The padded walls shook. The canvas felt warm against his skin. The chains a comfort. Yet the walls shook.
“The word ‘schizophrenia’ comes from Greek words meaning ‘split mind.’ But the ‘split’ is not referring to ‘split personality,’ but rather to the fact that the person is ‘split from reality.’”
Reality. What a word. What a thought.
“Reality: The quality or state of being actual or true. One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual. The totality of all things possessing actuality, existence, or essence. That which exists objectively and in fact.”
It was many years ago that he had begun to hold to two realities. Actual reality, and virtual reality – what some might call hope, or dreams, or love, or happiness. They both existed, simultaneously, yet never met. They lived in different worlds and different times, they passed not like ships but like two cars on a dark desert road – only headlights and mystery.
And now the walls shook. Shook from the effort, the years of trying to reconcile these tangent realities, which grew together yet apart, one always exempting the other. Two countries, two presidents, two veto powers. Two religions descendent from two brothers, the father long since forgotten.
“The corpus callosum connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres. Most (but certainly not all) communication between regions in different halves of the brain are carried over the corpus callosum.”
There lacked a bridge. Two lovers, catching sight of one another after long journeys, now separated by a body of shimmering water. Yet search as they may, no boat, no raft, no way around.
The spells began, cast by the cruel passions of the heart, a cold fire that could tickle the spine in expectancy, or numb the extremities with its wrath. These worlds would not meet, no peace would be struck between them. And yet he tried. He believed. He worked like a slave to this terrible master. It was this master who moved the walls when he refused to look inside once again, to face the fire, the cold, the darkness, the lack.
And so he stared at the cloth, at the window high above, the earthquake never subsiding, the Richter scale exponential. No drink to curl around, no smoke to breathe, no waist to hold, no chest on which to lay. He lay instead on the floor, his rough clothes tactile, the manacles heavy like sleep. The shaking sped and slowed, sped and slowed, and he vomited.
Until finally, he closed his eyes, and succumbed to the journey, the journey inside to that desert road, that lovers’ lake, that divided house, those warring nations, that cold fire that always burned but always desired to burn brighter.