Read Part One here.
Part Two: A Life in the Mind.
Snow flies furiously outside of my bedroom window. My turquoise quilt envelops me like a gentle shroud, allowing me to sink inside.
She sits in bed typing on her laptop.
The noise of her space heater and her clacking fingertips fills the room.
Through the thin door she hears the plastic wheels of her daughter’s miniature plastic car scraping across the kitchen tile.
She hears animated booms and thuds and bangs from the television set, where her husband watches one of the James Bond movies she got him for Christmas.
Her pinkie nail makes a crisp, deliberate click as she hits the p with its recently sculpted white edge.
A green porcelain cup rests next to her on the file-cabinet-turned-bedside table that they’ve moved around with them more than they probably should have.
Her ring is turned upside down on her right fourth finger—revolved from the quickness of her hands as she writes from the recesses of her mind out to her clicking limbs.
She feels more alive than ever—sitting in bed with only her arms moving from below their elbows—aside from the gnawing guilt that haunts her—from separating herself so fully from the two on the other side of that thin door—closed off in her snuggly cage; wintering; hibernating.
She flips her ring gem-side-up and looks at the faceted stone before it rolls over again, and she returns to her cage—to her mind.
I hit save and close the thin, hard pieces of plastic. I shove the laptop across my turquoise quilt and stare longingly out the window at the growing, snowy-white abyss.
A life in the mind is both a lonely and joyous space of adventure.
I hear crickets chirp and the crunch, crunch, crunch of hardened pine needles and small stony gravel beneath my shoes as I hike.
I inhale—deeply, richly, completely—and I exhale it all out with a loud and audible sigh.
I figure that he must be near the top of the grueling switchback by now. I picture his bike-perched panoramic view and contemplate my own need to turn around, so that we can be in the parking lot at the same time.
(I have to be at work by four.)
Instead, I stop and sit atop a huge, grey boulder that’s easily three times my sinewy size.
I peer into my canary yellow knapsack; take out and unwrap crinkly parchment paper, unveiling a peanut butter sandwich with purple jelly leaking through the holes of the thin wheat bread. I eat hurriedly—hungrily—and then feel an immediate pang of regret. I uncross my legs and spread them out, looking at ankle-length socks and my slate blue trail sneakers before swinging sun-bronzed, muscle-etched calves over the weathered rock ledge; placing the rubberized soles of my feet back onto the trail.
I already feel nourished by the food.
Once more, I breathe in the thick high-altitude air and my lungs almost burst with clean satisfaction—with the euphoria of momentarily having experienced my cage door opened, although I remained inside—and while I’m imprisoned more than ever, I know that, one day, I’ll fly freely—above this mountain top, above this caged body and beyond the confines of my controlling, crippling disease.
And, although I don’t know this yet, I’ve already found what will become the introduction to my cure—the key to my freedom from the confines of this mental cage.
Photo credits: Flickr: tanahelene.