a mat is on the otherwise bare performing area. harsh bright lights. jim lies in his world of the mat.
I lie here in my universe of the mat, my bed. I always have been here lying in my universe forever, forever. My mat, my pillow, my sheet, my blanket…for countless force-fed meals, enemas, baths, shaves, haircuts, pissed-on sheets…many many harsh-lighted days, many, many semi-dark nights. Outside my universe there are bony fingers, blotch-skin creatures. Sometimes they invaded my universe…the sickly-sweet smelling ones. They “take care of me”…they handle me like they handle my pillow. Their voices are high, loud, flat. Sometimes they lie on beds beside mine, moaning and crying for alone many many, then they get quiet and others of them carry the still ones away. There are always new ones, but they are always the same. There are different bony fingers who invade my universe, who strip me, probe me stretch me until it hurts…do strange things to me like rubbing ice on my body then brushing me hard. They talk to me in funny ways…loud and flat. They say, “We are doing this for your own good.” They don’t think I understand what they are saying. I don’t understand most of their words. But I understand enough, I understand I am not a Mister, a Mrs., a Miss, a Nurse, a Doctor. I understand I am not bony fingers. They can keep their universe of bony fingers. I am not going out of my universe of the mat. I understand enough. A long long, when I cried out, they made me numb. I do not like being numb. In my universe of the mat, I am not numb. But they said crying out was not “appropriate behavior”. I do not think appropriate behavior is good.
Everything that is not appropriate behavior makes me feel. But I understand enough to stop crying when the bony fingers are around. Stop making any sound, any move when they are around. They stopped making me numb. I understand enough. I discovered a way of rubbing myself that makes me warm, makes me feel good. Bony fingers slapped me away from feeling good. Not appropriate behavior. I understand enough. I do appropriate behavior in the harsh light when they are around. I am still, quiet. In my universe of the mat. I do not even look into their world. I am busy creating within me. But when the harsh light goes and the semi-darkness comes…when only the still or moaning bony fingers are around…I move, I laugh, I cry, I rub my body and good feeling comes. Not so loud or so much that the harsh light, the bony fingers, and their numbness come back. But just enough. And by rubbing, I know I am not bony fingers.
In the harsh light, they treat me just like my pillow. They change me just like they change my pillow. Always fast like they need to move on. Sometimes, the special bony fingers, the prodders, stand over me and say I should come into their universe, what they are doing to me will help me. They talk like they talk to my pillow. Why should I want to go into their world of greys, where everyone wears white? In my universe of the mat, I lie on smooth warm softness and create the brightest colors and the sweetest sounds to surround me. But I am not worried. Bony fingers never really believe I ever can enter their universe.
I only wish I was not the only soft fingers…I wish there was another soft fingers in my universe of the mat…someone to share in the bright colors and sweet sounds…someone I could laugh with, cry with, move with, share good feeling with…someone who would be with me on the mat, touch me not like touching my pillow, not like pulling things out of me or to make me different. But just because we are the only soft fingers in the universe of the mat.
There is a new prodder. Do not look at bony fingers. But catch sight of same white. Miss Roberts talking to a pillow called Mr. Merrill. Same words about “to make you better”. But sound of voice is somehow different, softer. The touch is still changing the pillow of me. But not bony fingers! I sneak a peak. Same white, but different. The skin is soft like my skin. The smell is almost like my smell. Almost enough to try to open my universe to this new soft fingers. But words came, the same words as bony fingers. The prodding soft fingers strips me bare just like she is changing the pillow of me. Easier to probe my pillow of a body. The prodding fingers does the same hurting “make you better” exercises on me as the other bony fingers before. And then the going somewhere else fast. And the touching the pillow of me, instead of touching me.
When the soft fingers and the harsh light were gone, I cried louder than before. I do not care if they make me numb. Maybe numbness is better if soft fingers are the same as bony fingers, if soft fingers also want me to go into grey and white, if soft fingers does not want to be with me, then numbness is better.
Soft fingers keeps coming back. At first, rushing to somewhere else, trying to pull me into the grey universe. I know how to fight against that bony fingers trick. But I like her soft warm skin touching me…like my soft warm sheet under me. Sometime soft fingers forgets about helping me, about making me a better person. For that moment we are the only ones in the universe…together. Then soft fingers remembers the bony fingers and starts touching me like a pillow again.
But the moments of being together grow. I like when she forgets and makes mistakes and comes closer into my world. I like when she just sits on my mat…on our mat…and just looks at me, just listens to me. I feel more and more like I can show her my moves, show her my sounds. I like when soft fingers became Jane and I became Jim. I like when Jane just lies on the mat and we just look at each other, listen to each other, even when we really don’t understand what meaning…but we feel. I like it when Jane starts making her own noises, not just bony words. I like when Jane holds my hand. I like when Jane comes into my world of dim light, when she wears colors bright, soft, smooth flowing…not bony fingers white…and even her hair is flowing strangely soft. I like when Jane comes wearing the colors soft even in the harsh light. I like when Jane makes the harsh light go away for a while, when Jane rocks me, when Jane rubs my head. I like when Jane slowly takes all the colors off. She is soft everywhere. She lies next to me on the mat. She makes soft sounds and soft moves, just like me. She is just like me now. Two soft fingers on the mat. I like when Jane lets me rub Jane’s back, when Jane calls me Jim. I like it when we are in our universe of the mat sharing not appropriate behavior…laughing, crying, making good feeling come. Rocking or holding hands made different good feelings come together, making soft sounds together, together making good feelings come.
But suddenly Jane was gone. I was alone in happiness. Jane would come back into the happiness with me on the mat. So I was happy.
But when Jane came the next day, she was in bony white. Jane had become like bony fingers again. She said what we were doing was not appropriate behavior. She used words like romance and sexual that I did not understand. Jane left. The numbness came back without the bony fingers giving me anything.
Jane came back as bony fingers. I kept rising out of the numbness in hope whenever Jane came, but then fell deeper and deeper.
Jane came. I could not hold the crying back. I cried in the harsh light. Then Jane cried too. She made the harsh light go away. She came back into our universe of the mat and rocked me. Jane told me to teach her the noises and the moves of our universe of the mat. Now I have another soft fingers, Jane, on the mat, in the universe with me, together with me.
Together we can expand the universe beyond the mat. Jane can bring other soft fingers in. The bony fingers begin to fade. I can see, begin to see colors beyond the mat, begin to hear laughter beyond the mat. Jane says she and I together will explore the universe that is outside. She and I are happy.
© Frank Moore 1986-2002
From the book Chapped Lap by Frank Moore, published by Inter-Relations.
Read about the history of the “Out of Isolation” video here:
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