The Last One Standing

We’ve been waiting for this far too long.

What? What is it? Can you tell me, Mother Earth – Mother of the Seas, Mother of the Pearl, Mother-of-the-World-is-Your-Oyster?

I am going to tell you that you’re a special one.

No, man – you say that to everyone.

And that is the truth. Everyone is special in their own right.


She was not much older than I was, yet she was sitting in a swivelly chair with cushions and elbow pads. Across from me, in a consultation room. “While I had stooped so low, you had soared so high…” I smile at her. “I’m just amazed at how far you’ve come.

 

She offers me a wry smile in return. “Well, why, thank you? But honey -”

 

I cringe. She notices. “Sorry, is that too much?

YES. IT IS. “No, it isn’t.” I grab a tissue anyway. Her eyebrows raise. The foundation is set tightly on her face, perfectly primed – I could never do a full face of make-up like her so perfectly. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

My wrists turn in as they start to wring, my lips dry and chucking out the next words like unwanted profanity. “I – I’m so sorry, but I can’t do this. Like, this is what happened with each and every other session. I don’t answer to cliche questions of what’s wrong because I don’t fucking know what’s wrong. I’m aware that I sound like a hopeless, spoiled brat – no, I don’t expect you to bend to my whims and ask me some abstract, absurd question that messes up my stupid mind even more – but – but – please. Anything but that question.” I feel the snot start to gather in my nose. The lady around my age, sitting across from me, with a face full of perfect makeup, starts to fold a piece of paper neatly in half. She folds it into quarters.

She looks up. “Why don’t you look at it from another angle? I’m not asking you what’s wrong in general.” She stops folding the paper. She slides it towards me. “What is this? A piece of paper. But when we use our brains and fingers to nimbly and deftly fold and crease and kiss corners, what becomes of it? Some could call it origami; some could call it the creator of living organisms from the dead piece of paper. It depends  on how you look at it.”

“So I was actually asking you this, alright – what’s wrong with calling you honey?’ I feel my tongue curl in. “I mean…don’t you find it wrong?

 

She snatches the piece of paper back. “I don’t, because I can’t see what you’re seeing. What exactly is wrong with it? Explain, because I’m seeing the paper blank while you’re seeing it as quarters of a crane about to be born.” My eyes flicker down to the paper, her nails skimming the surface of the paper. Nice  role reversal. “I’m not seeing it as quarters, though – I’m seeing it as blank”, I offer a chuckle, “I can’t see it as anything else other than dead.”

The lights turn off. My shoulders jolt up, peaking like mountain tops along a mountain range. Instantly, the temperature turns lower. I’m trapped in not only  my brain, but a horror movie plot? Seems legit. I’m done with therapists and consultants and the constant ocean of pain and shame over me. I’m ready to surrender. I do not mind. I do not mind.

“Mother Earth”, I start. There’s an invisible, lingering whisper in the air, tugging my tongue towards the rise and fall of their slow intonation. “Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Mother of the seven seas and twelve months and every rock on this world”, can you help me? just let me go.

I sit there and wait. I even cross my legs, straighten my shoulders, make sure my pony-tail hairs are in a uniform brush down my back. I am your good student, Master Universe, and I am ready to be dislocated and disjointed and torn from limb to limb and peeled fifteen times over and wrung, up, with a clothes peg, on a star, in your great galaxy. Just floating, just nebulous, non-negotiably gone from this place.

The lady across from me appears in the darkness. Her eyes are gone and her neck has grown longer. I am staring at a crane, but somehow, I know that she is the woman I saw before. Her paper flesh ripples  to surface a pair of lips. I instinctively poise my body to follow any instruction.

“My human.”

Wet. Wet, wet, wet the tears are. They skim down my face like a pair of ice-skaters – Olympians – in their home: ice.

“Just look at yourself in the great  chain of being. You are my precious human, and you are near the top. And you have earned that place.”

So has everyone else! Why is my heart-beat worth more than theirs? Why? Why? WHY?

“My human. You keep falling  into this cycle. You need to stop understanding what others think of you, why you’re unequal to others – superior or inferior – because all of you are equal and each to be cherished. I love my humans.”

I anticipate a hashtag #LOVEYOURSELF. The crane continues, in the dark.

“We’re in the dark now because it is easy to see yourself like this. You often let your imagination run wild when it’s dark, right? Because you can see anything, even though it isn’t there. So imagine yourself. What do you want to be.”

It’s strange…

I find it strange that when I close my eyes, all I see is myself. A mirror image. An identical twin. “You see yourself. My job is done.”

My eyes are still closed, but I can see her disappear. The lights turn back on. My body feels an unwelcome heat.

The lady is seated across from me. I half expect her to pat me on the shoulder and tell me that I’ve fallen asleep and drool is making its way down my chest.

Instead, she turns to me and speaks with light in her eyes,

“Everything was real. You looked at yourself and saw you were real. All you need to do is go home.”

Home  I went. I paid the bill without flinching or cursing at myself inside for withdrawing such a large sum of money out from the bank to pay for this medical treatment.

Because I understood that I had needed it.

And I was here, now, standing, solid flesh, real.

All  I needed to do was understand myself. If not, who else would?

The last one standing for yourself, willing to understand you, is YOU.