I hate turning off the lights when I go to bed. The darkness makes reality thin like
the sheets I hold on to as my mind starts to wander freely in the absence of everything. I
try to stop it. I’m scared about what it will make up this time. But it is relentless in its
fantastic conceptions of those things that keep me up at night. And so once again, I close
my eyes and let it run.
Inside my mind, memories are an indelible mural and I’m the sloppy artist.
Stepping back and admiring my creation with nostalgia, all my errors jump out at me.
Lines that should be straight make for endless loops and jagged edges. The colors
sometimes drip as if the walls wept with regret. Unable to fix these, I weep with them.
Thousands of immense, concrete walls appear. Looking closer at them, I realize
that they’re made of millions of tiny Mistakes that make the walls buzz. Their collective
hums grow more and more deafening until my ears start to bleed. All these earsplitting
Mistakes are piled one on top of the other so the walls end thousands of miles above me.
Looking up at them, I see a shimmering light coming from over their tops, and somehow
I know that everything I ever wanted is just behind them. Unable to get past them I cry.
Why did I let myself build such high walls? And then a little drink appears in my hand.
It’s labeled Regret, and it’s bitter as it passes down my throat. It’s a treacherous liquid.
I’ve had it many times before. It makes you hear shouts of failure in past, present, and
future tense. And then it makes you smaller and smaller so the walls seem taller and
taller. The shimmering light disappears. Where to now?
There’s a screen. I go up to it and watch. It’s playing something I know, or at least
I think I know it. Like when you remember something but you’re not sure if it was a
dream or it actually happened. The images flash before me but I can’t make sense of
them. It makes me angry. I want to understand what’s happening but my eyes can’t catch
up with the distorted pictures. My throat starts aching and I shout. The shrill shrieks do
nothing to the images in the screen, but I scream even louder. I want to turn it off. For the
love of God someone turn it off. I never noticed how anger could feel so much like fear.
The screen turns off and makes the world black again. Like ether, I am aimlessly.
There’s nothing: no mural, no wall, no screen. One of my hands is free; the other still
grips the thin sheets. I try to will it to open, but I’m scared. Because I know that when I
let it go, I will be no longer.