Part Three: Why Did You Decide to Move to Argentina?
They send me messages and if I were just a little more perceptive, I would understand. I would understand and everything would be clear. Secret information only a few people know. Because there is something special about me, something different. My feelings are too big for my body and this is how I know.
I see. Faces in shadows, minute sounds and whispers. One for yes. Two for no.
They want me to know something.
I walk the alleys at night, following shadows, seeing the secrets. I feel energy coming out of me. If I concentrate, I can see luminous forms slowly, slowly moving. They beckon and signal. Their messages are indecipherable and I try, try so hard to understand what they mean.
I cross a cat in the alley and it freezes and stares, wide eyed, backs away with a cobra head, hisses, runs for its life. This is confirmation of what I am.
I try an AA meeting. I’m late. I sit in the lobby. The television is on. Johnny Cash has died. Old footage runs. In it, he and June are seated side by side and he wears lace-up boots that reach his knees. Around me, wrinkled alcoholics seek fellowship, but not with me. The greater truth is on the screen.
There is no pain. It’s not pain anymore. It’s a seam in my body that is open, that’s all. I feel it as a sensation, a message, a glowing pulse.
The guys are jamming on the stage at open mic. My head gives me a tune. Gives me words. No hesitation. Uninvited, I am propelled, compelled. The words come from my mouth and into the microphone, out of the speakers and into everyone else’s heads. My voice is a swarm of birds, of bees. They rhyme. They move people. They congratulate me afterwards. The love fills me and I want to give it to the guitar player. His gentle rejection sends me reeling into the night, sobbing, uncontrolled.
There is no pain. These wracking sobs as I walk down the road are years of pain leaving me. Prohibited tears unshed. The sound of whisked fabric, I turn my head and see a shadow long and black, feel its force on my flesh as it darkens the ground around me for just a second, filling me with its energy, a dark presence making itself known to me. Thrilled, I breathe deeply, knowing there is a message I will soon understand.
There is no sleep anymore. I sometimes lie in the dark listening.
Back at my apartment, it’s Screaming for Vengeance on the record player. It’s fall. From my window I look for someone I expect. Juliet’s shadow Romeo. Dry leaves skitter against the ground as I set out to find the message. Someone watching me would see me ambling, stopping to stare for long minutes, sitting on the ground, resuming the walk.
I am doing something wrong. Nothing is being revealed. I’m not patient enough for the greater truth. If there were only a way to prove myself, I could know the secret.
No school. No work. I know I can not show myself this way. One day I intend to go to class and look at the clock. Class started two hours ago.
The knock at the door. I look at the cop. He’s tall. He’s kind. He tells me gently that he just needs to take me to the hospital, not because there is anything wrong with me, but because there are people who are worried about me. All I need to do is to show the people at the hospital that I’m okay. Then I can go back home.
I get in the back of the car in broad, shining daylight and he chats with me all the way there. The hospital drive has new asphalt. The new luminous whites and yellows topping the ground shine and blind in the sun. I am optimistic knowing this time won’t be like the other times. I am okay and they will see that and let me go.
I don’t allow myself to imagine the remembered locked ward upstairs, the empty white walls, the rubber isolation chamber, the glassed off nurses’ station or the long linoleum hallways. This time is different.