My name is Paul

I blink and there are stars overhead.

Only when I close my eyes. But then it’s like the inside of a giant blue black nightime balloon. The fire of galaxies, stars and supernova. I feel a little crazy. I’m weak.

I understand something is about to happen. I’m excited.

I close the door behind me and sit down in the tiniest of rooms.

There’s a change of pressure, like an airlock and the room groans like a wooden ship.

The most intricate and elaborate shelving you can imagine. Right angles and curves, sloping and graduated, square and circular slots. A porthole of a window at the top of the wall on my right. Desk, chair and architecture of an order that speaks to my sensibilities as fast as my eyes can move.

The leather is creaky. Like it’s old or maybe really new. Like I’m being whispered to. Rolled parchment, tied with ribbon. Red wax seals. Small jars. delicate corks. Coins and watches. Maps on the wall. Globes high up in the corners. Protractors and compasses. They turn when I’m not looking. I hear them squeak and scratch. Beakers and scales. The wind blows outside. I smell cinnamon and cedar.

Rows of drawers, like a library card file. Grids like a post office. Boxes and cartons. Thick green glass in stainless steel. A perch for birds bearing messages and all sorts of chutes and tubes. Chaos on a scale for the singular brain.

Pedals at my feet, switches at my fingers and overhead screens coming into view. Keyboards. Headgear with elaborate receptacles. Things I don’t recognize. Shapes that touch me back. Holographs trying to tell me something.

When I start to hear the room it shocks me. A giant lump of fear settles in my pelvis, in my intestines. It’s starts with old recordings, radio addresses and big band music. In no time it’s black and loud and panicked. Then old video game sounds and music, music, music. Fax and modem bleeps and even more music and speeches and noise. It changes channels back and forth all the while getting louder.

It shakes me, my fucking bones rattle and vibrate. I’m sweating. It screams so loud my head feels like an egg shell cracking.

It stops.

I linger for a minute but I’m so confused. It’s like I can’t focus my eyes.

Leather and oil on wood opulence. Polished metal. Brass and copper. It smells just like that.

I need to step out. I feel overwhelming deja vu. I reach for the slim door and end up on the floor of my garage. It’s night. The door barely clicks behind me. My car doesn’t tick but it’s huge and sleek. Outside the wind is giant inhales and exhales. I hear whales. I feel drugged.

Inside, the microwave clock tells me 3:15. I have to think about what I’ve seen.

I’m panicky. I need a drink.

I like to imagine department stores when I’m confused. There’s an order that comforts me. A certain retail gust that makes me feel safe. The idea of old grocery stores comforts me immensly. The scents of produce, bread, solvents and cleansers under white fluorescents with the chill of a Fall Sunday morning.

See it. Smell it.

I can go to a public place, the scent of textiles or a mall, popcorn and the click of heels, lose my shit and they will get me to my parents. Break down in public and you will get all the help you need. I’m thinking about the Bay Area or Seattle.

I don’t care what day tomorrow is.

A girl named Julie told me once that if I didn’t watch a particular network medical drama, I couldn’t possibly understand medicine. I thought about how a television show could possibly help me to understand medicine.

I’m telling you this because I have to.

I’m Paul.

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