There’s writing on the walls where I am. I don’t know what it says which is strange because I think I wrote it. The pen is in my hand. It’s blue and the lid is missing and I think if I stop writing the ink will dry up forever and all the words in me will be trapped. And they’ll get angry if they can’t get out, and I will explode. The gray wall with blue scrawled writing will be red then. I don’t like red. Red is the colour of my anger. It might be fire, because fire is red too, and so is blood, but I think it is anger because it’s redder still.
There’s a lot of writing on the walls because I’ve been here a very long time. Or maybe it’s only been a few minutes, and I can write fast. Maybe I didn’t write it at all and only picked up the pen afterwards. It’s hard to know what’s true. I killed my watch because it was lying to me. It said time only goes forward. It said there are hours and minutes and seconds and the time between them never changes. And then it just stopped. It died so I killed it. I don’t like things that aren’t true. You think you know what’s true, but you don’t.
You think I’m crazy. You think I’m in some place where they stick crazy people so regular people don’t have to see them everyday. But I’m not. I’ve been in those places and they don’t give you pens there. They think a pen is a weapon there, a sword you can write or stab with, and I will never go back. You think because the walls are gray I’m not at home. I like gray. Life is gray. Gray is what you get when you take a sunny day and add clouds. The truth is I don’t know where I am.
This gray room has window with a board that boards it up and a door with a lock that locks me inside. I tried to open it. I pulled and pulled and the door only laughed. It told me I’d be in here forever. It told me I’d die here and one day they’d find my bones still wrapped in my skin. I don’t like things that aren’t true. And you and that door are not true.
I think the key to the lock is hidden in the blue writing I can’t read. All the letters in all the words in all the groups of words are mixed up. Life is mixed up. Unravelling one to understand the other is the key to getting out of here--the key to the key to the lock. I won’t be in here forever. It’s impossible because there isn’t enough wall to write on to be here forever. And there isn’t enough ink. The key is remembering what’s true.
Truth is the same word in all tenses, but the future is best, and the past is hardest. I remember I came in here to sleep, because it was cold out, and it was white outside and gray inside. The door wasn’t locked; there was no key. There was some writing on the walls but it was in black spray paint,not my blue ink so I know I didn’t write it. It said “MAYZE WUZ HERE”. I don’t know what that means either. Words in thick black lines are evil so I crossed it out but I could still see it through the blue.
I remember I found the pen in the corner with three clear needles. It looked like a star, like the North Star in the corner of my gray room pointing the way out. I think it might be the key, but it pointed in eight different directions so I got lost again.
I stop trying to remember because now the door looks like it’s opening, but it’s not true. Someone looks like they’ve opened it. It looks like a man whose clothes are the colour of my pen. It’s a good colour; it’s the colour of the sky without the clouds that make it gray. But I like gray and I like my pen with blue ink and I haven’t figured out the writing on the wall yet and I can’t leave just because the door is open and that man is there and he has that hat. The ink hasn’t run out, and there is still wall to write on, and he can’t make me go. He can’t make me go. I won’t go. I will use the pen and its ink will be red on that man.
Get out of here!
This is my gray room!
You can’t have it!
That is the poem I will write in red with my blue pen. My red anger swells inside me, wanting more red, wanting the man’s red, so I raise my sword high. The man doesn’t even look up, doesn’t even care. The man is stupid even though he is wearing a good colour. He takes off that hat and shakes his head.
“Helluva a way to go,” he says, “Betcha just came in to stay warm, huh, buddy?”
My sword still wants to write in red, but I stop because I don’t understand why he’s saying things to me but not looking at me. I’m not on the ground where he’s staring with his eyes. He should be looking at me if I’m going to write my poem on him or else I might make a mistake. I don’t want to make a mistake, because mistakes aren’t true, and writing things makes them true, so he should look at me. The door laughs. It’s an ugly laugh that sounds like choking.
“Told you so,” says the door, and laughs harder.
I don’t like things that aren’t true and nothing is true. I think that’s what the blue writing has been saying all along.
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