When the mind wanders …

When the mind wanders …

I’m about to sit in silence for the majority of this entire day as I read and write and contemplate my life. Why? Because I must. Why? Because, lately, every day I have been having to deal with shit that I’ve never had to deal with before these days.

Everything is new but not necessarily shiny. Everything is different but not necessarily unfamiliar. Everything is challenging but not necessarily overwhelming. Everything is overwhelming but not necessarily unmanageable.

And all at the same time, I must continually remind myself that, “Everything is nothing.” And ultimately, I’m alone in this world.

These American bootstraps are made of rubber.

It’s that great ‘ol American Dream of These United States—individuality—to be able to do and pursue the thing(s), the life(ves) that I want/need/must obtain in order to be and feel fulfilled. And I must achieve all of these things on my own, and if I’m given any help along the way, I should be grateful.  Am I being treated poorly, or am I just being insecure? At eight in the morning, these thoughts cannot be brushed aside.

I know what I’m supposed to do; I know where I’m supposed to go, but the how seems to be the bit about which everyone knows very little. How?, they ask. You do!, they exclaim. But what?, I ask. Whatever you want!, they exclaim again. But how do I figure out what I want?, I ask. Ask yourself what you want to do!, they exclaim. And then do!, they exclaim again. And again, the how is lost.

Nobody wants to hear you.

I hear them say. Over and over I am pummeled by the reality that not only do I not matter, but also, it’s impossible to matter. Who, honestly, matters? You reveal your own importance by creating that importance, but to create one’s own importance reveals a true lack of it (one’s importance).

A sphere being pulled by one hundred thousand tiny suction cups, away from the center, outward, stretching the film of the mind suspended at its core. Pop—the perfect pinging petite pop of a tightly held thing set free—pop, pop, pop, pop, POP. All she wants is to run away. But where will she go and truly be happy? She knows there is nowhere. She knows there is no one. She knows that when all else fades and all else fails, alone she will be when her alive self becomes dead. 

The mind is not a palace it’s a cage. But within the minds of others is where I feel trapped. The perception, the perspective on a perception that all must be … translated.

When the mind wanders, where does it go?

An Assistant & A Lingerer

An Assistant & A Lingerer

“It is not a matter of good versus bad, nor is it a matter of what might be better or best. The issue revolves solely around determining what proves to be the most productive way to not only disseminate but also, to communicate the story.”

“That sounds like a matter of best-ness, ma’am.”

“Assuredly, it is not.”

“Why then am I here at all?”

“Everyone ought to be given a chance, if only one. Do you not agree?”

“I agree.”

“Perfect. Pray tell then how it is that you shared this story with people who have repeatedly shown that they do not deserve to know this story.”

“I didn’t tell anyone. I would never point at that which ought not be pointed.”

“Then who pointed?”

“Ma’am, I promise that I do not know who would do such a thing.”

“I believe you.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“There is one small problem, however.”

“Ma’am?”

“Stop right here.”

“I thought … ”

“Go ahead, look through the window into that room there.”

“ … ”

“Ah, but now you know the problem.”

“ … ”

“Who is that?”

“I … I can’t remember.”

“I believe you.”

“You do?”

“Of course not.”

“Honestly, ma’am, I do not remember.”

“Which is it? You do not remember, or you cannot remember?”

“Please. I … I just … What do you want from me?”

“Nothing, Lingerer. We’ve already discussed how this apparently has nothing to do with you.”

“No?”

“No.”

“Then why am I here?”

“Well, it’s simple really. The story was told, and of course, by now, you must have some small insight into who it is who must have told. No?”

“Yes, I do believe I understand.”

“Good. So, if you do not know that person sitting but a few feet away, then you’ll gladly enter the space to gather a more-rounded sense of his account.”

“Yes. Anything for you ma’am.”

“Excellent.”

“Am I to question him now?”

“Of course.”

“I see.”

“Is there a problem?”

“ … No … ma’am … I … what … What is it exactly am I supposed to ask him?”

“That is why you are here.”

“Understood.”

“One other quick thing, Lingerer.”

“Yes.”

“Be quite quick.”

“But I don’t know what it is that you want.”

“You can imagine what it might be, however, yes?”

A Few Things About Friendship

A Few Things About Friendship

After a year-long global excursion of procrastination, the lifemate and I have settled back into (we’ve been here for about four full months) our home state. Honestly, we’ve sort of been dreading this arrival due to the fact that there are simply too many people to catch up with, reconnect with, etc., etc., &c. Today marks the fourth day of March, and I’ve already had social engagements with people from my past every single month this year, AND April and July and October already contain bookings. I’m not trying to reveal how vibrant or lame my social life is, what I’m trying to reveal is the thing about friendship. Whether or not I am capable of such a feat (writing about the thing about friendship, not the having of friends) still remains unknown, but alas, the day is Wednesday and that means that I must write to this here Report.

The friend I saw yesterday, for Arbitrary Day, is a very old friend, someone I have known since before I was aware that I knew them (for the sake of the triviality of gender), i.e. our families are friends. I have not seen this friend since late 2012, just before my parents moved out of my “hometown” and the summer before I was to leave for Seoul for the next five-to-six years. They are a dear friend, and the strange part is that I was never super close to her when we were young. We shared a lot of the same extracurriculars (even traveling to South Africa for the same opportunity at the same time but being parted into separate groups), and we got along well, but close is not how I would describe us. I do not hold any of their secrets, nor do they hold mine, and yet, we are so very close simply because we share so many frames of reference, and we know a lot of the same people.

And that’s the strange thing about friendship because I also have a very new friend to whom I have grown very close, very quickly, and I feel so much closer to this person than I do the friend I’ve known all my life, and at the same exact time, I know that the old friend can be relied upon in a way that no new friends really can. All of this probably also has something to do with the thing about time, and the thing about time is something about which I basically know nothing. So, there’s that.

And then there was the friend who fit snugly in the middle. I have known this friend for a little over ten years, and we have been through some shit together. This friend, therefore, I realized fell in a category all their own: a person with whom we are close and with whom we are long-term friends. Meaning, our closeness has the same amount to do with how long we’ve known each other and the actual closeness of our relationship in present time.

I was not expecting to learn something like this from a small gathering of friends, old and new, for a small (too big, after one couple cancelled due to illness) dinner. It was awesome to feel all the feels I felt toward the people in my life. I’m both excited and daunted at the prospect of 2020 being an emotionally charged year filled with the re-connection and new connection of old and new souls. I’m already feeling burdened by the task of being a good friend to those with whom I feel especially bonded. But so far, it’s been worth the effort.

A Man … From Earth

A Man … From Earth

“Yea, of course I remember. I remember like it was yesterday. I mean, come on man, it’s not every day that you watch some guy disappear before your eyes.”

“Yes, that’s good, but what do you remember? Exactly?”

“I was just walking down the street, and there was this kid. Well, I guess I’m not sure if he was a kid; it was hard to tell.”

“So, you don’t remember every little detail, now do you?”

“Come on, man. Do you want my help or what? You called me. Remember?”

“Of course. I’m so very sorry. Please continue. Please try to be as detailed as possible.”

“Okay. Thank you. It’s like I was saying. I was just walking down the street, you know, leaving work …”

“Where do you work?”

“At the Q, P&R factory.”

“Where is the factory located?”

“Downtown. The far side of the inlet.”

“Please continue.”

“So, yea. Okay, so, I came out the backdoor of the factory and walked along side the building toward the inlet. I like to walk along the water because, you know, it’s hard to come by and whatnot. So, there I was, and I thought I’d just take a little break and sit or something cause I’m tired and going home didn’t sound all that exciting.”

“Sure.”

“And then, on the Sprouts Bridge, I see this guy just walking along. You know, there’s nothing strange about a guy walking, and it’s not like I’d never seen another guy walking before. So, but then he was looking a little, uh, like concerned, you know?”

“Sure.”

“Like, he was looking all worried and maybe like he was up to no good or like running from someone or something.”

“Yes, okay.”

“So, I started to walk to the bridge to get a better look at him and to see if there was anyone following him.”

“What time of day was this?”

“I mean, I just got off work, so I guess it was like five in the morning or so. I don’t really hang out at work, so it must’ve been like right after five, maybe like five fifteen or so.”

“Was the sun out?”

“Yea, but just barely. I mean, it wasn’t dark, but you know how it is around here. When was the last time you saw a sunny day?”

“Five AM then?”

“Yea, sure.”

“Great. Please, continue.”

“So, I’m walking to the bridge now, and there’s no one around, so I’m just thinking maybe this guy’s just tweakin’ or something. No biggie. But then, when he got to the like the middle of the bridge, he stood and looked over, you know, with that like look, like he’s gonna jump.”

“Sure.”

“So, I’m like, I don’t know what to do, so I just kind of start to walk away. I mean, I don’t really want to get involved with that sort of shit and nonsense.”

“Sure.”

“So, I decide that I’ll just turn around and start walking back home.”

“Sure.”

“But then, everything started to get all bright and like colorful, like I was inside a rainbow or something, you know?”

“No, I don’t know, but please continue.”

“So, I turn around to check on the guy, and he’s like standing there like he’s going to jump and there’s all this swirling rainbow shit nonsense all over the place, and I’m like trying to figure out where all this light and shit’s coming from, but I can’t figure it out.”

“Sure.”

“And then, there’s like this crack, sort of like lightning or something but like louder, and then the guy’s got his arms up to the sky and then everything like turned upside down or something, and then when it all turned right again, I saw the guy. He was looking at me! So, I sort of like waved or something, and then he just vanished. Poof.”

“Have you ever seen anything like this before?”

“What? Are you shitting me, man? Have I ever watched the world like go all crazy and then see a man disappear? No fucking way, man. I mean, have you?”

“What did you do after all of this?”

“Well, I mean, that’s when it gets all foggy. I don’t really remember how I got home, but like later that night, a friend of mine’s all banging on my door cause I’m like late for work and shit.”

“I see.”

“It’s possible, then, that none of this really happened, yes?”

“I mean, it’s possible. I guess. But, man, I know what I saw. Like I saw it all happen with my own two eyes.”

“None of this seems unreasonable to you?”

“What do you mean by unreasonable?”

“You believe what you saw and believe that what you saw is actually possible?”

“Well, I mean, I don’t know about all that and whatnot, but yea, I mean, I know what I saw, and I believe the shit I see. I mean, I saw it all happen.”

“Sure. Perhaps, just imagine for a minute that none of that happened? How are there no other people who saw what you saw that day?”

“I mean, it was early, and the factory’s not exactly in the middle of town. There’s not much else out there, you know?”

“Let’s just say the event did not happen. What would you say then?”

“Uh. I mean. I guess I’d just have to think that I had a crazy-ass dream, you know?”

“You tell other people, many other people, otherwise, however.”

“Yea, I gotta tell everyone who will listen?”

“Why is that?”

“Because it was just so crazy, man!”

“Can you explain the ‘rainbow-effect,’ as you put it, one more time, please?”

“Yea. Like, I was standing there, like watching the guy, and all the sky and world around me looked like all colored but with the wrong colors, like I was looking through a rainbow.”

“Have you ever seen a rainbow?”

“No. No one has, but I know what a rainbow is.”

“Do you know how they form?”

“Yea, it’s like when the sun shines through the rain when it rains, and the light’s all colorful through the water or something, right?”

“Sure.”

“So, yea, it was like that but all over, not just like over there in one stripe like in the pictures, you know?”

“Sure. Then what happened?”

“I told you, man. Everything got all cold and dark again and like the world turned upside down.”

“How is that possible?”

“I don’t know, man. I thought that’s why I’m here. I thought you wanted to hear my story cause you would like explain all this shit to me, you know?”

“Sure.”

“So, like, is that what you’re going to do? Like, I told you what happened, and you’ll tell me what it all means.”

“No one can tell you what anything means.”

“What? What the hell’s that supposed to mean. Why the fuck am I here, then?”

“You’re here because someone heard your story.”

“Yea, everyone, man. I tell everyone.”

“Why?”

“Cause it’s crazy man!”

“It’s unbelievable?”

“No, I believe it.”

“Do other people believe it?”

“Sometimes. But sometimes people just look at me like I’m the crazy one.”

“Are you?”

“No way, man. I’m not crazy. I’m like the opposite of crazy, just all straight-laced, and I go to work, and I pay my bills, and I just don’t do like crazy shit, you know?”

“Sure.”

“So, is there anything else you like need? I feel like I’ve told you everything I know.”

“Yes. You’re doing a great job. Please explain, one more time, the disappearance.”

“Oh, come on man, I’ve told you like ten times already.”

“ … ”

“Ah, fine. He was standing on the bridge, and then there was like this loud crack or something, and then he just disappeared.”

“A loud crack or something? What’s the something?”

“I do not know.”

“Sure.”

“It was like, I don’t know how else to explain it except it was like maybe when something breaks? You know, that sound, like that but really loud.”

“Sure. And then what happened?”

“Goddammit! He. Was. There. And. Then. He. Wasn’t.”

“Yes, but what did it look like? Was it fast or slow or something else?”

“Gah. It was like he was there, and then he was gone. Just, poof!”

“Did the disappearance occur at the same time as the loud ‘crack’?”

“No.”

“Which came first?”

“The loud noise.”

“How does all of this make you feel?”

“Well, right now, it all makes me feel annoyed as shit, cause I’ve like told you this same thing like a hundred times, and you keep asking me the same fucking questions. So, I guess I just don’t know how I feel about all of this. It’s just getting old.”

“No. How did the event make you feel?”

“Oh, I mean; I guess it makes me feel like wow, you know?”

“Sure. Anything else?”

“Well, like, I guess I’m not so sure about whatever it was that happened or something. Like, you’re all making me feel like I’m crazy. But I’m not crazy. I know what I saw!”

“Sure. How does knowing that you saw what you saw make you feel about seeing what it was that you saw?”

“Come on, man. What?”

“If someone else told you this story, what would you think?”

“Oh shit. I mean, yea, I guess I would totally think that person was crazy as shit, you know?”

“Sure.”

“And I don’t know if I’d believe them either, you know?”

“Sure.”

“But I did see it, so I guess now, if someone else said some story to me like this, I’d have to believe them.”

“Great. Come this way.”

About From-Scratch Bread-Making

About From-Scratch Bread-Making

So, I have this internet friend (and I only use this term because we have not seen each other, in person, afk, since … 2007) with whom I’ve been communicating lately, and she’s fun. She’s also incredibly insightful, in that she is my “Meme Queen.” She’s basically the only person whose memes choice really hit me in the face, and I love them. One of the memes she posted a few months ago had something to do with when friends begin bread-making, they’re definitely depressed. Obviously, she devirginized me of this meme, and I lol’d pretty hard until I had myself a good think.

The thing I enjoyed most was that this perception of people who make bread from scratch being about how depressed they are, and I responded by saying that it totally makes sense, because the making of homemade bread requires time, and most people do not have a lot of time, so if you’re unemployed or underemployed, there’s a really good chance you’re feeling underutilized, useless, etc., and this feeling combined with the act of bread making is what made the meme hilarious to me. And honestly, I don’t remember now if it was a meme or just someone’s tweet, and honestly, I don’t really fucking care cause that’s not the point.

Anyway, the point is that I checked myself. I had to contemplate how I felt, how I feel now when I want/decide to make some bread. For instance, this morning, I woke up feeling a bit exhausted (still from the day before, which is a story unto itself but that will not be addressed here, at this time), tired, drained, and overwhelmingly sad. I, personally, would not define these feelings as depressed as I know why I am feeling these feelings, but I also know that I was inspired to make a fresh loaf. It’s 0900 in the morning. There’s something about a fresh-baked, homemade loaf of bread that I know will satisfy me, comfort me on some level, and today, I am feeling the need for that comfort.

So, although, I do not agree that everyone who begins making bread from scratch is depressed, I am thoroughly grateful that this friend brought the perception to my attention. I do not wish to deny my from-scratch-bread-making proclivities so as not to appear depressed; that’s not it. Instead, I am truly grateful that now, every time I make or want to make a loaf of bread, I check-in with myself to see how I am truly feeling. And that is a great gift, a small nugget of a reminder to see how you’re doing.

But … ?

But … ?

So, I have this friend/acquaintance/old-school buddy from my college days, and she posted a strange Story about how she receives phone calls, and on the other end of the line, speaks some male creep who tells her that they’ve been masturbating to her boobs. Of course, I do not imagine that she will find this particular piece, but it is possible, and so, if you are reading this, friend, just know that I don’t really care that you posted; I do really care about the sexual nature of your harassment/abuse, but I just have a few confusions revolving around this circumstance.

Firstly, obviously, where are they finding these pictures of her boobs? Second, who are these guys who have her number and can reach her so easily? Third, why does she pick up the phone for numbers she doesn’t know? Fourth, the phone used in the story was a desk-top, office phone; like, how? Since I did not feel the need or desire to ask her all of these things, which perhaps was the smarter, better action, I messaged by saying, “At least you’ve got great boobs,” to which she replied with zero appreciation for my comment. I’m not upset by this, of course, we are not close; we are internet close, which reminds me of some other Report I need to write up soon with regards to closeness, but that’s not here cause it’s over there.

Nevertheless, I attempted to explain myself, but now I find that I just don’t really care simply because there are too many unanswered questions that cause too much confusion about how I should be feeling about this particular circumstance. Obviously it sucks; obviously it’s terribly terrible; obviously it’s completely unnecessary and clearly makes her feel bad, BUT … so much of our reality is solely based on our perceptions, and to me, a shift in perception, a shift in perspective helps to make the world less terrible. Yea, sure, you can’t live in denial about the shit you’re going through, but you can broaden your view on the shit that happens on the daily and see the larger picture … the broader picture that accepts that there are a lot of creepy men out there, and so, it’d be worse if you were also unattractive. Yea, of course, it’s petty.

My point is not to disregard the shit that my friend’s going through with the creeps who keep calling, but why do they know her number? Why does she answer the phone? Why has she not spoken to anyone who can actually do something about it if it’s been happening at work? My point is to point at the fact that complaining about shit is not doing anything about the shit that’s happening. Complaining is futile. If she was really offended, she wouldn’t be sharing it on her social media as a Story, she’d be doing something to make it stop. Or at the very least, she’d could Story about what she’s doing to make it all go away. Since that is not the position she took, I responded in a much less serious manner … I joked about it, cause to me, social media, especially the Stories feature, is not a serious platform. If she had texted, I would’ve taken the issue seriously and responded seriously.

I suppose I’m writing all of this, now, in my own self-defense because I’m afraid she’s never going to talk to me again. But again, not really the point, and yea, not really anything new. People find me harsh, and I do not disagree. And it’s not so much that I feel bad about this whole situation, the problem is that I think I offended someone over the internet, an internet friend, but I don’t actually know cause she didn’t tell me that I’m an inconsiderate hag; she didn’t communicate anything. Lame. Oh well.

Until the next Petty Report …

 

Entwained

Entwained

Both standing now, the old man stares into the face of the young man who stares into the face of the clock. “She came to you willingly?” the young man finally asks. “It was an accident,” the old man answers. A small revelation falls upon the young man, “You haven’t come here with a message at all.” The old man smiles the largest smile he has ever smiled, “Yes.” “How much time do we have?” “She searches for Mox.” “Mox?” “Yes.” “Why?” “No one knows for sure.” “Jesus fucking christ, man!” “Yes. More or less,” the old man states, and now that he feels entertained, he sits back down at the table. “How did she find you by accident?” the young man, too, sheds his initial contempt and brings the chair back to the table and sits. “That goddamn boy, what’s his name?, Darby?” the old man answers. “That fucking corridor. Shit. Fucking Darby. Who still sends him?” “It was not that kind of scenario.” “What? She just showed up there, too?” “Yes,” the old man whispers, nearly inaudible. The young man feels another small revelation, “The message. Tell me now.” La salle de manger begins to fill with the sounds of meal preparation. The old man leans back in his chair and assumes his resting position, right arm hugging himself while the left elbow rests upon the arm as the left hand strokes his chin. You will be angry, the old man warns.

Understanding this, the young man stands and exits la salle de manger toward the outdoor courtyard. “Fresh air is good for the crazies,” they say, “It helps them feel normal.” Impeccable, the grass and foliage that surround the outdoor grounds of the facility are the responsibility of four full-time employees. Watered by hand, every dawn the four walk the two-acre property and spray the grass and foliage with water from a water-tank-on-wheels setup. Surrounding the entrance to the facility through the front doors rests a large garden full of blooming, brightly colored annuals. Around the facility, large, lush flowering trees grow and provide shade, branches for wooden swings, and the overall sense that this is a place for relaxation. Just outside the wall of large windows that line the fourth wall of the common area and stretches all the way through la salle de manger, another, larger garden of muted, flowering perennials require constant tending. Beyond the trees that line the facility and the expanse of flowering gardens, a reflective fountain sculpted of a luminous metal settles itself between a rockway and the stretches of velvety green grass that reach all the way down and around to a small stream. Fearing the innate danger of running water near a place where, often times, sufferers come to avoid that self-inflicted permanent rest, the landscape designers opted for a wide, shallow mirror of water. For the stream as well, a wide, shallow trickle makes its way through the outdoor grounds of the facility, where its source begins beyond the fence of the property and pools much farther down, almost a mile away from the facility’s entrance gate. In general, the outdoor area creates the semblance of calm, the serenity against which the profound nature of the sufferer’s suffering becomes obvious. Few sufferers ever venture out into the outdoor area, and most believe this lack of appreciation is mostly due to the overwhelming beauty of the landscape’s design. This, arguably, is the failure of the landscape designer who, sadly, refused to understand what a sufferer may want as opposed to whatever it was that the landscape designer decided a sufferer needs.

Beyond the flowering gardens, upon the rockway, the two men assemble. “Speak your piece,” the young man demands. The old man feels surprised at the hesitancy he feels in hurting this young man. The young man feels the old man’s hesitation. The old man pushes the feelings from his mind for there are greater risks in sparing the young man’s feelings. “Of course my feelings don’t matter,” the young man states. The old man looks at him, and with no feeling finally delivers his message, “She does not remember.” “She doesn’t remember what?” the young man asks a little disappointed, lacking the enormity of the old man’s words. The young man continues, “She wasn’t supposed to remember.” “You fail to understand. She does not remember anything,” the old man clarifies, and reiterates, “If you had seen her, you would’ve known, and I wouldn’t be here.” “But this message was not the motivation behind your visit today,” the young man begins to grasp. “Yes, as you realized a few moments ago,” the old man responds. “I won’t,” the young man asserts. The old man sighs as if knowing that the young man would resist so resolutely, “Then your words mean nothing, and if I see her again, I will keep her hidden no longer and will reveal her to the one you refuse to see on my behalf.” “You motherfucking shithead,” the young man retorts the futility, the disdain rising up yet again. “Yes, but no matter what I may seem to you, the truth still remains. Then, what will become of you?” the old man responds, confident, almost wishing for the defiance of the young man.

The young man thinks for a minute, caring no longer about what the old man might hear. “She will not be difficult to find because she does not know that she needs to remain hidden,” the old man answers. The young man closes his eyes to see if he can see her. The old man answers again, “Yes, but we now know the consequences of you playing savior.” The young man, eyes still closed, rapidly fires through thoughts about the answer he needs, now. The old man listens very carefully as the young man filters through the options. Finally, the young man opens his eyes and looks directly at the old man who, unflinchingly, looks directly, deeply back into the young man’s eyes. The old man decides, in that moment to help, “Yes.” Knowingly, the young man asks the question, “What happened when this happened to you two.” The old man, being who he is, answers with a question as he gestures to his own bodily self, “Have you ever known yourself at this age?” Confused, the young man responds, “Of course not.” “Exactly,” the old man speaks with congratulations, and then continues, “How is it that you think I’ve come to be this old?” The young man mulls over a few options, then finally concludes, “You both wanted to stay.” “Wanted? No.” The young man thinks for another second; he feels a horrible, sick feeling in his gut and whispers, “No. You couldn’t leave? But that’s …” “Fully possible,” the old man interrupts. “But that means you must be …” the young man attempts to guess. “You will lose your mind and your stay here in this facility will be compulsory rather than arbitrary if I tell you the truth,” the old man warns with his left hand, palm toward the young man, raised as if to stop the young man’s wonderings. “So, you’re here to save us?” the young man wisecracks, and then realizes, “You’re here to save yourself.” “The situation could unfold in a beneficial way for both of us,” the old man consoles. “Fuck you,” the young man spits. “Unfortunately,” the old man begins, “your fate sealed itself the moment she showed up at my house. My fate, fortunately, has shifted, and now, I have only opportunity. You have only to experience permanent absence.” Defiant, the young man squints, “Is that a promise?” “It is my guarantee,” the old man states as he leans in toward the young man for emphasis. “Unless I do your bidding,” the young man reasons. The old man smiles, “Yes.” “Fuck.”

The analyst  pokes her head out of the entrance/exit door of la salle de manger, into the outdoor area, “Hey you two. How’s it going? It’s dinner time. Would your visitor like to join you for dinner? It’s been quite the visit, if I may say so myself.” “Thank you kindly for the offer,” the old man begins, “but I should probably be off and leave this poor kid to his own devices. A day spent with an old man can oftentimes be strenuous and unpleasant.” “Well there’s plenty of food and space for you if you change your mind …” the analyst pauses again to allow the old man to interject his name. “It’s fine. Remember? It doesn’t matter,” the old man responds comically patronizing while commenting to the young man, The idiocy that is the Fear of Rudeness. I really do not know how you tolerate this. “You must be hungry. You didn’t eat any of the lunch the chef saved for you,” the analyst suggests at the young man. “Yes, I’ll eat in a minute. Thanks,” the young man responds genially. “Alright then. Please come visit again anytime!” the analyst offers the old man. “Oh, yes. I will be back,” the old man smiles disingenuously. The young man rolls his eyes at the old man and stares him down for a moment while the analyst excuses herself.

“I do not wish to return here,” the old man finally speaks. “I do not wish to visit the older woman,” the young man mocks by imitating the old man’s tone. “Such is the unfairness of life,” the old man explains. “Gah the gaul,” the young man begins, but just before he can spell out his rant the old man separates the young man’s thoughts from his words, “You know nothing.” “Take your leave. I will not do your bidding,” the young man decides. “Do not be an imbecile. I have already sent someone your way. Do not leave this place until you encounter him,” the old man instructs. “It should only be a few days,” the old man continues. “And what should I do until then?” the young man pouts like an infant. “Do what you already do here every day … nothing,” the old man punctuates. Still feeling defiant, the young man touts, “I make no promises.” “Yes, but I do,” the old man whispers, and as he moves to see himself through the doorway into la salle de manger so that he may check out at the registration desk at the entrance to the facility, the old man stops with the door hanging in his hand, turns to the young man and evokes a whirlwind of disaster, and just as the young man waves off the disruption the voice of the old man lingers within the back of the young man’s now burning hot right ear, Wake up! Profusely sweating again, he sits up straight in his bed, curls in agony and vomits on the floor in front of his nightstand.

He reaches out to the control panel to call for clean up. Someone, a male—since there are males, females and the like who clean the facility, specifically of hazardous materials and bodily fluids, males are sent to clean the personal spaces of male sufferers, females are sent to clean the personal spaces of female sufferers, etc.—who goes by the name “Kace,” which he reads off the front of “Kace’s” cleaning smock, comes up to clean his personal space of his bodily fluids. The task seems to him to last forever, but the efficiency of the cleaning staff results in the clean up taking less than two minutes. Nevertheless, he is alone.

Alone, again, appeased, he thinks to himself, but this time, not lonely. Before this day had come to an end, he remembered the lonesome feelings with which he was constantly bombarded simply because of the “lack” of the person upon whom his own existentialism rests. He lies naked on his bed, staring at the celestial design of the wallpaper. The one wish that penetrates his mind revolves around being alone. Being inextricably tied to another definitely has its problems, burdens, sufferings, and so, he wonders, all too often these days, what life must be like when all of the responsibility placed on a being who depends upon another falls away, disintegrates into the nothingness of meaning nothing to everyone and everything to no one. Those are the truly crazy people, he thinks to himself as he recalls the supposedly sad stories of all those unloved women, rejected men, the trite romance of needing a witness to their lives so that their lives hold meaning. No one ever thinks about what it means or what it must be like to be forever tied, forever joined, forever involved with just one other being. Of course, he knows he cannot live without her, and the mere thought of her makes him weep deep down in his soul, so deep in fact, that he usually ends up vomiting or shitting himself senseless, drawn into a deep sleep where he may see her but he cannot see her nor feel her. The endless betrayal of finding that person who, quite literally, fulfills you. Betrayal, he thinks, is not the right word. He longs to see her. He aches to feel her. The forgetting was a known effect. The forgetting was temporary. The forgetting was … was … necessary. He cannot bear to think of her any longer. All he wants is to be alone.

He relives the day that unfolded the day before. In an attempt to catch the minutiae of the old man’s words, movements, tells. The old man knows the secret. The old man holds the answer. Mother. Fucker. A slight, calm, gentle ring interrupts his thoughts as his control board dings to call his attention to a notification. The small screen blinks forth a message: “Breakfast will be served in five minutes.” He rolls over and decides that he will not eat fucking breakfast. Someone shouts up to him from the base of his ladder, “Are you dressed?” “No.” “You cannot skip more than two meals in a row without consequence.” “What is the consequence?” “ … “ “Exactly. Go away please,” he whines. “We’ve received a call for a visitor who has requested to be named on your Approved Visitors list.” He sits up, mildly curious but knowing of whom this someone speaks, “And?” “Don’t you want to know who it is before we approve him?” “I didn’t know last time.” “Very well then.” “Tell the chef that I only want the meats today.” “Tell him yourself,” the someone cajoles as he walks away, toward la salle de manger. Fuck. He looks to his control board and taps out a short message, “Chef, just meats please. Thnx.” With a deep breath, he lies back down on his bed, closes his eyes. Another slight, calm, gentle ring dings from the control panel. His body flails around the bed like a toddler. He reaches the control panel, “Fuck you, man. No more special requests until you show up for ten meals in a row, on time. The Lady Doc’s orders.” Shitfuck. A response of any nature he deems irrelevant and unnecessary. No breakfast it is then.

Where are you? he thinks as he clears his mind of every, single, tiny, little thing. He feels warm. He feels excited. His sleeping quarters turn a violent green. He knows that she, on some level, tries to find him. A stroke of warm sunlight. He blinks as he raises a hand to shield himself from the rays. The world is flat; it is indeed, and everything within it lacks depth.