The staff member looks at me, and that’s when I notice her lovely turquoise eyes. “You’ve got beautiful eyes,” I had to say. She smiles.
Later I remark on the nurse’s eyes to another staff member who sniffs, “Probably colored contacts.” Upon reflection, I have to agree; most likely. But she had at least looked at me.
I am leaving the rehab center tomorrow, and during the evening prior to my release I have a dream in which I am safely seated by the rim of an extinct volcano which begins to spew objects high into the air. There’s no fire, no lava, just the projectile ejection. A nervously quivering object lands kersplat near me and crawls over to sit beside me. Why, it’s Willie the Octopus from my first story, who the volcano has physically separated from Princess Dootsy Dorf from Oceanvale! No sooner has poor Willie landed than one of my favorite books lands in my lap. User Illusion! I am being bombarded by inner glories! Then, as though falling through a cloud from far above, tumbles Tulpa, an old friend from several stories once begun. I’m thinking that’s the end of my visitors when Amber floats by, lucidly dreaming. If I am surprised beyond words I am even more surprised and pleased to see the Oriental lady from behind the store window complete her dainty step forward, twirling her umbrella, which I can see now is a parasol. She pauses on her way and turns to face me, and bends into a formal bow. I slowly awaken near tears, touched. Murphy pauses by my door. “You doing those bent foot exercises? Looks to me like you’re falling asleep in that chair.”
“Just watching the day wane beyond my window.” Murphy laughs and walks on by, as I continue woolgathering. Loving a thing is somewhat like experiencing beauty, in that it fills you up. I must have been eighteen years old when I saw the figurine in a jewelry store window in Lexington, Kentucky that filled me with warmth. It was a delicate oriental figure in a kimono, carrying an umbrella, stepping ahead with one foot raised. I wanted it, but knew I could not afford it, so tucked it away for later recall, like today.
I remember all the stillborn creatures in the quagmire of my unpublished stories, locked into my bulging briefcase. They are my things, too, I guess, fruit of my mind instead of my womb, waiting to be delivered, but perhaps destined to be forever caught between idea and shelf. My womb is infertile but not my mind, which still cherishes things from the past. Things don’t leave you.