Space and the Occupation Thereof
Every object has a unique space; both within the world, and within the minds of people.
My back is leaned up against the base of a glass skyscraper, which has been made impossible to look at directly due to the relentless beating it’s taking from the sun. The pores of the sidewalk exhale heat almost visibly, making the shoes of passers-by appear slightly blurry. A man scurries by. He is sniveling, tall, holding a tall cup of coffee. He has the determined get-shit-done mask of people who exhibit insatiable ambition; the expression super glued so expertly to his face that you can’t see the seam. With the inflection and volume of a starting lawn mower, the words, “run rat, run” are pulled out of my throat as he passes.
He doesn’t even look up from his phone.
I think I’m going insane, or at least cracking up a little. For me it’s not been a mental process, but a physical one. It’s been looking at a dark cloud over a building and feeling the air fly out of my chest to never return. It’s been the pressure of dread physically pushing down on my shoulders, preventing me from even imagining leaving my bed. It’s been the soreness in my gums when I wake up from dreams of my childhood home being torn apart while my teeth fall out; and the sneaky, ever present, cliche knots in my stomach. It worries me that I’m worried about my mental health.
I’ve become increasingly concerned with physical objects, and the particular way in which they occupy space. The way my bookshelf appears, and how it disrupts its immediate. Episodic flashes, in which my vision sees nothing but the shadows it casts, and I can do nothing but lie in bed and be absolutely paralyzed by the bookshelf. In these terrible hours the relationship between the bookshelf, and the space around it seem totally illogical. It unravels the yarn of reason. The sharp contrast between space, and the solid presence of the faux walnut paneling slices through my sanity. The bookshelf is a high pitched, never ceasing screech, disturbing the tranquility of Sunday air. My sister called, she told me she is swallowing Zoloft. In these episodes, with the bookshelf and the vertigo, my gut sensation is one of total uneasiness, the one of an airplane suddenly falling too rapidly. My stomach folds over onto itself, again and again, forming knots upon knots, and expanding to a point when there is hardly any space left for my lungs to move, and breathing must be a conscious action.
I dream of isolation. A cabin, somewhere with fresh air, few people, and a big sky. The sky seems bigger in some places; I guess they just have more visibility. I’d have some fruit trees in the front yard, and make jam all day to sell to my neighbors. I imagine the bookshelf and its relationship with what surrounds it wouldn’t concern me in this cabin, the syrupy figs would keep me distracted. Truthfully however, I know that what I’m trying to escape will still be there in that cabin, it will be with me ‘til death do us part.
It wasn’t always like this. I didn’t spend hours in my bed as a kid, thinking about the implications of furniture. I remember the first episode. It was in a dim sum place, after 6 cups of coffee. I wish I knew what set that first episode off. I tried to converse with her, I tried to express what was wrong, or how I was feeling. All that escaped my snot and tear covered lips was,
“I am having a hard time grasping reality right now.”
Since then the episodes have lurked around the corner, waiting for an opportune moment to strike. They keep coming at me, not always very viscously, but with increasing frequency. When the episodes aren’t there, I feel an anticipation, or maybe a loss. I am not sure, it’s hard to identify. The feeling that there is something I should have done, but didn’t and now it’s too late, or something I need to do immediately but I can never figure out what it is, it feels off to the right of consciousness.