The Probe

Silence and stillness are unbearable to her. She manufactures sounds where none are needed; she drinks her tea loudly, she exaggeratedly slurps and exaggeratedly exhales, slurps and exhales, slurps and exhales, slurps and exhales, slurps and exhales, slurps and exhales, slurps and purls, slurps and purls, knits and purls, knits and purls, knits and purls, knits and purls a sound curtain which says: look, I’m working on my tea, I’m busy ergo sum. There is always someone invisible watching her, to whom she must prove herself worthy of being. The Damner with a ready slap; he is right behind her shoulder.
In the chinks in the wall that she must make because the wall will make the house exist (I appear to the world ergo sum) she stuffs little patches of noise moss, she engages in echolalia, she is like a contemporary art installation that echoes the last words of any patron walking by, she sings bits of pop songs without joy and then retracts them immediately: ok, I’ve shut up now, never mind; she puts in sickly croaks, extended stretchings, hard-ridden mooings that say: I’m hurting, I’m sick ergo sum. Often, if there is nothing else to do, she will really fall sick in order to become. Sickness fills an empty bag with ache, and the Damner cannot attack the sick because they are sick, the sick spell protects, it is well-known to her from her childhood.
She approaches speaking with the hesitation of a tightrope walker: ugh, cough, ahem, cough, here I was wondering, cough, but maybe it’s stupid, but I was having a stupid idea, what if, oh, never mind, I’m sure it was stupid.
So, what is it then?
I’m. Nothing. It’s nothing. It’s just nothing, okay, let me be! Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. So maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know. Ok, I’ll shut up. I’ve shut up now.
She puts the cups on the very edge of the shelf so as not to complete the action. She motions with the knife toward the magnetic strip and let’s go one third of an inch away, and the knife falls behind the stove. She does not move the stove to get the knife. She opens a can of cat food exactly halfway and puts it in the fridge, with the lid half-injurious, the food half-dry and fridge half-smelly. To her, both not starting the action and completing it are damning: one is lazy, the other is cocky. Leaving things mid-way says: I tried ergo sum.
She cannot have friends because she does not seek friendships. She does not seek friendships because the Damner will take the appearance of anyone, at no notice, and no one loves her. She has no interest in the inner worlds of others, but she will work for them and take care of them because caring for others keeps the Damner at bay: I’m good, see? I’m good. The harder and more painful the work, the farther away the Damner.


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