I opened the door. I am in the lobby. Taking out the trash. Waiting to see if everything is going to go wrong.
I hope that if it does, the vase with the fake orchids gets smashed first.
So, Jasper. You sent me more words.
What did you think they were going to do?
This morning I lied to Sarah. I told her I was going to therapy.
She seemed happy. She kissed me before she left for work. She said that she loved me.
I don’t believe her.
Why should I? You yourself admit that all words are lies.
Or maybe when I told her that I had a therapy appointment today, I was merely softening her perception.
What is it like, being able to soften your perception at will? How do you do it? Is it related to this qigong practice? Is it what allows you to walk through the mirrored funhouse as if it’s actually a soft green meadow dappled with sunlight and sprinkled with asclepias tuberosa? Are there unicorns prancing about in your meadow of mirrors?
When I put this bag of trash into this vertical chute, gravity will pull it downward until it meets the force of all the other bags of trash that are waiting at the bottom of the chute to make friends with it. They will talk about the meaning of life, their feelings about all the various smells in their environment, and what that noise is that’s coming closer, until they all get compacted into smaller units of trash and taken off to a landfill.
Have you noticed how people’s egos function like gravity? The ego pulls perception down around itself, warping the surface of reality.
Perhaps your horizontal energy, the social channel, is the force of the collection of egos at the bottom of the chute. The egos talk about their lack of meaning, the smell of decay, and the low moaning noise made by the oncoming abyss, until they are boxed up and taken to a graveyard. Well, the lucky ones, anyway.
So of course your words are tangled. No truth could escape that gravity well.
No, I have not read Wittgenstein. I do not trust other people’s words. Especially if they feel the need to hide behind so many of them. What did he need 70 pages for?
He could have simply said, “Your ego is curving your perception around itself. Stop it from doing that, and you’ll see reality. It will help if you can learn to see the force that your words exert on the space around you.“
I don’t like silence. It presses down on me like the walls. There’s only so much staring at institutional green while the silence roars in my ears that I can take.
Speaking of which, I think I will go out. I have not been out of the apartment since my last letter to you.
What did Bess think about you not shaving? Sarah says that my face feels too rough if I go more than a day or two without it.
I am not sure that we have the same definition of “unmitigated authenticity”. Not everything needs to be said out loud.
You like old quotes, correct? Surely you’ve heard the one about how it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Not that I’m saying you’re a fool. But I’ve found that other people will often assume that you are if you try to share your thoughts.
I am glad that you had Bess to help you.
Perhaps I will go to the bluffs, like you did. It’s a beautiful day. The sun is out. May as well get eaten.
I am not going to stab you. It does not appear from your words that you have any intention of stabbing me, so I don’t see the point.
I am outside the walls. The sun is shining down on me. I feel it on my skin. Looking for a way in.
You say you hear pain in my words.
Let me ask you something.
How do you feel about fire that you can’t control?
You are right, of course. We are vulnerable and soft and fleshy, with nothing to protect us from the flames.
Have you ever struggled to breathe while those channels of energy closed around you? And then the struggle stops, and there’s just…blankness. Absence. The bit of reality that was curved around you bounces back up, and there is no sign that you were ever there.
Later, there is the white light on the ceiling in the ER. Beeping monitors. Sarah, pale and thin and drawn.
There is the pain.
Have you ever felt pain so heavy and dense that it’s like a black hole? Your reality collapses around it, and nothing can escape.
The sun is bright and hungry, and it is hard to breathe. I think I will go home now. I need to come up with something appropriately inauthentic and safe to tell Sarah if she asks about therapy.
Don’t judge me. I think it is right to soften her perception. She is happier now. Not so drawn and pale.
I will protect her from the fire that she can’t control.
I think that it must be quite pleasant in your mirror meadow with the unicorns. I would imagine that it smells better than the trash chute.
I opened doors four times today. Six, if you count the elevator doors. Things never did go wrong. When I came back to the apartment, the vase with the fake orchids was still there on the table in the lobby. Sadly, it has not yet been smashed.
I am still trying to think of something to tell Sarah. I know I can’t tell her that I went to the bluffs. That I lit the pile of wood pallets and old chairs on fire. That I breathed in the smoke.
I don’t have to read into the silence beyond your words.
I’ve been there.
And it wants me back.