Casper Smith

It starts on a day so hazy you can hardly see your backyard. It’s as though you live in a void of toxic smog where tall shadowy figures move just beyond the artificial horizon. You can hear murmurs of an unknown language, but never intelligible. Your home—house—looks to be in order, but something is out of place. Maybe it’s you that’s out of place. You shuffle around the house, making as little sound as possible, taking up as little space as possible. Your heart aches, but why? You shuffle around the house, closing the blinds. It is a hazy day, and your heart aches.

            Some think that the eyes are the windows to the soul. You think your eyes are shuttered for the year-round season. Lids open to be polite, of course, but the blinds are closed. It wasn’t you that shuffled around your mind and closed the blinds though. At least, not that you. You think of your head as a home—house. If the eyes are the windows, the mouth must be the door. That’s shuttered too. Locked up tight for the year-round season so nobody can find you inside. Others might think the antagonist is the shadows, or the whispers. You’re not so sure.

            Some think that a truly healthy person has perfect harmony between the mind and the body. You think you might have been decapitated. The two are strangers in a coffee shop, making eye contact across a chasmic divide, and quickly glancing away. It opened up one season, that chasm, and never quite got around to sealing itself back up. Your body is the important one—at least as far as everyone else is concerned. Your body is the one that can show them, can speak in a way that convinces everyone that the shutters are open, though it will never provide proof. It is your mind that does the shuffling, shrinking, shuttering. Maybe someday the two will stand up, cross the chasm, greet each other, learn each other’s names. You’re not so sure.

            You stop shuffling when you’re told. You will only begin again in the morning, but that’s not important. It gives the shadows time to tug at the blinds, rip them open again, shout things at the windows and the door that break the haze only as murmurs that break your skin like an atomic bomb or a sewing needle. They never use bombs, but the needles work all the same. The sun is kinder and never shouts. The sun never finds you through the haze. 

            You shuffle around the home—house—and continue to pull the blinds shut. The unintelligible murmurs continue. You shrink. They shout. You shutter the windows and the door. Your mind and body continue to make eye contact and quickly glance away across the chasmic coffee shop. Your body continues to tell people about your home—house. You continue to stop shuffling around when you’re told. They continue to needle. Others might think the antagonist is the shadows, or the whispers. You’re not so sure.

            And again, the cycle of the year-round season.

Casper Smith is a first-year Trinity University student hailing from Buda, Texas. He loves reading and writing of all sorts, and would rather spend a week writing a research paper than ever take a calculus class. He was also the Editor-In-Chief of his high school’s own literary magazine, Flashpoint, for three consecutive years. When not studying, Casper can be found among his friends, playing with the Trinicats around campus, tending to the garden on his balcony, or buried in a good book in the library.

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