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selections from the imaginary kaleidescope, part 2

I

What are you now? Not anyone’s. Only your own. And what does that mean in the end? What does it mean if you are without owner? If an animal, a stray. Those who have no owner are gathered up and taken away, awaiting adoption or death.


II

Everything was different for Alice in this new place. The faces, the tempo, the course of her day. Different was good and bad. She did not have much time for anything and after a couple of weeks, the sight of her own painting propped up against the wall of what was supposed to be her studio was depressing. Who had time to paint?

On the other hand, the featureless white of her walls was also a little depressing. When she had moved her meagre belongings in, there had been others with their doors open and she had seen inside their rooms. She had pictured her own home being diffierent. It was lucky that the people from work kept her busy on a regular basis and kept her from sitting at home and staring at those walls.

III

This is in the past for us now, sitting, scents of incense and perspiration hanging on us, my head inclined into his shoulder. In ten years, he’ll be married and it won’t matter that his ex-girlfriend went crazy on him and smashed up his things. It won’t matter that she got jealous and it confused things between us, because we both started to wonder if I was asking for something more. He’ll be happy and I’ll be happy for him. But I don’t know that now. For now, I just know that the two of us have no concrete plans, nothing locked in as the summer slides away from us like the tide. There’ll be another one, soon enough, but not this one. Not this moment. This moment is singular and gone.

IV

I’d rather stay on the train and read my book until I fall asleep. I’ve awoken confused and drooling on the chair in my living room so many times that I don’t see how the seats on the metro car could be any worse. This will eventually kill me, I know, because it isn’t healthy for an adult human being to survive on ten minute cat naps and adrenaline. Maybe that’s what’s happened to the guy at the other end of the platform. He didn’t start out crazy, but here he is, getting his jollies pretending that he wants other people to think he’s contemplating a jump. This is what I have to look forward to when I finally lose it at work and start to scare people. When I cross the line between laughing in an uncomfortable way at my supervisor’s jokes and cackling as I try to microwave his head. It’s a finer line than you might think.

V

When it finally did stop, either from his exhaustion or confusion over the sounds and movements I was making, it was like all the air was vacuumed out of the room. There we were, silent and dehydrated.

The light in the kitchen, and I can’t imagine why I didn’t notice this before, is red. It’s spilling red all over the room, over David and over the cat in his arms. Over me.

“I think that she might be pregnant,” he laments, pushing her towards me for a second opinion.

It’s true that her belly is suspiciously round, but with her thrust in this awkward position, it’s hard to tell anything. And would a pregnant female really let me run my hand over her vulnerable belly? Wouldn’t she have some instinct to protect herself? Some inborn need to shelter her imminent young? If she were pregnant, would I be able to feel the forms of kittens through the taut skin? I know nothing about this.

I woke up this morning in the centre of a cloud, real and invisible as carbon monoxide, eroding the protective layers I had developed for myself.

Comments

Mieze said…
Really like your writing here.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…

mental health mondays :: separate and not equal

given the ubiquitousness of racial disparities in the united states, there's no reason why we should be surprised that they exist in mental health care. unlike a lot of other areas, the people in power have acknowledged the problem for decades. but the situation isn't getting any better. 
the united states surgeon general documented the differences between white and non-white mental health care back in 2001 so we can assume that it was already a known problem at that point. two years later, a presidential commission said the same damn thing and groups like the national association for mental health seized on this to develop guidelines on how to bridge the ethnic gap. from the turn of the century through 2007, the number of papers and publications talking about the mental health care gap spiked. the issue was viewed as being on par with obesity when it came to urgent problems.

starting in 2004, researchers undertook a massive project that involved the records of nearly a quart…