There’s always that one moment in your life when you feel at peace, like everything in the world is suddenly right. Then, imagine that moment being completely shattered when you suddenly collapse onto the ground feeling so much pain that you can’t even pinpoint where it’s coming from. You black out a while after, and right before you lose your consciousness, you feel immense relief that you wouldn’t have to feel the pain any longer.

That’s what happened to me on my seventh birthday.

I had been standing at the riverbank, watching the water sparkle with the setting sun, and the grass glowing gold, swaying with the wind. That was the moment when I felt complete serenity, as if I were one with the universe. Then, I felt a small prick in the back of my mind, and suddenly that small prick exploded into a supernova of pain rushing through me. I dropped to the ground, writhing. I couldn’t tell if my eyes were closed or not, but all I saw was darkness. I’m dying, I thought. The world had given me a last chance to feel happiness before dropping me into the depths of the underworld. I couldn’t help but feel relief when I felt myself losing consciousness, fading away from everything around me.