Monday, August 11, 2008

Seconds Without Memory

She wakes from her slumber in a bed of soft synthetic fabric. Like an enveloping cloud, she wakes without thoughts. Location, existence, reasons…they are words without answers. Letters without meaning or a hint of worry. There are no words for bed, no syllables for shelter, no letters strung in a line that reveal the meaning of sleep. She wakes blank and clear, a silent moment of utter stillness. Like the suspended silence that surrounds a tightrope walker, she hangs in absolute nothingness. The clear light of the void is all around, and she feels its softness, its utter lack of sound and movement. The quiet around her is present in every muscle, consuming every cell, enveloping her body like blankets made of vapors.
Then it all comes back, like a flood of anxiety and thoughts, a panic rush of anger and disgruntled memories. Oh yes…I remember the reasons to be mad. I remember everything that is wrong, all the tiny incidents I consider problems…it’s all thick and heavy. There are concrete shapes and form, vivid colors and tangible smells…everything is reduced to its simplest form. There is no battle, the worries take over without a word in protest. They wrap like thick vines around her limbs, nearly suffocating her with their invisible grasp…she nearly forgets there was another way.
The next night she sleeps, she goes to bed a little sad, yet content to close her eyes and drift quietly to the netherworlds. She dreams of mountains, made of rocky sand-colored cliffs that jut from the land. She sees a long vertical flag waving from a resting point high upon the mountain. Wind battered and sun drenched, the torn sides move like tiny red tentacles attached to one greater and more powerful. She dreams of cozy wooden rooms stocked with quilted blankets and a fat raccoon that has burrowed itself in the floorboards among the birds nests that also hide below ground. Her mother introduces her to a self-described healer- the person who may be able to cure her of the raccoon that lumbers through the hallways at night. On the massage table, she remembers she shouldn’t be touched. None other than her master may lay a finger upon her, she remembers, and she watches the reaction of her new-found raccoon healer to these news.
And the girl wakes. It’s dark, only the sound of the leaking faucet calls out in the night. The heater has long since stopped working, and all the pigeons are burrowed somewhere until dawn. She opens her eyes to the darkness, her heart is open in the stillness of pre-dawn. She lays, without words or thoughts, only the mutating shapes of her dreams linger, and even those are quietly evaporating like silver dust on the heavy breath of an approaching monsoon. Her mind is still, for the first time in hours, there is nothing moving, nothing thinking…and then the gates suddenly spring open and she remembers.

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