Story by Désirée Jung
Something awakens me.
When I open my eyes, I’m unaware of what is. The dark room lacks in movement and sends a sign of starless open skies.
I need to go back to sleep, but it is not that simple.
Hastened thoughts slide beyond dawn, afflicted cicadas flap their wings inside my chest, anxious for discharge. I remain alert for something to happen, resistance anguishing the completion of the silence. Suddenly, the sound of the letter H jumps from my head, burst out. I jump, now sitting on the bed, feeling an unexpected tremble in my body. An invasion, the letter provoking endless associations – hospital, hysteria, history, hour – a psychic galaxy growing from the void.
I close my eyes, hug a pillow between my legs, and desire for the arrival of sleep. I breathe deeply, letting the sound circulate through my ribs, belly button, navel, sex, hands, tip toes, legs, which in spasm, bump against the interior of the verbs.
Ever since I was a child, I fear darkness, the insistent large moth landing on the wall tapestry in front of my childhood bedroom, cross-stitched by my mother – I, who pretended to ignore the crepuscle fear, while being capture by it, cuffs tying my arms in a gurney of a public foreign hospital, immobilized.
The light of memory flashes, it rains for real.
I need to go back home. I need to go back home, and I don’t know the way.
I breathe profoundly, the air buzzing like a cicada, a yellow halogen light, an insect enjoying its exhaustion, humming in some hospital. The quiet room. The dead mother. The other country. The impossibility to know everything. The discontinuity of time. Nobody wanting to know anything. I wanting to know it all.
Where do you live? What is your name. The answer that never pleases. The Risperidone prescription to a woman without qualities, disqualified, with doubts, about sex specially, completely desolated, desponding inside out, hostage of the world’s hopelessness.
I close my eyes before so many pronouns, undone ties, threats to society, unbearable lacks, disbeliefs in other halves, happy endings. I concentrate on my breathing, thoughts overcoming death by a close call, crossing the house, the hospital, the straitjacket, the nurses, the hallucinations, the balcony, the dead chair, killed instead of me, free falling from the ninth floor of an old building. In this coming and going of memories, in a lullaby sang by the unconscious, I go back to sleep.
When I wake up, it is late in the morning. The light stretches against the walls, overflows the window gaps, breaks the room in unequal parts. A white autumnal glow, almost blue, anticipates winter. The crows cry in the back alley of the Vancouver apartment. The cicadas hum at the end of an afternoon in Brasilia.
I open the windows and let the gelid morning rise. With a kind of mental hangover, I feel my reason become smoke, attempting to elaborate the meaning of all this. The drapes hit against the wall, interrupting my monologue. I walk to the kitchen in my flannel pants, oversized sweatshirt, red plush robe. I swallow four vitamins with water, two of omega three and two of red rice yeast. Are they successful against cholesterol? Is science a hundred percent, correct? I take the kettle from the cupboard. I wait for the water to boil. Wait for some effect. Mirrorless, I look at myself, mapping my being in the middle of this frozen kitchen, receiving my very message inverted in dreams, the same I sent to my mother by email, thirteen years ago, the night before my hospitalization, hoping to be saved from that tenebrous night and its unspeakable consequences, not aspired, but rather inspired, exhaled with the past, the letter H – of help – entering the living room, the objects afflicted for dust, the cylindric robot, still in one of the corners.
Jonas is a vacuum cleaner who determines the area of my apartment before it begins to work. Its progress is calculated by an application which indicates the zones where it must focus. It only demands help by staying still when encountering an insurmountable object or if its bin is full of dejects. Different from other days, when I weave imaginary conversations with him, today nothing is said about the solitude of my dirt, my many subjects, my many holes opened wide in such short period of time, circulating under the sole of my bare feet, on the floor of this evanescent morning. In the softness of the house, naked by the night, there is no need to say anything, I put my fluffy socks, and wait – for the day to warm up.
Story published in the literary magazine Miracle Monocle.