By: Reese Scott
If he felt like he was being pulled down the hall on a leash. The people walking around him all knew they were taking him to the furthest place possible from “home.” As he walked down the hall he imagined pictures framed on the wall. He imagined his Father dressed in his military outfit. He saw his Mother lying in a hospital bed. There was his Older Brother who was now a successful producer in Hollywood. Smiling with that smile that said everything he never had the chance to say and his Younger Sister with her Husband and Three Children all smiling. Then a photograph of a baby smiling. With his name below it. Then a photograph of a baby smiling. With his name below it. Then a photograph of him when he was eight dressed as Batman for Halloween. After that there were only frames without pictures with his name below them.
He looked down at the floor. He looked up at ceiling. He felt like the leash was being pulled tighter around his neck the further they walked down the hall. Then when he turned back to the walls they were empty and white again. He continued walking down the hall with the people around him. No one saying anything. He knew them all. They all knew him. For more years than he could remember. Then he could see the door.
His feet began to feel heavy. His stomach began to feel nauseous. He felt like he was losing control of his bladder. Then he heard a Women’s voice speak quietly into his ear as if she weren’t supposed to speak to him.
“It’s okay.” She said.
He could feel the muscles tighten in his body when he heard these words.
“You already know exactly what is going to happen.” He said to himself.
“All of this will be over before you know it.” She said.
“Then what?” He asked trying to open his mouth and say these words out loud. But he was unable to open his mouth. It felt like his mouth was filled with toilet paper that had been soaked under water in someone’s cell. He tried to move his tongue. But it felt like it was frozen to the sides of his mouth.
“Can you think of something you love? She asked.
At first he didn’t understand the question. All the words felt confused like they had been evicted but still hadn’t received their notice. He had to answer this question. A baseball game came to mind. It was game seven of the New York Yankees vs Kansas City Royals in the American League playoffs. He must have been seven or eight years old. But for some reason he couldn’t remember who won the game. The TV just shut off in his head as if someone had unplugged it from the wall.
“Did you think of something?” She asked.
“No.” He said. This time his voice sounded like it actually made its way out of his mouth.
“Think of your wife?” She said
“I don’t have a wife.” He thought
“Think of your children?” She said
“I don’t have any children.” He thought
“Everyone has someone waiting for them. Like it or not.” She said.
He knew there was no one waiting and even if someone was he would not want to see them. The door was getting closer. The leash now felt tighter and he found himself having trouble breathing. His hands suddenly started shaking. He tried to hide them. But he knew that was not possible with hand cuffs.
The silver door was now moving closer. It felt as if the door was coming towards him. It began to move faster and faster. He looked around hoping to see another photograph. But the walls were now blank. He looked around again hoping to find just an empty frame. But there were no longer any frames on the walls. The last of his name was now being wiped off the wall. The walls were white. They looked cold. Naked and perfectly abused. The Men who had been standing around him moved apart. One of the Men took out his keys. The Woman turned to him.
“I tell everyone this. Because it’s important. You listening? No one will ever love you if you don’t love yourself.” She said.
They uncuffed his hands and then his feet. The door opened.
“You are free to go now.”