I am paralyzed with fear. Fear of being found out. Fear of being discovered. I try to think but nothing is there. I can hear the familiar soundtrack in the background. I try to think, but it seems someone has turned the volume up. I’m swimming in sounds, confused where it’s coming from. My body is stiff. I’m aware that my hand has gone numb and I do nothing about it. I’m frozen in time, yet the time is not now. I ask myself if I am sleep walking. Am I alive and operating in this world? Am I at dinner with my family and I’ve slipped into a catatonic state? I’m in a different dimension, yet my body remains. I come to. I’m just here in bed. Or, at least, my body is. No one is talking to me. But what about all that noise? I stare at the door and I pray no one walks through it. I turn away and pretend to sleep. I slump over my bowl of soup, or is this cereal? Scoop, insert, repeat. I notice there’s nothing left. I consider getting some more, but I can’t remember what of. It’s a journey just to set the bowl down in a safe place. Is that right? Anything could happen now. A person could pop through my phone. I put it on airplane mode. I could drown in the leftover milk. I scoot it further away from me. I could never wake up. Am I dead already? Someone could be watching me. No, I’m certain someone is watching me.
This is the most lonely place I’ve ever been to. One where my only companions are my memories and I’m terrified to make human contact. Judgment day is upon me and I have definitely entered into the dark night of the soul. Nothing is familiar except for everything. I reach back for support and I find a thread-bare net. That which was once strong and thick, now can’t hold my weight. I slip through its holding place and I land with a thud. I turn on the flashlight in my hand. The surroundings remind me of a shed. It’s a mismanaged shed, to say the least. Tools everywhere without application. New and unused, but missing their manuals. I search through the mounds, seeking the tool that will set me free. My first thought is to go out the way I came in: through the roof. I find many things that could serve me, but without knowledge of their use, I pass them by without recognition. I’m looking for something easy to use and wildly effective. I come up empty-handed. I change my course of action. Instead of going up and out, I’ll go down and out. Of course, continue in the previous direction of travel. I consider digging a tunnel. I pull up a board to discover soil. It is cool. It smells of death. It invites me in with some very soft and supple scoops of earth. I’m beginning to think this is the best option: down.
I wake up and I am covered in dirt. I see a mess of tools around me. I can see them now. My eyes trace a line of light to a crack in the horizon of my sight. I step towards it, stumble over something. I run my hands along the golden seam. I see particles of life, new and old, floating in the space that my hand just passed. I press on the doors. They give in slightly and return back. They didn’t open. Maybe they aren’t doors at all. For a moment, I resolve to return to my digging. I am grateful for this new light to show me the way. But then, I remember that these potential doors might be sliders. I wiggle my fingers into the light, one hand above the other. I breath in the warm air entering this shed through the crack. I exhale deeply and pull my hands away from each other.
The whole of my body is embraced by the heat of the sun. I fear I might burn alive. I hesitate before crossing the threshold of shed to world. My feet, first right, then left, step upon the earth. Parched earth, dry grass, crispy leaves. I fall to my knees and I weep.