Sneezing Inside

‘Such a little child,’ Paul looks down at me, ‘this is not fitting of you.’ Beneath it all, apart from all the little things that have happened in the last two days, I am wrecked. Life feels to be stopping short. I am liquid, I am tears. ‘Look at you,’ Paul screams, ‘look!’

‘You are either getting worse,’ Paul begins to pull the sheets off me, ‘or you are getting better. That is all the choices you can have.’ The cold air rushes up my legs and I feel the sneezes coming on. Immediately, my nose begins to run and my eyes burn as if acid had parachuted from a plane through my roof. ‘No, no, no, do not take it easy!’

‘We fight fire with fire, pleasure with pleasure,’ Paul stirs something into a cup, steam floods the room, ‘with fight monstrous with monstrous.’ There is something so difficult to describe about my repulsion to Paul at this moment. His energy, I loath. How he takes for granted the energy he wastes talking. Leave me alone, let me rest, let me get better.

But there is also something about his disregard for proportion. It attracts. He is constantly spilling, exaggerating, flexing his body. ‘There is never a moment of repose,’ Paul flips me over and pours the boiling liquid on my back, ‘do not let your mind play such a game with you.’ The words, I feel like saying, don’t even make it to my mind because I am so sick.

‘If you are sick, well, really sick,’ Paul squabbles as he slaps the liquid into my hair, ‘you must find what your new upper limit is otherwise you will always be working to maintain your minimum.’ But I am sick, at least a new low point for me, and as I think about what he just said I realize something. Though he wants me to find my new upper limit, in reality, he is helping me find my new upper limit.

Doing this and that for me. Helping me here and there, Paul is finding my limit. That is something I doubt even he has realized yet. I don’t think I can imagine myself helping him in a similar way. But it is there, he really is taking some of the first baby steps for me. ‘Desire, pleasure, the monstrous,’ Paul says, ‘always appears to be revolving around two.’

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About Rene Diebenkorn

Lifetime Artist. ETC.

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