I'm standing in the middle of a room. On all sides, the walls retreat into the shadows, the ripples of the cloth curtains the only form the darkness takes. In the middle of the room is a mahogany desk, with a granite inlay. The only light comes in a vertical shaft from somewhere far above, the dust particles swirling through it the only movement in the hall.
Then I'm sitting facing the desk, in a small plastic chair, and behind the desk appears a man dressed as if he had been working for a very long time, and was extremely weary. His tie is loosened at the neck, and his collar is open. His hair looks as though it was once immaculate, though now the strands rebel against their once perfect placement. He looks down at his hands for what seems like an eternity.
Finally, he clears his throat and looks up. There are dark circles beneath his eyes, and his face looks years older than it possibly could be. There is an ageless quality to his look, but it only serves to make the wrinkles which adorn his brow all the more oppressive. He is not a handsome man. After a brief moment, he reaches into one of the cavernous drawers of the mahogany behemoth and removes a powder blue file, which he places on the desk but does not open.
He begins to speak, but the sound never comes except as a peripheral awareness, as if we were under water. I cannot hear what he is saying, but suddenly I am responding, the answer coaxed out by the magnitude of his presence, and again, there is the knowledge of sound but not the sense of it. I cannot understand what he is saying, nor even what I am, and it is as if I am watching the exchange from within my own head though not with control of my own body. Suddenly, like ice cystals forming, the sensation of panic begins to well up inside of me. I feel claustrophobic and I know that something is happening which I want, I need, to stop. I try to speak, but I have no voice, no control. I am a passive observer to my own experience.
Then the panic begins to curdle and turn quickly to defeat. The speaking ceases, and the man behind the desk opens the file, adds a few notes, and places it haphazardly back inside a concealed compartment of the desk. For just a brief second it feels as if a constriction around my mind is released, and I hear the final words he speaks: "Until that day."
I grope to ask something, to say something, and then my eyes open and I am staring into an intense light with the pulsing scream of an EKG throbbing in time with the pounding in my head, and a surgeon standing over me.
And then I wake up.
cranked out at 2:56 AM | |
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