AN: Just a little bit of metaphysical musing I was doing one day. Based on a true story, except for the mental breakdown, of course. That does, however, lead to another question. How do I know I didn't have a mental breakdown, after all? People always say that if you think you might be crazy, you aren't crazy. How do they know that? Maybe tons of psychopaths regularly wonder just what the HECK they're doing storing bodies in the fridge Anyway, enjoy!
Gray dust motes wind their lazy, apathetic way down to the ground. They each individually get a chance in the spotlight, dancing out of the dull brown-grey of the air into the silky white beam of light (which pierces through the cream blinds to conquer the shade of the room), then just as suddenly slide out to sink to the ground, lifeless and unnoticed. I stare at the glowing invader until its brilliance forces me to look away blinking, neon after glare sparking across my eyelids. With a sigh I give up on the world of the falling dust to turn and face the work on my black desk. A dry, itching lethargy constricts my every move; too many nights I had spent lying on my back staring at the moonlit blue-white ceiling above me, trying not to shiver in the cold, both of temperature and thought. Sleep had eluded me for hours, but then suddenly turned and pounced, dragging me into a deep, dreamless rest.
It all began with the blue bottles. Blue, like a clear, cloudless sky on a stiflingly hot day, when I look up into the royal purple of the atmosphere above me and know (awe and fear piercing the depths of my soul) that I am seeing infinity. No one in my dorm room drinks bottled water, so when the plastic containers began to appear, one by one, in the suite, Laura and Beth and I could only stare at each other in incomprehension. Where could they be coming from?
They aren't mine, Laura pronounced. I've got class, she added. See you later, and then she coolly slipped out of the room.
Beth shrugged apathetically. Maybe some of my friends brought them over.
But this adds up to about two gallons of water here, I argued. Wouldn't we have noticed them carrying that much around?
She shrugged again, with a small, careless laugh this time. she waved, then stepped into her room and shut the door with a definitive click.
I went on my puzzled way, the event passing out of my memory. Class work was completed, meals were eaten, and the day dragged its slow way past. I studied and talked and laughed; the sun rose and glowered down at us and sank, blood red, into the ground. Life was the normal chorus of thoughts, the I'm so bored crowding out the anxious does he like me?, which in turn is replaced by the spaghetti is good today. Reality grasped firmly onto me, and I gripped onto it with a chokehold.
But everything fell apart later that evening. As I walked into the bathroom to take a shower -- placing my clothes on the rack, turning on the faucet so that water gushed out of the showerhead and steam hissed and slithered, serpentine, into the air -- I suddenly stopped still. There, lying on the shelf beside my shampoo, was another blue bottle. It sat innocently next to the silly pink loofah and the infinitely incongruous mango-scented soap, peeking coyly up at me through the mist with a frighteningly sweet who, me? expression, like the playful look on a kitten's face as it toys with a mouse.
I stood, trembling and naked, for several minutes, sweat collecting on the surface of my skin to slide to the ground. Then, breathing in shuddering gasps, I delicately removed the offending plastic container from the stall by pinching it between my right thumb and forefinger. As soon as I had set it on the furthest end of the room I raced, heart pounding, back to the shower and yanked the curtain closed.
Twenty minutes later I stepped out of the stall, vigorously toweled myself off, got dressed, and cleaned up -- all the while deliberately ignoring the offending object. But I could feel its cool, calculating scrutiny against my back like creeping bugs, their jaws clicking as they crept across my skin. Removing myself from the room only intensified the sensation, for the bottles on the kitchen counter (now approaching a dozen in number) regarded me with the same eerie gaze. One was a hideous moss green, and it warped the light that entered it, transforming the room into a haze the color of mold on a rotten piece of bread.
With a terrified wail, I darted into my bedroom and slammed the door closed against the horrors without. Collapsing on my bed, I placed my head on my hands and trembled with the sheer incomprehensibility of it all. What horrible bending or breaking of the laws of nature had occurred, to thus destroy all sense in the world? Where had the bottles come from, and why did they haunt my life? My sense of logic, of reality, slipped from my grasp like a slimy soap, and fell to the floor of my mind, shattering with a chorus of breaking glass.
And so now I sit in my desk chair, staring at the books I should be reading and the papers I should be completing and the sterile whiteness of the room about me--and not caring in the slightest. I am lost, adrift in a sea of information and sensation, but lacking any great Map with which to recognize it. The walls have broken down; the impossible has happened. The room is dusky, lit only by the buzzing fluorescence of my computer monitor and the light poking through the chinks in the window shades, and I cannot find the energy or motivation necessary to stand and cross to the light switch. A gardener with a lawnmower crosses the grass outside my window, and I sit for a moment listening to the rhythmic waning and waxing of the machine's angry buzz.
It is swelteringly hot.
After agonizing packets of time (minutes? seconds? hours?) I catch sight of a book out of the corner of my eye, finding the haze in my mind suddenly ripped away and my gaze inexplicably focused on the small text. It is a dark forest green, and written on its cover in simple, unembellished gold is the phrase, Life Application Study Bible. Suddenly the world around me rights itself; the pieces to the shattered imagery of my life slide against each other into formation; the gears that move my internal clock click precisely, logically, into place.
I glance up at my computer screen with a slight smile, which broadens into a grin when I see the list of friends that have sent me mail. In a sudden frenetic jerk, I yank open the blinds, sending sunlight pouring in golden, honey waves into the room, and I laugh, twirling in the fluttering rays. A bird trills somewhere outside, but its song is drowned out by the insistent ring of the telephone.
As I move to answer its shrill call I shake my head in exasperation at myself. How could I have so lost myself such miry quicksand, when all along firm ground awaited me?