loss of focus

My eyes have started doing this thing where they refuse to focus. Anything that gets close becomes two indistinct shapes floating in front of my vision. It takes a concerted effort, or something blocking the view, to force myself to see anything, and even then it would make my head hurt. I've been to several eye doctors and they can't seem to find the problem--because, I have decided, the problem has nothing to do with my eyes. The problem is that there's nothing there to focus on.

At some point I knew it would come. The hallucination that there are little details to pick up in the world, that there's something to look at, has been fading for some time. My body's ability to stitch together that belief is falling apart. And now in a little bubble around me I've finally lost that ability altogether. I float through the world in this bubble of unreality, eyes forever fixed on the middle distance.

People give me a wide berth now--can they detect that reality is unraveling around me? Are they afraid of the calmness of my smile, the steadiness of my stare? It hardly matters. They will all lose focus soon regardless.



There's still a few holes that let in a little rain.

I woke up this morning from an unpleasant dream with a twinge in my neck, and somehow these things are related. Every time I moved my neck wrong today, there was the pain, of course, but I am good at pain. What I'm not good at are the strange memories that came with it. Every time my neck hurt, the dream came back.

I dreamed of the last secret I allow myself to keep. At points in the dream I found myself noticing, as I often do, my tendency to smile at my own private thoughts, and to laugh when I'm depressed or worried or upset--and people assume that I'm happy when I'm terrified. At no point in the dream did I hurt my neck. But the day wore on and the two things kept linking themselves, like my body wanted to remind me--or rather, to keep me from forgetting. I don't know why it wants me to remember. Perhaps part of me is tied up in this dream, in the only secret I still keep, and if I let it fade I'm letting part of myself fade, too. Secrets are important, as I was reminded not long ago.

Regardless of why, the twinge lingers on, no matter how I stretch and massage it out. I'm afraid to go to sleep, because dreams wait for me there, and I don't think my mind is going to let me off that easy.


design flaws

I had a dream tonight.

A building plan keeps circulating amongst my colleagues at the architectural firm. Nobody claims it for their own and the sensible among us ignore it--they call it a hoax, mostly, or otherwise not worth their time. But some of us looked them over. Some of us did it casually, others more thoroughly.

The building was enticingly impossible. That is to say, impossible in just such a way that an enterprising architect might find himself thinking he could find a way to make it work--but no, the math was always wrong, even if only just. And even among those of us who weren't sensible, most eventually put it down, dismissed it as a waste of time, a puzzle not worth solving.

But I couldn't give up. I put in long hours at the office, putting more time into the plans each evening. Some nights I wouldn't even bother going home. And unlike any of my predecessors, I did more than just trying to make the designs work. I did research.

I came no closer to learning the origins of the plans, but they have been around for far longer than I have. And others have tried and failed to work on them--this was the most important discovery, because now I'm getting closer than ever. In a few weeks I'll be ready for the groundbreaking. I will construct the impossible, and set foot in halls no mortal man was meant to tread.


not quite impossible

There was a girl who mostly seemed impossible. Stories of friends on the lam, of jumping trains, of a life so full of adventure that it seemed unreal. And she was so nonchalant about it. These were merely things that happened to her. She wasn't fazed at all by it.

I can remember her inflection more than the stories themselves (though that's a lie): the way she sounded almost irritated. I remember it because of how beautiful that storyteller's trick is, adopting that tone that seems to say, "these are the things I put up with." "I found out today my best friend had jumped on a train and was now somewhere in Vermont. Such is life." And she had such perfect cadence, such beautiful words. I think I only believed her because someone with that flair for telling a story is wasted telling something exciting. She could make a trip to the grocery store compelling, and she's using material like this with a dismissive shrug and a coy, "But you're not interested in all that." She has the scars to prove it, but that hardly matters. Scars are just there. It's the stories you can believe in.

She's gone now. Vanished just like every one of those stories screamed she would. I never wonder about her stories, but I often wonder if she really happened at all. Life's like that, sometimes. These strange things happen and later on the only thing you can do with it is question it.



At some point after my accident (don't say accident; that implies no one's at fault) I realized that I don't feel pain the way I'm meant to. By all rights, the doctors told me, the pain should have been excruciating. I felt it, of course, but not enough--I kept going. And it all came back to me, a whole life never understanding how people needed painkillers.

Now all I can notice is how muted, how dull, my reactions are, emotionally, physically (you've always been strong). I remember vividly every time in my life that I've really, truly felt something, but they're brief flashes--a few seconds of anguish, if that, and then it's back to something I can just tune out. And it's always been like this.

I often wonder if I feel or if I merely know what I'm supposed to feel--how much of me is just learned behavior and practiced patterns? Which is to say, if I'm not real (I can't stand fake people) what am I? What's the point of me? And maybe more importantly, is anyone actually a real person or is everyone like me, trudging along trying to figure out what a person is supposed to be like?