CHAPTER 1: “The Nervous Nurse, The Good Doctor and The Young Man” – AN ADAPTATION

It must have been around 6 am when the young nurse appeared in the doctors’ office with apologetic eyes and speaking with a slight lilt in her voice. “Excuse me? Doctor? Do you have a moment?” She was obviously shaken, for their small town was not used to having this much commotion this early in the morning…or at all, for that matter. Buried in a small town deep inside the valley, most of the days were routine but for the strangely odd shooting or OD’ing – which, for the most part, were out of towners. But this morning had brought something entirely different through the big, blue revolving doors of the town hospital – screaming and screeching incoherencies that the likes of this small town burrowed in between two unnamed mountains would probably never hear outside of a movie or perhaps a ‘new-age’ or ‘modern’ play. The Good Doctor – a serene-looking man in his mid-40s with the air of a person who has definitive answers, who had been sitting at his desk fumbling through documents – calmly raised his eyes over his silver-rimmed glasses and responded with a reassuring tone: “A moment? What’s the question?”

“More of a situation,” replied the nurse with a nervous smile. “A gentleman in exam [room] three.”

The Good Doctor sat up straight and placed his elbows on the desk, cupping his left fist with his right palm and resting his chin on top. He studied the nurse intensely and finally asked her, “What’s the problem?”

She looked uneasy for a moment as she frantically searched inside her head for a rational, coherent or, at the very least, professional answer, but could find none. “That is the problem,” she finally said, sounding almost defeated as she let out a small sigh. “We’re not sure.”

Despite being a small hospital – or perhaps because of it – they were used to running a pretty tight ship, and this nurse in particular had always proven herself more than responsible and diligent. So it came as a surprise and a bit of a concern to the Good Doctor to hear her uttering those words.

“You got the chart?” he calmly asked, extending his left arm as he stood up.

“Right here,” she replied, and handed him the wooden clipboard.

As he looked through it he let out the same type of sigh the nurse had, and with a small shrug of the shoulders and his eyebrows faintly raised, bottom lip curving downwards, he muttered half-loudly, “Not much here to say…”

“No Doctor,” chimed in the nurse, now sounding more alarmed. “No obvious physical trauma; vitals are stable!”

“Name?” he asked.

“No, sir.”

He sat back down on his black leather chair and thought for a moment. His elbows were on the desk again but this time he had the tip of his fingers touching, forming a pyramid against which his lips rested. “Did someone drop him off?” he finally asked. “Maybe we could speak to them. Let’s get some background on this fella.”

“No ID. Nothing!” she answered, losing more and more calm with every word. She was beginning to breathe harder, almost scared to utter the next words, her eyes widening slightly. “And he won’t speak to anybody…”

With a resolute look and aura surrounding him, the Good Doctor stood back up one more time and put on the white coat that was resting on the back of his black leather chair. “Well, let’s say hello,” he said, and signaled the nurse to lead him to the young man’s room. They walked down the hall silently until they arrived at room 008. When they opened the door, they found the shoe-less young man sitting on the bed wearing dirty and torn black-jeans and a black t-shirt with the word “TOOL” written in block letters in the front and an eye with two pupils emerging from fire in the back; his gaze was fixed on the wall and his lips were moving almost imperceptibly as he muttered inaudibly to himself.

“Good morning,” the Good Doctor began. “I’m Dr. Lawson. How are you today?”

There was no response, just a blank stare.

“How – are – you – today?!” he asked again, slowly and loudly as he shone his small flashlight in each eye.

The Good Doctor took a step back and a deep sigh. “Look son, you’re in a safe place,” he said, sounding genuinely friendly. “We want to help in whatever way we can. But you need to talk to us. We can’t help you otherwise. What’s happened? Tell me everything.”

The young man showed his first signs of life as he shot his eyes from the wall to the Doctor, then to the nurse and then back to the Doctor again. He began breathing harder and appearing exasperated and confused. Then he shut his eyes tightly for just a second and re-opened them just as he let out a big breath, as if about to unload a great pain from within…

“Alrighty, then,” he said, tilting his head sideways and raising one eyebrow. “Picture this if you will…”

*******

SECOND SUN

There is a second sun emerging, bright and shimmering. A force unrecognizable by our weak eyes and unknown by our feeble minds. Years of complacency have turned us skeptical to the possibility that things could ever be otherwise; skeptical to the thought that chance can come in strange packages. But in strangeness the seed of progress has been planted, and the water that feeds it is the rarity of lucidty.

So with a Third Eye to the heavens I look, searching and prying for that secret force. An eclipse is visible in the distance as the New Sun overpowers THE OLD. And darkness Rains down as arrows from above. The Tide Ebbs and Flows in anticipation – it dances violently to the drumming in the sky, for lightning has created a show to which thunder resonates- echoing that powerful song of a Mighty Attack.

The Moon Trembles with fear, afraid of its future course, not knowing whether it will survive this new source. We´ve never been exposed to such a change, and the Moon, like us, has become stale. For she resigned herself to the fact that her light was not her own, and like us, it only reflected the light of the Sun. But now, in the face of a new source, it is unsure of its own life.

I spoke to her at night, when she peeked through darkened clouds. I asked her why she felt like she did…why was she not aroused by something that could easily be great as it could easily kills us all..

She answered, desperate and bitter, that her time was not up, for she still had a job.

“But today it could all change,” I insisted. “Today you could be your own…”

“As easily as i could perish,”  she replied, tears running down her face. “And let the skies rain darkness at night…”

But this irrational fear of the end did not convince me, for i found it superfluous and morose to believe that you´d know or decide the time to simply be no more.

“Rather than fear, rejoice!” I ordered, now gaining prowess in my voice.  “For if you perish all that we will have is a chance to start again!”

Then i abandoned her sight and left her to suffer alone. And i roamed the night pondering what the meaning of all this was. Why the Second Sun had decided to only now show its face…what were the conditions that had prompted its birth?

Suddenly the darkness left and the deafening drumming in the skies stopped. The show in the heavens ceased entirely, leaving the Earth reverberating with memories and begging for more. The water, which on my back fell like heavy stones, had washed away my Fear of being all alone; and now, damp and under the quiet stillness of the Earth, the shower had almost seemed all in vein.

Then you could see the blue sky once more in all its glory, sharing the space with two huge fireballs burning side by side.

My eyes met the Rings of Fire with fearless optimism, for it seemed as if we had always been blind before…

DEEPER INTO THE OCEAN

19 SEPTEMBER 2012, 3:42 P.M.

His eyes opened with the early Morning Sun Rays and the Songs of the tiny birds perched on the tree outside his window clamoring for nourishment at the top of their little lungs. His eyes still felt heavy and groggy, but it would pass soon, he knew, because his brain was, for some reason, intact. It did not feel tired or particularly awake either; it was just aware of its own presence and that of the Life taking shape outside of his window. He sat up as he finished opening his eyes, wiping away the last remnants of sleepiness from his face with his right hand, which was still half-asleep. The million pins puncturing his skin this early in the morning were shocking, but they weren’t unpleasant: they seemed to vibe to the Tune outside his window, and they felt right.

As he finished getting up he realized, with amazement, that he was floating and bobbing around in an Ocean.  His room was the same, and nothing seemed to be getting wet. But he just bobbed there – half his body under the water, and half above it.

He finished getting up and slowly inched towards the window in his shorts, shivering lightly as his skin popped with goose bumps and the hair on his body stood up because of the crispy morning. Despite the Light Rays that had awakened him, the morning’s air was heavy and it was obvious it would rain at any minute. When he swung the blinds open widely as he took the opportunity to let his bones in his arms adapt to the chilly morning and those in his legs to the freezing water, another cold breeze whistled by making a ‘wooooshhhhhhhh’ sound and violently swaying the tree outside his window. The tiny birds shut up for a second, but as soon as the gust had passed, they resumed their serenade.

He stood staring outside the window for a few minutes, contemplating the difference between a morning like this in the suburbs of Canada and the chilly Auroras that he once enjoyed in a far-away land in South America, where the cold ‘wooooshhhhhhhh’ would come directly from the Snow-Capped Mountains not 500 yards in front of the little wooden hut in the middle of Green Pastures that extended as far as the eye could see, and where his family had decided to stay for the weekend, visiting relatives that had chosen to seclude themselves and their cow and sheep herds away from the city-hell and far up in the mountains, where it took practice to adjust one’s breathing because the air was not only thin but so crisp that it felt like you were taking huge whiffs with a Mint plant shoved right up your nose; and where the water was so pure that city kids would complain that it tasted too “bland”…This was nothing like that, despite the beautiful orchestra that the birds had now assembled, and the chilly air that gave the impression of purity, and the Ocean that surrounded him…Then he shook himself out of his trance feeling nostalgic for a second, until he realized there was nothing he could do about that at this moment, and then, resigning himself to this depressing reality, he turned around and went to the washroom to cleanse himself, not feeling particularly anything but neutrality.

And so the day went on. People moved in and out of rooms and did this or that. The phone rang at times; at others the television was on. A guest of his brother would come in and out, and the dogs played in the backyard. Everyone seemed in tune with what they were doing – they all seem to know exactly what to do, and how to do it, and why they were doing it. And he watched this happen all day long with a remarkable impassivity. He was not moved left or right or down or up by anything. He just observed, with amazement, that no one even noticed the fact that he was bobbing in an Ocean. And he himself was amazed, for that matter, that no one else was floating too. He realized that everywhere he went, he was inside this Ocean, but no one else seemed to mind…or even get wet!

But at some point – while he performed some menial task that not even he cared for but felt compelled to do it for the sake of activity – he realized that indeed, as he had thought before but had chosen to ignore, something was wrong. He realized that there was indeed something bugging him, despite the fact he didn’t know what it was…but now, he thought, he was definitely closer to figuring it out.

It was precisely this impassivity, he realized, that had been brewing inside of him like water in a tea-pot, and now it was steaming. The paradox was hard to grip at first: how could it be, he thought, that despite feeling nothing – not feeling particularly sad, or depressed or anxious or worried, or happy or elated or excited, or horny or impotent – despite feeling absolutely nothing, he was feelingsomething…and what the hell did this fucking Ocean around him meant????…At first he couldn’t explain, but now it was becoming clear.

********

The thought of not feeling anything had crossed some wires inside, and now that was driving him mad. He sat on a stool in the basement staring at a wall while extremely loud music played in the background, and as he listened to the waves of violent sound he had hallucinations of past times and better times when he had not been captive of this godforsaken impassivity.

He recalled one night in Venezuela outside of a building where a girl he had met there lived. He was eating a sandwich prepared by a vendor with a mobile kiosk – one of the millions that roamed the city – while he waited for her to come down. When she came down, he ordered two more sandwiches and they sat down to eat them before they headed to the bar where they had planned on going earlier that night. They were talking about something when suddenly the mood had turned ugly and people sitting around them had begun to look up from their own conversations to witness this spectacle from these freaks in a foreign language. He could not recall what the argument was about, but he remembered it being very loud and full of swearing – he was sure the scene must have been antagonized by the fact that he had been drinking, which in those days he had been doing a lot of. Whatever the reason for the argument, he remembered two things. One was that it had passed within the next 15 minutes – as the countless list of those arguments had in the past – and that, like all those in the past, too, they had forgotten about it as they drank heavily in his apartment later that night and fucked savagely for the rest of the night until the first Sun-Light would begin to appear on the horizon and the various Rum and wine bottles bounced around the room empty. And the other thing he remembered was one distinct thing which seemed very relevant at this juncture in time, feeling impassive as he was.

Although probably melodramatizing things as most women do, he thought, she had hit a nerve when she told him that part of his insanity – which she often described as being not only evident but simultaneously erotic as well as dangerous and frightening – was due to the fact that he was never able to simply be…

“You can’t just chill out, can you!!??” she had screamed at him hysterically, calling the attention of everyone. “You always have to be feeeeling something,” she said as she squeezed her fists so tightly they turned white. “You’re either in the clouds – happy, ecstatic, high – whether on drugs or not!!…..Or you’re in Hell – in despair! Why can’t you just Chilll!!!”

Well goddamn, he thought, the truth is the truth. What had been bugging him so much was the fact that nothing had happened and that he had been, at a very subconscious (or perhaps unconscious) level looking for a High….or a Low…Basically for anything that had made him feel something.

He had gotten tired of the routine. He realized that he didn’t even want to go to the bars where he used to frequent in the weekends with a posse of other degenerates and fiends like himself, looking for trouble, for drink and for wild and loose women…which was easy to find in those days…and still is today, for matter, if one wants and knows where to look. But now he was not looking for any of that. All that High that came in those days was gone now – at least at this particular moment.

And the Lows, too, for that matter. As he sat there in the basement staring at the wall and letting the music slowly chip away at his ear drums, he realized that he couldn’t even feel that despair and sadness that had consumed him a few months ago at the loss of a beautiful and dearly loved girl whom he had already – foolishly, I may add – envisioned a future with. He had, for months, dragged himself with the snakes and the worms as he descended into a personal hell of catatonic depression. Though the point had never been to kill himself, he had probably consumed more alcohol on a daily basis in the following six months than he had in the past couple of years….But now all that was gone. He didn’t – or couldn’t, he feared – even feel that. He was just…There…Not really Up or Down…but just…there…

But he knew he wanted none of that back. He didn’t want those sleepless nights, fueled by chemical reactions to all sorts of legal and illegal stimulants that would be the razon d’etre for the insanity that would undoubtedly ensue as the nights went on, which would end in violence and shame, at the lowest points, and indiscriminate and perverse fun, at the highest. He also knew that he did not want that despair that would also keep him up at nights and that would transform into horrible hallucinations of a reality he wished were true but knew in his heart could never return: when he’d see the face of that lovely girl assuring everything will be ok, only to lure him into a savage trap that would end with maimed limbs or a distorted psyche.

No…He wanted none of that. He wanted something knew. He realized then that all day, despite his apparent impassivity – and all this time, for that matter – all these days and weeks and months when he had been looking under stones and in heaven and in hell…all this time when he had felt thatimpassivity…all this restlessness and disgust with the routine that he knew he was once part of….all of this had meant something: that he now looked for something Beautiful. He wanted action, sure, that was indisputable – he wanted to see the world, to travel it, to know it, to digest it, to let others know of what is happening with no censorship at all….But he wanted to see something Beautiful, first. He wanted to be blinded by something so Amazing that he’d be left speechless…Something like what that Lovely Girl had once meant. He wanted to be Shocked out of this impassivity…of this routine…of this dormancy….of this complacency…

**********

So now he looks for it. He has left home. He is walking without shoes outside, letting the rain cleanse him of that old and antiquated view. He wants to look forward. He wants to see past the Horizon. So he’s decided to submerge himself, and now, as I write these last words, I can only see the trail of his kicking feet under the water, as he goes deeper and deeper into that Ocean that has apparently been Sourrounding him all his Life.