Tabula Rasa | Teen Ink

Tabula Rasa

August 14, 2011
By ShapiroA108 BRONZE, Encino, California
ShapiroA108 BRONZE, Encino, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:

A heavy metal door clangs shut with a definitive bang, and a blistering blindness confounds the room with the single flip of a plastic switch. Two men sit in wooden chairs, crumbs gathering under the considerable weight of their burly stomachs, sharp beards attempting to conceal rows of coffee stained teeth. Chattering with pointed aimlessness, they hardly notice the small speckles of green paint in the peeling wallpaper, the seemingly mundane drone of air conditioning, the clock above their heads that is pounding in my head like two giant bricks. I see all, I hear all, yet I hardly understand it at all any longer. Teeth scrape against teeth, tongues move, eyes scour and corrupted eyes attempt to focus, and soon my hands are near my waist, unhindered, as if they are new sets of hands, hands that are clean and orderly and free.
Grimy nails and soiled sleeves hold a rusted yellow gate open, and I am handled through it. A leer and a consoling pat, and my legs begin to move. Tattered shoes no match for linoleum, skin meets floor and suddenly I can feel. I am cold again.
Are these days or are they nights? Night meets day here, and each year I run out of excuses to count the days. It was not long before I noticed that black bars do not give way to anything at all. No, if I am lucky, I imagine they give way to absolute solitude, away from glances and visitors and healing gardens and vegetable concoctions.
Iron gates swing shut behind me and I do not turn back, I do not look back. My head is weighted down by hundreds of iron fists clenched around my jaw, preventing me from turning. A gust of cold air blows rudely on my neck, and broken shutters clatter against frosted glass. A man with beady red eyes fidgets with the air, his head bobbing up and down, commanded by an invisible string. The crumb men are behind me, one holds the door open and tells me it’s time to go. Crooked feet walk outside and I am on the sidewalk, looking in. Crumb men lead the fidgety man away with poised batons. His scabbed hands trail behind him for miles and miles, enclosed in the choke of two rusted iron cuffs.
I am confronted by a silence so threatening, so loud that for a while, it is all I hear. Where do I go? The question holds such possibility that for an instant, I forget where I am. I can think only of the endless stretch before me. I think of possibilities and all I can see are fragments. Swaying trees and scratchy record players that she used to play for me. Iron scrapes skin and I am knocked back to the floor. My new arms are crumbled all around me, they are porcelain and I am broken. A brick wall stands in front of me, leering and condescending as if it could read my newly emancipated thoughts.
A yellow car with a checkered roof pulls up beside me, and a man peers out from a tinted window. “Ya want a ride?” he drawls. I crawl in, and watch as the grey building fades away in a blur of hideous reds, yellows and greens. Words spill out in a mess of letters and sounds, and I hear my voice for the first time in years. It is raspy, that of a dead man. I do not pay attention. My mind is a blank slate, and I only know three words. A street name. The name is familiar, but the place is but a blur of memory. I wonder about nothing, and I am content.
A crackling radio stammers and the driver smacks it once, twice, blows to the head. Words escape, fragments of sentences. The driver lifts one eye to the rearview mirror, and I can feel pupils searching me. Uncomfortable, I shift my weight and look away. A cross dangles from the mirror, chipped paint showing plywood that shines through underneath. We are jerked forward and I do not attempt to scramble for safety. Curses under sleepy breath, another smack on the radio, the windows reflect green, and soon we are moving again.
I am released and it is late. No one is here. There is a bench, with cold metal that somehow warms my skin like a molten lamp. I do not know what to do. I do not know who I am, and what I mean. All I know is that it is night. It is night, and it will not always be night.
I can see the stars here, they are the holes in the sky punctured by the beaks of millions of birds. I can see the moon here, it is a dirtied snowball. I can feel the air upon my weathered face, it is the struggle of the nearby stream and it is the ephemeral promise of tomorrow.

Similar Articles


This article has 3 comments.

nikkibobiki said...
on Nov. 8 2011 at 5:51 pm
This is mindblowing!

JessiH said...
on Nov. 8 2011 at 5:51 pm
Simply beautiful :)

MayJerros said...
on Oct. 2 2011 at 12:25 pm

Parkland Speaks

Smith Summer

Wellesley Summer