What He Was

ku-xlargeOkay, so this is an strange little story. I found an odd entry on Wikipedia and decided to crawl inside it…

Like any delusion, it was borderless and stretched from a single moment to subsume reality. He couldn’t say when he became glass, only when he discovered he’d always been.

Glass has different, sharper angles, and he’d always felt them. Only recently, however, had he begun to fear, worrying a bone might erupt from his thigh at sitting or standing too quickly. He didn’t picture his glass skeleton as you might think, like sticks of pure ice or crystal. Instead he felt gray inside, every piece jagged, poured or shaped with tongs instead of blown and stretched from fiery blobs. His parts would never refract light but absorb it, mixed as they were with ash and air. Their dull translucence came closer to brittle metal than prisms.

They might splinter at turning or lifting his hand to eat, and he sometimes wished they would. He wanted proof. Every time he tried to explain the truth only he knew, his father’s impatience glowed a little whiter. He threatened his son with beatings fit to remind him how different flesh and glass are. His father said he meant one day to cure him of pillows, of clockwork caution, of resignation, of paralysis. If his father’s blow came without warning, he’d be happier, as the surprise would save him from shattering when he braced himself.

His mother preferred reason, cooing reassurance. He couldn’t be glass, she said, because she’d carried him and would’ve sensed it. She told him how he’d slipped from inside her, more rubber than glass, and how, bathing him, she’d wondered at his rounded knees and elbows, his head like an unpicked gourd. He couldn’t convince himself nearly as easily as she could convince herself and wouldn’t bear her trying to touch him or come near him.

The doctor blamed his schooling, pressures he couldn’t bear and so made real and physical. The priest said he needed to place God before himself, that his illness arose from self regard replacing faith he’d abandoned. His friends stopped thinking of him, and there was no woman to love a glass man.

The days spent in bed stretched forward and backward, and he dreamt of a stream that might run harmlessly around him, washing away clay that wasn’t glass and revealing him as only he saw he truly was. He wanted to be seen. He wanted to be known at last.

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3 Comments

Filed under Allegory, Anxiety, Depression, Doubt, Experiments, Fiction, Identity, Kafka, Laments, Metaphor, Parables, Parenting, Prose Poems, Solitude, Sturm und Drang, Surrealism, Thoughts, Worry

3 responses to “What He Was

  1. I like this one. One of your best.

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