He walks into walls often, bouncing off them, usually bloodying his nose or banging a knee. It wasn't always this way, the blood-stained shirts, cracked toenails, bruised knees. He used to see other worlds, experience unbelievable joys when charging at walls. Like last year when he sat, staring at the cracked plaster of his bedroom wall. Sitting on the floor staring at the wall, mixed emotions of a stuck life blending bipolar-like with his wildest dreams. His reality of $8.25/hr as a Quick Mart clerk marbling with the fantasy of swimming Scrooge McDuck-like in a sea of gold coins. Ill-formulated ambitions, adrenaline, followed by a crazed rush at the wall.
He didn't realize he was falling until he landed. He didn't realize he had penetrated the wall until he reached over, plucked a coin from the mountain-high pile he sat atop. He didn't realize it was impossible to dive into a sea of gold until he attempted it, evoking the blood that the transparent wall didn't. Exactly what the fuck was going on here anyhow? The question didn't linger though as he slid on his belly headlong down a glittering mountain of prosperity, his mind stretched razor-thin with possibilities.
Another time, stewing in a sexless existence, staring with a lecherous drool at the piles of wet, gyrating skin before him. Turning from his computer, he stared longingly at the living room wall, it's cracks like tentacles reaching out. And he was off, rushing madly toward the wall's promise, it's unexplainable lure. As space-time fizzled into irrelevance, he opened his eyes having passed through a void landing comfortably in a bed of down, a dozen or so manicured hands massaging his naked body. Indiscriminate faces, flawless Aphroditesque bodies clambering to mount him in a suffocating bliss of orgiastic joy. Whispers of forbidden hair, everywhere voluptuous things to grab, a rush of hormones crystallizing his joy into vibrating human vitality. Alive as alive could possibly be. In time, energy sapped, his shriveled body reconnected to reality as his opening eyes tracked a housefly across the wide, white expanse of his living room ceiling.
Incarcerated by 500 square feet of scumlord tenement, he paced the room along his usual path, the carpet worn where he trod recursively over the years. The frayed polyester backing of the disintegrated carpet revealed grimy floorboards beneath, defining the perimeter of the apartment. Broken plumbing. Electricity forever on the fritz. His maladaptive mind, refusing to accept the increasing indifference of the rentier class or the illusion of social advancement, remembered. His memory twinkled, a thousand little flecks of light screamed for validation. A million. More. His brain glowed with the ecstasy of revelation and he abandoned the repetition, veered from his carpeted path toward the promised land. The wall wobbled on approach like the glassy sheen of an awaiting pool disrupted by wind, ready to receive him. To pass him through.
Beyond the wall, into space he floated. Blackness in the abyss of infinite possibility. Pure freedom beyond star's reach, no forces pushed or pulled his will out there in the dark matter nothingness. His thoughts moved at the speed of light, no friction. Happiness was exposed as a volatile, Earthly sentiment at which to scoff. Pure contentment became the unary state: pervasive, unavoidable and without change. Something post-nirvana. He floated on, consciousness expanding through every event horizon until he realized the intellect was a figment of his imagination. In his new, pure energy state, he created realities with each new declaration of physical law. And as he advanced back through time to the ultimate genesis, God, and his antiquated universal blueprint, was subsumed into his realm.
From the infinite expanse of pure contentment he returned, facedown on a carpet smelling of cat piss, stale beer and poverty. He may be God or he may be something else entirely. Only the stars know.
But that time, at his mother's house.
When he lunged at the wall, penetrated it, sort of. Stuck between the here and there, he shook off the moment, extracted his arm and leg from the wall, bits of drywall falling like popcorn onto the carpet. His mother, sobbing head-in-hand to her son's declarations of infinite wisdom. Something about the origin of pure energy.
But, good streaks come and good streaks go. The walls began turning their backs. No longer did they offer the promise of escape, begging the question, did they ever? And an incident. Rather, a few incidents. The strange theory that the type of wall had changed. Perhaps it was no longer a wall? Maybe the portal was elsewhere? A floor. An elevator. A window? He suffered through his experiments in recurring public incidents. Bloodied shirts. Broken toes. Contusions. Muddled explanations at the precincts, fines paid.
And recently, just a couple weeks ago this day. Through the glass of a freezer at the Quick Mart. No excuses immediately available, only his incredulity, sitting slumped atop cartons of frozen, bloody bovine secretions for a second time in as many days. A fatigued, small business owner, hundreds of stitches and a free holiday in the psych ward.
Strapped to the chair now, restrained, he's no longer able to enter other worlds, other places. Before they locked his legs in place he could extend them, lurch forward to his feet with his wheelchair turtle shell, run his head into the wall. Now, fully restrained, he spends his days parked by the floor-to-ceiling window, staring out. The window overlooks a massive institutional garden: ridiculous quantities of flowers, manicured hedgerows, immaculate marble fountains. Rolling horse pastures backstop it, kissing the horizon. Transporting aesthetics, but he doesn't see it. It doesn't register. Periodically, he holds his breath to the point of fainting. The velvety flower petals begin vibrating, lose focus. The hedgerows wave. The horses fizzle into pixilated brown patches. A subtle sense of euphoria rises. Better still, occasionally when asphyxiating, consciousness fades and he catches a glimpse of the world beyond, flips the bird to God as the smile returns to his face for a fleeting moment.
- all story images are taken from either pixabay.com or google images (licensed for reuse) and are free to use under creative commons
- original story - content belongs to Daniel Shortell