January 6, 2008

Hiding under the bed, I became used to dust bunnies in my nostrils, and weird shiny bits of paper occasionally floating by me. Still, it was generally warm and, the main point of being there, quiet. Once, a pair of fuzzy-slippered feet hesitated not far from my nose, and there was a distant and muffled noise that just might have been my name being called. It’s hard to say… I’ve rather forgotten the sound of my name. There were the right number of syllables. I think.

Another time, a wee mousie scurried under my bent knees, on his way somewhere more interesting and less encumbered by my presence.  Even had it been moving more slowly, slowly enough to make eye contact before disappearing beyond the short range of my dimming vision, I’m not sure I would have invited it to stay. I had little if any conversation left in me, and what else does one offer a wee mousie, when one is hiding under the bed?

Generally, I spent my time humming quietly to myself, solving word problems that I set for myself, in my head… very simple ones, of course. I wasn’t there to expand my intellect, after all. Once in a while, I would squint my eyes to examine whether my fingernails had become too long, and if so, I would chew calmly on them until all was right again. I was content, as content as one should be with no disturbing view of the outside world, no distracting opportunity to flex muscles, no annoying food or water, no… well, no bathroom facilities.

Honestly, it was this last that motivated me, finally, to emerge. The necessities of life and human contact can’t be avoided forever, apparently. First I stretched out my right arm, and wiggled my fingers beyond the shadow of the mattress. The air felt a little cool, but bearable. I waited for a while, for possible negative side effects or consequences. Nothing. Nothing touched my fingers, no one yelled in sudden, frightening awareness of my re-emergence. I waited longer. Finally, I began to shuffle my body along the dusty floor, pausing once to sneeze into my elbow, as I have been painstakingly taught to do. When I finally dragged my head out into the open, I covered my eyes with one hand. Too much light. Too much, too soon. I began to hear street noises, distantly, in the background. I eventually uncovered my eyes, and looked toward the source of the light and noise… a window, blinds closed, but not fully blocking the outside from intruding on the inside.

In time, I gathered my courage, and rolled over onto my hands and knees, and slowly, used my hands on the edge of the bed to pull myself into an unaccustomed upright position. I shook my head, patted my hair, smoothed my clothes, and… here I am. Please don’t make any sudden movements or loud noises. I’ve become unused to it. I startle easily. But here I am.