6 months ago

Comfortable Madness First PDF 4-13-18

Laps Walls the color of

Laps Walls the color of eggshells hemmed me in. Every room had a wooden door, thick, no locks. The only locks were on the nurses’ station and the door to the real world. In my room, a window took up most of a wall. It refused to open, but you could see the west hills, bristled with evergreens. Lights from too many houses glowed there at night. The only thing I could do was walk. Seventeen laps made a mile. I walked three, maybe four miles a day. My staff walked with me. Selma was a short, bulgy woman. Old. Curly white hair. She used a walker, but she never asked to sit down. She walked with me and we talked. “How’re things?” she asked. I shrugged. “You seem a little worried,” she said. Again, I shrugged. Selma knew things. She said things. She knew how to get into my head and ferret things out. Gid walked with us, an eggplant smear. He whispered things. His fingers stroked the knobs of my spine. Nausea and pain played tug of war. “She doesn’t believe,” Gid said. “You’re awfully pale,” Selma said. Gid put his hand in the center of my chest. My sternum iced over. I stopped. Selma wheezed to my side. “You okay?” she asked. Gid stood with us, blurred and gray. His fingers were hard and strong. I remembered the feel of his broad chest, his rigid thighs. “She knows nothing,” he said. “Don’t.” “Butter?” Selma asked. “Never mind.”

At the corner, I sat in a hard chair. “She can’t help,” Gid said. I shuddered and put my forehead against my knees and tried to breathe. I wanted to puke. I wanted a cigarette. Selma watched me. It was hard to breathe. My feet and fingers tingled. Out of nowhere, blood flowed from the walls and windows. People cried gory tears. Fire raced through the nerves and bones. Gid stroked my hair. I batted at him but he only laughed. “They know nothing about love,” he said. He kissed my chin and he kissed my nose. He kissed my forehead and my knuckles. “You’re so sweet,” he said. “Don’t,” I said. “You can’t be here.” “Because they can’t see me?” “You’re hurting me,” I said. “Pain cleans the soul.”