The box you hide in, so confining. Corrugated wall on which to draw pictures of all the confusing, conflicting times through which you’ve lived, but never on the outside of the box where others might see. You keep those secrets and I stand out here, knocking to get in. There is no door, nor any windows, but when I prop up a ladder, I find that the top flaps are interleaved to close you in; tension keeping the flaps closed. I pull on the flaps, and you pull back, a tug-of-war, vulnerability and intimacy at stake. I sit, my back propped up on the walls of your box, waiting, and I sing you songs, write small stories, think good thoughts. I’m still here, wishing there were a way in so I could join you, or a way out so you could walk amongst the flowers, flit through fields of butterflies, make windows and doorways in the walls to let in the sun and fresh air.
Small voice, a child, reciting a made up rhyme, about bubbles and a rainbow, and starfish. The room shifts and now it is a large auditorium of empty seats. The hum of a vacuum cleaner left in the aisle. Flip the switch to turn it off. Popcorn crunches underfoot. The lights go down and the movie starts. You’ve seen it before. The room shifts and the seat you took is a window seat on a large plane heading toward the sun, banking right is a slow turn. There are clouds below, but you wonder what is underneath them. A canyon, a river at the bottom of the canyon. Desolate land as far as the eye can see, but you can see further. The room shifts, meeting room, plush office furniture, a hand to shake and a smile to return, a deal done. The room shifts, driving a rental car to a nearby hotel where the rooms all look alike. The room shifts, white walls, equipment beeping out your vital signs, face looking down at you. The room shifts, narrows. A hallway. A light peers out from under the bathroom door. Sounds of a child splashing in the tub. You rest your cheek agains the carpet and close your eyes, listening to the sound of a made up rhyme. Bubble, a rainbow, and starfish.
clicked on a banner ad by mistake, took me to a blank page except for a single white pixel, so I thought I’d so a little digging, highlighted the whole page to check for text the same color as the background but didn’t find any, checked the page source, and this is weird if you know about this sort of thing, and there wasn’t any source either, no linked files, no script, nothing to account for the pixel, which, while I’d been exploring other stuff, had grown to twice its original size, and was still growing, and kept growing until it filled the browser window, and then, this freaked me out completely, the entire screen was absorbed, and then, impossible, the screen itself, and then the air around it, and the room, and I fell into the pixel.
At his last session he tells his counselor that they’ve had something of a breakthrough, that he was watching a show on Netflix, one of those original series with a group of misunderstood misfits and there’s lots of secrets and mystery they have to unravel, when she, his wife that is, not the counselor who happens to be a man, not that that’s relevant, she joins him on the couch and the cuddle without talking to each other, no expectations, no shoes thrown, no recriminations, and when the show is over, she returns to her room for the night, and he to his; to which the counselor asks a series of questions about intentions and interpretations, and the answers are all optimistic and filled with promising progress; all of which is untrue as he, the man seeing the counselor, not the man who is the counselor, doesn’t have a wife; he, the man again, not the counselor man, doesn’t want to disappoint the counselor and so makes up long involved stories to tell the counselor to make him, the counselor this time, feel productive and satisfied in his work.
Honey? I think you should come here. It’s the neighbor. Blister did it again. He eviscerated the cat next door. I don’t know how he got out, but he’s flying around the neighborhood spewing that god-awful flaming bile and people are complaining. Yes, I know the dragon was a gift from your uncle. Yes, I know the shelter won’t take him. Yes, I know it’s a tradition in your family to have a dragon. But still, we’ve got to do something. I think the neighbors are collecting pitchforks and torches. If we don’t do something about Blister, they will.