Heart worm

Waking up with a start was not her favorite thing, but she didn’t have any choice. Sitting up now, breathless, forehead slightly damp, she felt the memory of her dream fading as rapidly as fog dissipates in the sun. Like a Chinese yo-yo, the harder she tried to extract the images, the deeper they sank into the abyss of her unconscious. What did she see? There was a residual sense of finality, though only under a certain set of conditions. Anything short of those conditions was mercifully up for negotiation.

Outside her window all was still dark; celestial sphere was continuing on its nightly round. The digital clock insistently stated “3:10 AM” in large red symbols. She lay back on her pillows. Why was there such foreboding? She realized that at 3:10 in the morning rationality was off duty. That must be what’s going on, she thought. She tried to breathe rhythmically, to shut off all thoughts. Slowly she could feel her muscles relax and start to twitch lightly, announcing the advent of sleep.

The clock ground to “3:40 AM.” The room was soundless, air heavy. The worm burrowed its way under her skin and breast bone, heading straight for the heart. Although it was its first such journey, it made sure that when she woke in the morning, she wouldn’t notice any difference. Not yet.

Eternity would take a little longer

Time turned into a cruller, a double-helix folding in on itself without warning. Causality became more tenuous than it had ever been, and she was now reluctant to invoke it altogether. Nothing was clear. Did the lightning cause thunder or was it the other way around, or was it some third or fifth or one-hundred-and-sixth factor that was to blame? Her world was becoming a kind of a primordial soup that made very little sense in light of what she currently knew.

Yet instead of being scared, she noticed a certain eagerness in herself that had not been there before. The delight of the newness reminded her of a childhood squandered in the wrinkle of a brow. She sensed that this was an opportunity to learn anew, without preconceived notions, without expectations. So what that it didn’t make sense? Had it not all been an illusion anyway, all that sense of control?

But there was still the matter of mortality that she snagged on every time. Since she knew now that unvented thoughts and feelings had transformed her into a festering septic tank, she felt that the right thing was to stay with it. Yet she realized that she didn’t have the vocabulary to think it through. Time, punctuated by the beat of its units, she understood. Eternity would take a little longer.


These days the ebbs and flows of her despair were largely subject to random forces. That’s why developing any kind of a forecasting algorithm seemed like a fool’s errand. That didn’t stop her from trying. The appearance of the second moon did not make the task any easier, though it should have. At least most of the time now she felt tinged with green herself.

Love was unconditionally conditional, she knew. She was moving through her life at the speed of light, just like everything else. What would life be like if she had to wonder? If all the answers were not already at her fingertips? If her next act could not be predicted? Was it possible that she was indeed developing free will?

At this she had to sit; such hurtling had left her vertiginous. She felt as if the shrink-wrap was unraveling rapidly now and she, like a chrysalis, was about to step into some liminal space. Soaring without a wire was dangerous business, she knew. Yet what choice did she have but to follow this trail of crumbs?