[ This content was written by myself, based off some of my own experiences. Please ignore spelling and grammar issues. Names have been modified for my personal security. ]
It has been several months - no, rather years that I have worked off of nothing. Only a few months ago I truly understood what it meant to have nothing, be forced to make something out of that nothing, and with that something be able to live.
Live is a strong word, like life. Survival, is more fitting for the situation. It would be a case of survival, to start. Once you survive, you may live.
I live in a green area, with trees, vegetation, and several creatures who like to hunt down whatever I put down for their own benefit. I've never had a problem with securing myself from the snakes and rabbits who deemed it appropriate to find warmth in other's homes. Never had a problem with them eating at my garden with thick two meter high metal gates around them. Never once in my life. I've always had it good. Comfortable. It lead me to believe, this security, what it was like for people who didn't have it. Who didn't get to have their full wooden and insulated housing, their cooled food fresh at their metal containers of fresh breeze and automatic ice making. They probably would never have that. It was how it was.
One day, that could be me. I could live with nothing.
It was another middle year when I came to realize, truly what I had. A fire, blazing and bursting hot puffs of black smoke. I remember legs, screaming, and frantic water spraying across the walls. I couldn't remember if it was cold or hot, but something continued to scream and tear at my clothes. Eating me alive. More screams. More legs, stumbling and running. The smoke filled my lungs as I stumbled in the dark cloud of heat and pure torture. I thought I was going to die, but then something broke, and I found myself crashed into the somehow still dew cooled grass, rolling wildly to keep myself from suffering more burns than I already encountered.
Everything after that was a blur. There was hospitals, lawyers. People coming in, saying words. Meaningless words that meant nothing to me. There was empty sadness, tears for our fallen pets. All that remained was a filthy stack of old model cars that survived behind a shield of glass and metal casing. I've always hated them. Hated the color, hating how they sat in the room, taking up space. I couldn't do anything about it. It wasn't mine, it wasn't supposed to bother me. More words.
After nearly a month of these words, hospital visits, and screaming at each other, I, the quiet one in the family figured that I was lucky. I had a glorious place to live in, clothes that fit comfortably on my body, and foot fresh at my fingertips, cool air, chores that meant I had something to clean. Toys to pick up, because I had then. Even then, I was lucky, sleeping on a cold floor in a cheap apartment with just a blanket. We ate beans, usually, and sometimes mixed it with rice if it was a good day.
Several years passed. I got a job, somehow, and moved out into my own apartment in an even greener area. Cold, wet, and clean. I managed to wrap my hands around a small house pointing back to the wilderness after some time, and from there, I worked. I slept. I ate, walked, and lived. I had things that fit me, things to pick up, and chores to do.
My family tried to forget the accident. Call it a fresh start. I know they were still in pain from everything they lost. I would be too, if I worked that hard and saved so much so I could live so, so comfortably.
I don't know why, but soon I became alone. Isolated. Working a job that paid the bills, and never talking to anybody. I thought a lot, read a lot, and soon, within the thinking and reading, I bought my own land. I didn't intend to make anything special with it, but I had it.
Nothing. That's what I thought I once had when the fire came. The words exploded about from blabbering mouths, words I didn't understand or care about. I thought about that as my legs walked past the thick bushes and through the thorns of animal's homes and wild nature. Finally, I found it. There were two trees in the way of what I wanted, which was a small clearing, and that was fine. Instead of running to the store and bankrupting myself of money, I did something I thought I'd never do again since the day I turned nine. I sat down and played with the dirt.
I visited the soon-to-be-clearing several times, building up my thoughts of having nothing, and finding myself more and more enjoying the thought of being completely alone. Like a hermit. Like Yoda, when he rid away. He was my motivation to keep from building some fancy mansion in the woods. I didn't even like big houses. I never did.
Finally the feeling dawned upon me, and I took action without very much knowing what I was doing. I walked, prodded things with a long stick I found, and slowly gathered small bits of vegetation I could find. A bunch of wild yams, some strange tree beans, and a small, nearly dead raspberry bush. I grabbed them all, making small trips, hurting my hands and getting dirt in my fingernails, until it was all in front of my two trees, re-planted and made warm with various dried leaves.
I felt pride. I made a small garden, something I hadn't done in years, and this time, I didn't need help. I didn't need tools, special dirt, or even gloves, though I wished I had some at the time. A week had passed, work, and several visits to my garden. The yams were looking fine, the beans didn't grow in the ground yet, and the raspberries were completely dead. My hope was dwindling. Still, I found myself continuing the visits, trying to make things work. It took me three months to spread small yams, big yams, and medium yams into a larger farm after several more searches in the area. The raspberries unfortunately died off and the plant laid as a single, dried up root, and my beans were now lost somewhere in the dirt.
I obviously had a lot of free time. Work was simple, and I had days off where I could do anything I wanted. Money went toward a new car, and occasionally a book or a game, and I went on the computer when not reading or outside. Mostly.
I finally cut the lazy attitude from the two tree area, which I was thinking was a good name for it, and without much thinking, I began to gather wood. Soft wood, leaves, dried moss, and lots and lots of wood. After I found a few stones to put down as a fire pit, I tried to twist and turn the sticks into each other like they did in the survival shows. It always made fire, but they were trained. They were professionals, and I was there, hitting sticks together and expecting sparks.
I gave up. For two days, I simply did not want to try again, but after some light research and some troubling thoughts, I came back to the two tree and I worked on the object for hours and hours on end. It was nearly a hour til dark when it finally happened. I dug the stick worn deep enough, and cut it so well that the light burn-y stuff fell down onto the dried random I put under it. I had sparks. I had warm, hot little dots.
In worry of losing it, I immediately brought my face close to the ground and blew on it with gentle and hesitant breaths. To my surprise, it nearly burst into a hot smoke. I quickly piled small twigs around it. In surprise all the while, I ended up building the fire more and more massive in my rock pile, and stayed there until my back became too cool. I watched the fire dwindle off before using nature's watery waste from my body to put it out, then I went back home, pride in my chest and worn arms to recover.
I was beginning my first step into survival.