(This piece was written in August 2010)
It jumped up, pushed up actually, quick as a flash. No warning. No insight as to its appearance.
Rudely, unexpectedly, rose like vile green cream, unwanted.
“Where did you come from?” she asked, nauseated and violated.
The green thing didn’t answer. Just sat on top of her heart like a snot of heartburn.
“I didn’t ask for you”
Still, the green thing stayed silent.
“I’m beyond you, you know. I’m enlightened. I am spiritual”
The green thing unwound slightly, and began to settle into the folds of her heart. Melting itself in there, warmed by some internal toxic sun.
She sighed. It obviously was not going anywhere until she had figured out what had prompted its appearance.
“OK. I know why you’re here. You are insecurity and jealousy. You see the object of affection as being capable of betrayal. Of sharing the experience that belongs to me, or at least I believe belongs to me”
The green thing laughs. Shudders and laughs.
“What the FUCK are you laughing at!”
She’s angry now. How dare this uninvited thing LAUGH at her. Jelly solid, quivering, laughing.
How DARE it laugh? She is soulful ,spiritual ,meditative and CLEAN for fucks sakes!!!. Why is there this presence, and a joke that she has not been let in on?
“I’ll show you” she thinks. She gets out of bed, pacing in the cold tiled corridor.
“I’ll outthink you. I’ll outsmart you. I can do that. I’m clever, intelligent, understanding, evolved”
She paces furiously, her feet cold, unwilling to break this intensity to find slippers. Every part of her body armoured by gooseflesh, she wills the retreat of the green thing.
“It’s not yours, you know.”
She freezes. It has spoken. Words she understands the truth of, words she doesn’t want to hear.
Silently deciding her measured reply. A clever reply.
The green thing solidifies ever so slightly. She feels the crystallization of it as it ices itself onto her heart.
It speaks again
“You KNOW that. Why are you letting me in? You know what I am. I’ve visited before.”
“Do you think I don’t fucking RECOGNIZE you??? Of course I do. I just wasn’t expecting a visit. Not now. Not when I’ve made so much PROGRESS. Not here in the journey!” She screams internally, all attempts at denial gone.
“I’m just used to you visiting later at night. Accompanied by tears and rending. By washed away dreams and lost opportunities”
The green thing is absolutely still. Present, but holding its breath.
“That’s what you want isn’t it? Pain. Missed love, inopportune love. Pain.” She accuses.
“Why would you think that?” It asks.
She cannot tell from the tone of its voice what the purpose of the question is. If she gives it fuel, it may stay. She knows she doesn’t want that.
“Why do you think?” she snaps sarcastically.
It releases slightly, and begins to drip round the sides. Infection.
“It’s just a question. Why are you so afraid of a question?” It oozes at her.
She holds her breath. Deciding. Perhaps, perhaps if she answers, it will leave, or at least become manageable.
“Because if you visit, in any of your incarnations, your residue is pain”
“But why would you think that’s what I want?” the thing asks.
“Because they come WITH you!” she snaps. “Don’t pretend to be stupid. Why ask a question you already know the answer to?”
“Why would you think I know the answers? After all,” self pity drips from its tone, ”I’m just a green thing”
She relaxes slightly. Was that self pity? Is the thing harmless?
“No. It will wait until I open up, or offer to help it. I’ll play along instead” she thinks, disguising her thoughts with random static in case it can read her.
“Well, if you don’t have the answers as to why you have magically appeared here, then what am I supposed to say?” she says to it, aiming for fake haughty as an element of disguise.
“I actually don’t know the answers at all.” It says.
She feels the green thing shift, like it’s stretching, yawning.
“I only know what people tell me. And they tell me that you can tie things to you, if you work at it really hard. “
“What do you mean? Tie things?” She’s intrigued now.
“Well.” She feels its eye open inside her, giving her a sideways glance. “Most feel the loss impending, so they fracture a little. It invokes pity or response in the desired and causes attention. The nature of the attention is never questioned. They always tie with attention. Except for when they don’t”
The sleepy, sharing eye closes, and it seems to be taking a nap.
What the fuck? It actually seemed to speak eloquently, although paradoxically.
“Do you know energy cannot be created or destroyed?” It asks her sleepily.
“Yes. I know that. Give me some credit!” she answers with righteous indignation.
“Hmmmmm.” The green thing is laughing gently now. It dares to SNUGGLE for chrissakes. It is warming itself on her, basking in her.
“OH NO YOU DON”T!!! Wake UP dammit!” She pokes it with a stick.
It is still. Unanimated.
“Why are you here??? Answer me!”
It lies unmoving. Phlegm on her soul.
It seems dead. She throws it some fuel. She thinks about the moments before its appearance, but gets only echoes of the rise, of the drama.
Is it dead?
Keeping an eye on it, she begins to pace again. She sees its form there, like a spider in the corner of the room, and begins to think.
Shared affection. No, that’s not it. Affection can be shared.
Shared personality. Nope.
Flirting. Can’t be.
Role opening up? Hmm. That one seems to gleam slightly. Secret longings. Unexpressed projections of future.
That one throbs a little. Was it the words or the response to the words? Both.
The green thing hiccough snores. “Ah, so it’s not dead!” she thinks triumphantly, “I knew it!”
She pokes at it again.
“Wake UP!!!” she shouts. “OK, give me the answers, I don’t care even if you give me pain, I want to know why you’re here and how to deal with you.”
She has folded her arms in this space. Knuckling down, getting ready to work.
It has changed form slightly. It stretches thin, mucousy arms over its shapeless head and yawns.
The green thing speaks. “Alright. Ask me”
Its tone seems amenable. She recognizes it could be disguise, but she is ready to face it now. Her heart thumps in her chest. The unknown chasms slightly, and retreats.
“I know what you are. You are jealousy, or envy. I recognize you. And I know why. I may have had an unreasonable response to the jealousy stimuli” She pasts herself mentally on the back. Pretty clever answer.
The thing peals in gusts of bell laughter. It seems joyous, the laugh infectious as a child’s.
“No, you silly!”, it sparkles, green glitter. “I thought you were going to ask me a question, not formulate a THEORY!” It is happy, this thing now, kicking up its heels in glee, floating like a green shimmery haze round her heart.
“I asked already, what you are, and I have answered my own question” she answers primly. Turning her back on it, annoyed, as it seems to be indulgently humouring her as if she were a child.
“No you didn’t.” Its tone changed. Serious now, and a little mournful.
“You asked me why I was here and where did I come from. Not what I was.”
The air inside this space is charged now. She senses revelation and truth. She doesn’t know if she will be able to accept truth, especially from so vile a source, from one who appears in the midst of unacceptable emotions, unwanted feelings.
She takes a deep breath. And asks.
“What are you? And why are you here?”
The green thing slides. It opens both eyes and gazes upon her. She is surprised at how beautiful its eyes are. They seem to glisten. Crocodile tears?
“Because I’m afraid”
It is a nonsense answer but she cannot look away. They stare at each other head on, daring the other one to break the silence first. She feels like she’s falling, wormhole rushing. She does not pull away. She is uncomfortable and nauseous. The silence stretches like an unwelcome visitor in a private moment. She does not care for social convention, she will not break the connection. The green thing does not waiver.
It takes a breath. She holds hers, so afraid that the slightest movement will fracture the moment of revelation.
“I’m afraid I’m not real”
The green thing contracts, huddles in on itself and begins to sob.
She doesn’t know quite what to do. Doesn’t know if she is supposed to comfort it, or talk to it, or just observe. She doesn’t feel any connection to the revelation. No earth shattering moment of clarity, no huge weight from her shoulders. She just watches the green thing huddle and sob.
She decides to wait.
The green thing cries.
The crying begins to slow. Its breathing slows. The jagged edge that this visitor has been sitting upon becomes uncomfortable, it readjusts position and takes a deep breath. It faces her.
“I’m not real you know.”
“And you know that. I’m present in the space where not real things reside.”
“Imagination?” she asks
“No.” The green thing sighs deeply. “The space where you find out what’s real by trying on what’s not real.”
“Dressing up?” she asks.
“Yes” It takes another deep breath.
“You have tried me on often. I don’t fit you very well, you always want to parcel me along with your other roles, or visitors. You always try to make me fit you, but I’m not your clothes. I’m just raw material. Mucous to shield you from infection, to help you work through disease.”
“Disease?” she asks
“Yeah. Dis Ease. Everytime you face truth you want to cloak it in me so you have a place to retreat, with the unreal things”
She is puzzled. Some of it makes sense, but it seems like the information is a little off, like the encryption has messed up the program.
“You just got it girl. The truth is not in me, only fractured understandings of what the truth is. Because I’m what the truth is not. In the absense of an alternate, no definition can be made absolutely. I’m the pseudo truth. The spaces to hide infection, the easy blame, the scape goat”
She stares at the green thing intently.
“I’m the projected future, the lack of love, the boxing in of history, the bad fit. Your real clothes are coming. Don’t wear me. I’ll just wear you out.”
The green thing sighs, and walks up to look her directly in the eye.
“I’m not real. Remember that. I’m the thing that will help define what is real. In the absense of what is not real, reality and truth will survive.”
“I need you to be absent to recognize what’s real?” She asks the green thing incredulously.
“When I’m not visiting. When you are not wearing me. That is when you will know what’s true. What’s real”
The green thing wraps itself into a ball.
“Are you going?” she asks.
“Yeah. When you recognize me, that’s normally when I can leave”
“I have to give you permission?”
“OK, then, I release you!” She says magnanimously, sweeping her arm in the air.
The green thing laughs.
“Go then!!!” she says
The green thing laughs some more.
She starts to get annoyed. “Well if you are not going to leave when you said you would, when I gave you permission, then how am I going to be able to trust anything you had to say?” She’s in full swing now, a lawyer in closing argument.
“Not that I should anyway, because you are not real!” She paces again. Thinking about how much she really needs to wear her slippers, her feet are freezing.
“And understanding the nature of reality with your definition” she continues, whirling around to have it out with this nonsense talking amorphous green blob, she finds she is alone.