It was dark, I remember that clearly because I thought that was odd, considering it was daytime. Surrounded by books, I had long ago gotten lost in a sea of words that continued to cascade about my psyche. Why was I even bothering? I knew more psychology than anyone I knew. Heh, the psychology of rapists and rape victims. The books were no help at all. They could not tell you the psychology of a rapist – what made him chose his victims? what made him continue when they had already turned down his advances? What made him hurt them? None of the rapists would comment. I doubt that they even really knew themselves.
It was among these swarming words and testimonies that I had fallen asleep. Losing myself into darkness, and when I woke, the darkness continued to surround me. Though I glanced at my watch and saw that it was still only three in the afternoon, it seemed everything had been tinted with black. I began to stack the books together once again into neat little piles that would be perfectly easy to carry, and standing, drew my crutches close.
Books and crutches do not easily mix. It was difficult to pick them up in the first place, but to continue to balance them against my torso and manoeuvre my way out of the library was one of the hardest challenges of my life. At the door a girl stood, she was smiling and chatting to her friends, behind her, I could finally see that the sunshine was still glinting through the trees. It reflected off the shining brown hair, parted delicately in the middle.
I am such a klutz. As a got near I felt a twisting in myself. A stirring. It began in my chest, a painful sensation, and spread to my stomach, tying it into knots. I twitched and the books tumbled unceremoniously from my arms. The thudding of the heavy texts falling upon the shining floor caused me to cringe with embarrassment that I daren’t not show on my face. I was certain that everyone had heard them and that everyone was now looking at me, especially the girl whose feet they had fallen to.
I tried to bend, the crutches getting in my way, more of a hindrance than a help, but before I could reach, her fingertips were curling around them. She swept them up into a neat pile within her arms and clutched them close against her breast. “Here, let me help.” I shifted. Accepting a help from a young girl. I knew she thought I was pathetic, useless. I could see in her eyes that she did not think I was worth much, no more than a single offer of help.
Begrudgingly I mumbled a polite thank you and allowed her to lead me outside. Once in the dazzling sunshine, I remember it going black again, if only for a few moments. The darkness of that day would haunt me forever. I inclined my head towards my vehicle which was sitting with pride of place, parked close to the library doors. Some students milled about outside, but they were heading into the library and soon we were alone. I moved forward and pulled open the passenger door with the intention of putting the books in first.
Patronisingly she leaned forward to put them in for me. I could have done that myself, but of course, I knew that she thought me incapable. She was close to me when she bent and I could smell the slight trace of lavender shampoo. It stuck in my nose and would always remind me of her. The curve of her neck was exposed as her dark hair tumbled in long waves over her shoulders. Before I knew what had happened, she had tumbled forward and into the car.
It is not comfortable. The mattress which I am lying upon is the hardest I have ever felt in my life. I can feel the crick in my back as my muscles begin to tighten into knots. I turn onto my side to face the solid stone of a cold wall. It is offering no warmth whatsoever. In fact, it is simply radiating cold. I shudder but close my eyes. I always feel trapped in small spaces. Confined and caged in. I am like a bird who spends all day, singing about, and dreaming of, escape.
It was not comfortable. She deserved a comfortable mattress, filled with feathers, light as air. Instead, she was pressed against the cold wood flooring of the cabin. I saw the light dimming. Now I understood the darkness. My fingertips slowly traced over the curve of her shoulder, down her delicate collarbone, and to the base of her throat. It was slightly bruised which made me worry, but she told me that it was okay. That it was nothing to worry about.
Her mouth was opened in a small wide ‘o’ incredibly inviting. But I knew that she was cold because I could see her lips turning blue. I turned and pulled the cover that was to the side, hidden away by cardboard boxes, over the two of us, and slid close to her skin.
Besides her, holding her, I felt an incredible release. I had never felt so free as I did in that moment. Every time I left I could feel a constriction in my chest, it was making me worried that I would need to see someone. Maybe there was something wrong. I exercised every day, I was a good-looking, strong, and generally, fit young man. There was no way I should be having constrictions and chest pains. But as soon as I was lying beside her they subsided.
I never wanted her to leave. I told her everything that I had never told anyone else before. To start with, I could tell her about my mother. That was a secret that I had been carrying around with me since my birth. I had known about it – in some way – since I was four, but now I had all the proof that I needed, and still I could not come out and say it. Hemmed in by the confines of society, I had to pretend to be someone else.
But we were never stilled by society. We were beyond their reach. My fingertips would slip between hers, gently. I knew she had broken her finger, though again she would not tell me how, and I did not want to cause her any further pain. I whispered to her all my secrets, and she freed me. With a smile upon my lips, I closed my eyes and rested, even if only for a few moments. Soon it was time to leave.
Covering her over, I took care of her. She had not the strength to do her own makeup, but she wanted to look good, and feel good about herself. I helped out, adding blush to her pale cheeks, reddening her far too light lips with a coat of gloss. When I looked back from the door, muscles already taunt, I saw how beautiful she looked and knew I would not be able to stay away long. Then, out in the darkness, I returned to my cage.
The uncovered bulb swings unattractively in the centre of the room. It casts little light upon the typewriter and I make a note to complain about this at the next hearing. It is completely inadequate conditions to put any human being in but I am being made to suffer and endure. I swept my finger over the words on the page, attempting to keep my place as the light finally settled into place. I looked back to my typed letter, and once again began to write of my freedom. There was only one person I could trust now, and she would understand my need for freedom best.
None of them ever stay though. I knew she would be no different. When she was not there for me anymore, I had no choice but to move on. To find someone else who could understand me, who could set me free, who would allow me to truly be myself. I guess I was lucky. I was a good-looking guy, intelligent and going somewhere. Although I was quiet and quite often injured, I was never short of a body lying beside me.
She was so beautiful I could not believe my luck. The long hair which always rested over her shoulders and looked fabulous spread out on the floor behind her. Her pert breasts with that odd bite mark that I had only just noticed recently. I wondered if I had caused that. Sometimes I thought that I did not really know who I was. That I was two people. But I know with her I could always be the true me. I could be released. I wish I could remember it properly. I remember the feeling of freedom.
Freedom is addictive. It is like taking a drug. I was addicted to her. Even as she went from warm to cold, I wanted her, desperately. I would hold onto her. I would keep her with me this time. Thinking of different ways to keep her, I decided to spice things up. I tied her hands above her head, handcuffing them to the pipe within the cabin. I treated her body with care, and when she cried out for more, I treated it roughly. She was squirming with such pleasure and crying ‘no’- keep going. Don’t -stop’.
Yet still, she left me. When you have tasted freedom once it is so difficult to give it up. You crave it nearly every moment of every day. This is America! I thought. Was I not supposed to be free? Where we not all supposed to be from our birth? But the freedom I had previously tasted was a lie. I knew I had found the good stuff here, that I was going to have to have it again.
I move around the library relishing in the light shed upon the array of books. This is knowledge, this is intellectual freedom. I feel at home here. Moving around the stacks, I begin to browse when a window beckons to me. The light outside. True light, and air, and I can feel freedom again. I can taste it, bittersweet upon my tongue. I know I, like so many others, can never truly be free again, but maybe for a few more moments, I can just taste that freedom. The same freedom I used to know so well.
I had never been to Florida before but was extremely glad I had come now. It is warm and people are friendly. I have found a place to stay in no time. There are many people there and making friends is, as it always is, easy. I know I could start again here. In no time I can have everything I had before and more. I may even be able to be free again, if I try hard enough to find someone to share that freedom with.
I have enrolled in the local university. I want intellectual freedom, just like I have gotten beforehand and I know deep down that this was the only way in which I can get it. A formal education, in a place which could provide me with all the information in the world. I play sports, keep my physique, and smile at passing girls. It has been a long time since I have broken anything, but one day while playing I hurt my arm and found myself in a sling.
I always feel especially inadequate at these times. Being unable to fully realise my physicality is always difficult, it is especially horrible when I am trying to study. I do not have a car right now, not one of my own, I am borrowing them from others, and so carrying books home is difficult. It is when I am walking home past the sorority houses that I see her.
She is so striking. I can see how her hair framed her face, accentuating all of her beauty. I can see she is kind, gentle, and I know that I will be able to be myself with her. She will accept me truly, accept me for who I am. And once again I can taste that freedom that I so crave. I can be happy at least for these few moments we will share.
It is a quick and wild love affair. It makes me ashamed to think of how torrid it is. It has only lasted a single night, but I feel like I have given her my entire world. And I know she has given her life to me. She is a freaky sort. Odd preferences, but this is her freedom and since she is giving me mine, who am I to deny her hers? Again, I hear the familiar pleas of ‘no’-keep going and don’t ‘stops’ that have become synonymous with freedom.
It has ended as quickly as it has started. I feel lost, for the first time since experiencing true freedom, I feel truly lost. The world is black. Don’t ask me to tell you more than that. I do not know any more.
These tired walls seem so familiar. I could tell you every crevice. I could draw a picture of this room in my mind. I will remember this until the day that I die, and the constriction within my chest tells me that this will not be long now. Will it be another form of freedom? Will death be another release? I can not explain it but although I know that in life I am not able to truly live, I am scared that death will not be a freedom, but a complete and utter condemnation. It is natural to fear death is it not. This will be my last note. The last thing I have to say. Before everyone else is given their freedom, at my expense.