his disease brought out the worst in him, and lingered every hour of every day for nearly ten years, he was still there. He was my brother.
He was still my companion. Distance, winds, and inclement weather had not stopped us, and our goal was just in reach. We walked slowly up the mountain, trudging through snow as high as us. I cried out, but my efforts became futile. Energy draining. Winds encumbered me. We were both slowly making our way to the light. But then, we were lifted.
Transcendence is defined as exceeding the usual limits. His usual limits had become his disease. Every day for nearly ten years, maybe more, was a cycle of destroying himself before everyone’s eyes. We all watched as he destroyed himself, and he began to watch himself. He was not a part of his own body anymore, but watching from the outside as his demons took control. One night, at the lowest point I’d seen him, we sat together on the couch. “I want the real me back,” he cried. Tears in my eyes, I expressed to him, “we all want you back.” It wasn’t until a late-night call from a hospital bed, police officer on his side, and a vehicle that could no longer be used, that his transcendence truly began.
Lifted to the clouds, I appeared alone. Wonder bemused me, and I found myself right where I started; alone, deserted, and seeking my goal. I had no choice but to press on, with my companion or not. As I pressed on, my wandering eyes still feverishly searched for my friend in white. Lo and behold, I saw a white scarf, as long as the wind’s strides flying at a near distance. At last we were reconnected, and continued on to our final goal. Through our transcendence, we both reached our goal, together. With his feet he left a small heart, tracked gently in the snow, and that concluded what was my most incredible experience in gaming.
Seeing my brother transform from a desperate man stuck in a body plagued with disease that only he could conquer into someone who lives every day as though it were his last has been my most inspiring, and proudest moment in life. Recovering from something so challenging is no easy task, but he did it. While inspiration may have seemed to be an ill-advised trait for my brother, I drew inspiration in a sense of how to right the wrongs he may have made. Nobody is perfect, and my brother is a clear example. But he’s also one of the best people I know, and to see how the choices he made affected him, I used them as tools for bettering myself. We may be separated by clouds that give an illusion of absence, but if you know in your heart that what you had in the beginning truly exists, you will ascend above the clouds. You’ll see that familiar white scarf.