The Walls


Every day the walls get a little closer. I'm not the only one who notices. The cat, he notices too. Complains bitterly about their inward progress, and all I can do is agree. It does suck. And I am powerless to do a damn thing about it. So is the cat. He says what I feel. He can get by complaining. No one tells him to cheer up, things aren't so bad, it could be worse.

No, people ask him what he needs, cater to his whims, sometimes I think, just to make him be quiet. He has mastered the art of noise. Isn't that part of being a cat? He isn't content until he's on my lap, wet, cold, and noisy. There must be a lot on his mind tonight. Ah yes, he has had a busy day. Outside hunting, playing, running, enjoying, and loving being alive, mobile, loving being a cat. He leaves me inside to keep track of the walls.

Some days they barely move, and I wouldn't know they had moved at all if it wasn't for the wrinkle in the rug. As the walls hug the room tighter, the rug wrinkles more, and my caregiver has to cut it off every so often. She doesn't understand why. So she asks me why. Why does she have to keep trimming the rug? Is the rug growing or is the room shrinking? Then she laughs. I laugh with her. Once I told her that the walls moved in a little every day, and that's why the rug has to be trimmed. I thought she would laugh. She didn't. Now, when it's sunny and nice and not too hot she takes me outside. Leaves me out front to watch the traffic go by. Leaves me out front for all the drivers to see, in my chair.

A prime example of what not to do, how not to live your life. What happens if ______? I am becoming the boogie man that lives in the walls. In the closet. The-One-That-Only-Comes-Out-When-You-Don't-Expect-It. What happens if you run with scissors? Mothers point me out to their children. I am a splendid example of what happens if you don't listen to your mother. Tired, now, I wait for Ruby to come and wheel me back to the car. The sun has found a hole between the clouds, and now I am getting sleepy. Why does warmth always make me sleepy? I wonder while relaxing, enjoying the feel of the sun on my skin. Glad for the drowsy comfortable...

Oh, it feels good to soak up the sun, breath clean air, instead of that recycled crap they call air in there. I don't understand why more of the doctors don't take their lunches outside to enjoy a beautiful day, to feel the sunshine on their skins. Ha, when they do feel the warm caress of the sun, they're probably thinking skin cancer! I am so jealous. They can choose to go outside when ever they want. But they don't. Instead, they stay inside, pretending to be busy, gulping down stale, rank air. Maybe they get high on the clinical smells of disinfectant that never completely clean or cover the smells of chronic pain and body odor.

I don't want to stay outside too long. I want to go home. Home, where the smells are comfortable, wood smoke, wet cat, and incense. And I wonder how much of a wrinkle will be waiting for Ruby to try and remember to step over. She always forgets and trips. One of these days she is going to fall down and hurt herself and I won't be able to do a damn thing to help her. That's one of the worst things about this: if she falls down, I can't help her up. I might be able to get to the phone, depending on which side of the wrinkle in the rug I'm on. I can't get this damn chair to wheel over it when she is there. When I am alone I have no problem.

Strange isn't it? Home, away from the clinic, way far away from sick people who can be cured. Home, away from friends' pity and strangers curiosity. Home where it is safe and I can keep an eye on the walls...moving in.

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