He came to the window to look outside, elbows tucked by his sides and hands gnarled together, constantly fidgeting. It had only been sixty-eight days in the cell, and already his right eye began losing sight due to the consistent twitch in his left eye, an involuntary wink that had the unfortunate consequence of leaving his right eye drier and drier. He needed his meds. But which ones? Valium, Xanax, a slew of other benzodiazepines waiting to be abused. Without them, he heard more and more of the voices, echoes from past mistakes. There were tantrums, there were roars, but the worst voices were the whispers. He clutched at the back sides of his head, eyes squinted shut. The disappointment in those whispers, reminders of how he lost himself for the sake of pleasure. He let go of the window sill and keeled over on his right side, his sweat-moistened arm sticking to the ground and producing a sucking noise as he rolled onto his back. It’s dark. That’s all he could see. That’s all he could bear to see.
Looking outside was a mistake. It just filled him with jealousy, reminding him of the prison that he was trapped in. He was so jealous of the liberty that the everyday mind indulged in, not needing to analyze every single detail of his visible encounters. Others were free to do as they pleased with their time, meet their friends, have a coffee, exchange pleasantries with attractive passersby. They had no conflicts within themselves, no guards to put up as his own wary eyes passed judgment with every sentence, every word that proceeded out of eyeless mouths. For them, it’s so easy to just take life as it is; for him, he takes life as he interprets it, distrusting the reality in favor of his own brand of truth.
He had fallen many times over the course of his life. But the fall that ruined him most was when he had fallen in love. With lies, he dug himself out of many a hole, but love’s web ensnared the factory of his soul, provoking a thirst that yearned eternally. And so, he started a path that got more and more downtrodden, until he found himself part of the road, trod on by unseeing, unknowing feet, blind to the swoon of his soul, deaf to the beat of his heart, and numb to the warmth of his touch. Pharmacies understood him best, as he began frequenting them more and more, becoming a regular visitor greeted with the thinly veiled disdain of pharmacists who had seen many a case like his. He ground his teeth in frustration. He was different, why couldn’t they see that? He knew about great horizons, stretching onward until they became a point on a meaningless timeline projected in space.
He staggered to his feet, hands over knee to push down the burden of the earth below. And he left his prison that day. He saw that his room, littered with needles and empty orange bottles, may as well have had reinforced metal bars around all sides of it. As long as he stayed indoors, allowing his mind to rot with blank comfort and security, he knew that he would never understand the moon and the sun. He locked the house up, and walked, blinking for the first time as the repressed sigh of two months’ length escaped into his night.