A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice

Message: session_start(): Server 216.70.100.53 (tcp 11211) failed with: Connection refused (111)

Filename: cowbird/session_helper.php

Line Number: 18

basement stories by Yen Ha
 

Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • A friend, a new acquaintance really,
    took me,
    because I asked,
    to a basement in the city.

    In this basement were a group of people with whom I had nothing in common. I, me, of the perfectly normal childhood, the hale and happy life, the undramatic existence, was sitting in a room filled with people who had fallen into the abyss and were trying to make their way out.

    All the stories were the same.
    Every single person had
    fallen
    into a deep dark hole
    and the only person who could help them
    out
    was someone who had also once
    fallen
    into that deep dark hole.

    I sat in a basement of fluorescent lights
    listening to people tell their stories,
    here
    32 days
    (lots of clapping)
    here
    24 years
    (more cheering)
    (peaceful nods)
    7 years
    (and still counting)
    2 weeks
    (bravo)
    4 months
    (you go girl)

    There are basements like this all over the city, my friend tells me. He says at any time, any hour, you can find a place like this. A place where your pain can be shared, your story listened to with the unique compassion of a fellow sufferer.

    My life has never known abysses from which there is hardly any return, I have never experienced a hole from which I could not climb out. I have never known that there are stories being told in hidden basements all over the city. But I am not entirely surprised that our city shelters these tales told about the depths of despair, where recovery is counted in days.
    • Share

    Connected stories:

About

Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.