Inside an eighty-seven year-old man asleep on his bed nests a man that is seventy. The younger man who has been kept prisoner in the dark for seventeen years could be mistaken for his warden except that the absence of light has diminished his size. He plans to wake the old man in a few moments and ask for a glass of water.

Inside the seventy year-old man waits a fifty-three year-old. He has been thirsty much longer than either of his keepers but what's more urgent to him is that he has to pee. He's going to insist they get up and go to the bathroom.

Inside the fifty-three year-old cramps one that is thirty-six. Though he is younger than the other three, he feels his confinement more acutely. He's squirming around inside, trying to push his way out, but escape is useless. Here exists a paradox of age, that middle-aged people feel more pressure. Eventually his frustration will force the eighty-seven year-old to open his eyes and wonder why he's suddenly wide awake.

The nineteen year-old has been inside the others so long he's lost touch with reality. He's hallucinating, hearing colors and seeing sounds as they filter through the many layers of himself. In the fragment of a second before his unconscious mind gives itself over to the conscious mind, the old man will feel this disorientation rising from deep inside him.

A two-year-old is at the center of it all. He's so young and insulated it's like being in his mother's womb again. Nothing matters. He floats in this darkness as if it's a fluid. He breathes and he eats the darkness. He'll never grow another centimeter because he's entirely content. As he stares into the blankness that is his universe, impulses flicker like stars all around him. The instant he feels one and reaches for another, he lets go of everything.

This explains why the eighty-seven year-old wakes in a bed that is wet.


© David Feela