There was nothing but the plaster hanging sullenly above my head. Nothing but the birds that warbled their tunes in competition to the wanderings of the wind. It seemed a worthless hobby, no matter how listless, to try with your own melodies to rival the wind. The wind is an entity, yes, but it would shock us all to feel it whisper, as it does, with coherence. If the wind speaks it is the voice of God. If the flowers wave their heads to its voice, they are the puppets of nature. Such were the musings I entertained myself with as I lay uselessly in a clot of cream covers. Such were the strains that flowed without wile from my mind onto the pillow.

     Constant exhaustion had made me a simpleton. It was no longer the fervor of imagination that gripped me in its shaking fist, sent its bewinged creatures buzzing about my head at all times; no longer some vivid color of blue that captivated what attention I could muster apart from my religious ideating. It was the heavy, dripping honey of both exhaustion and sleeplessness that entombed me in its amber hold. I could no more paddle my way up that current, rapid and eddie of conscious thought than I could bear to succumb to anything but involuntary movement- such as ruled my ever and slow-blinking eyes.

     I was a lonely creature, though not one desperate for the drugging consolation of shallow company. I thought I must have been some sort of bear- a hibernating invalid- so stark was the juxtaposition between the outside world and I. There was wind and there was the voice of my brain- wishing it cared, ever wishing it could lift a finger against my current state; meet my sloth at the batwing doored entrance of an ancient saloon, gun it down with nothing but a bullet called dominance. But unfortunately this was not the case. I did not rule my mind. It liked to think that nothing did.

     I found it was a hundred breaths and the sun would wane again. This was something that happened during the day. My shadeless pane of glass would catch the sigh of the sun- a confused, breathy thing- intent on countering, I was sure, some form of the same exhaustion that inflicted me. My tiny attic roost would climb its own sunny stairs, envelope me in a sliver of rusted marmalade, then slink itself back down again, always as if it had been suddenly called by its mother to some altogether distasteful chore. Its mother being the sun, I was certain, as it would never allow it to stay very long. I never cursed this turn of events, however, my aimless thinking comparing it to the visits of a good friend. You do not tug the arm of your guest after they have so considerately called on you, this after they have risen to leave. You thank them for their visit, bask in the residue of their goodwishes, await their return with only tender memories of their last.

     If I was ever hungry, I cannot say. If my stomach growled- the foaming mouth of a rabid dog, I imagined it a deadly opera. A man in a mask plead with me to follow his base down, farther- river rushing down that flight of stairs that could only lead to misery. I would not have it so long as the sun chose to grace me with its face- this, no matter how stern. I would remain a constant in the sky. I was not a feather, no, for Newton would have made certain there was always a decent ready for me had I been, but a cloud. Some gas that existed only in the path of celestial beings. I would dream of nothing but golden-haired children and castles where I made my home.

     My hands stayed by my sides. If they dared venture past the perimeter of my bed, I thought I might have to bid them adieu, for it was true after a time I could not feel my blood travel steady with the ricochet of my heart. I was the mellowed stench of paranoia, feeding like some leech from the immobilized bodies of my fears. I stared for what seemed like hours, my focus unbent from the bloodsiphons of purple, green under my skin that were supposed to carry hints of life. I tensed when I could not find them. My back relaxed itself when I imagined I caught the telltale flutter of unobstructed animation. Calm would set over me then. I had no worry but that my body would sudden and silently expire; leaving my sorry, unused mind to linger still in a world of inactivity. I thought a lot about the theories of reincarnation, then. To wake in the form of an egret, say, seemed altogether the lesser evil when compared with my mournful musings of death and decay. My beak would be the scythe, my downy dress the harbinger rather than the doomed.

     I tried in vain to rouse myself from such contemplations. One may become what he meditates on, I warned myself. The crystal does not tell the truths of the future, so much as those of the reflections that swim on its surface- the noses of hungry koi. The walls were yellow in those days. Yellow roses, yellow daffodils. I knew they did not, but the various shades seemed to swirl uncannily about each other; almost as if they were a great, brooding pile of snakes. There is food for all of you, I thought. No need to smother each other in your quest for it. I shall soon be gone. I shall soon be gone, and then you can have the bed, too. They seemed happy with this development, as they gave me rest for a while.

     This is what the pillow heard, day in, day out for what seemed a year in its entirety. The wind would whistle in tune to my opera; my mind would chase some sense of serenity, running in all the frills of its floor-length nightgown intent on capturing what it believed to be the last piece of its proverbial puzzle. It would, of course, find after a while that what it was chasing was not to be had. Better to cut the pieces into a different picture than spend an eternity lacking. I lay still and there was nothing but the songbird and the wind. Nothing but my aimless thoughts falling back around the bed as they refused to penetrate the sullen plaster of an unforgiving ceiling.

March 06, 2021 20:01

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