by Everett A Warren
The tides of winter tugged at his soul, taunting him as he lay motionless; the warmth of his blankets, the spring of the mattress, the fluff of his pillows were his world.
Oh, he sees well enough, but what he sees in his room or through his window, or even the sights, smells, and sounds that he senses while being wheeled about by a kindly young nurse, these things are not real. Even in dreams, splendor and majesty strewn about with little or no semblance of concrete physical form, he feels at a loss, as if he's missing the entire point or purpose of the vision. These things are not real to him; he can't touch them. He can't lift his fingers to them, feel their touch on his flesh. They don't exist.
At times, when the nurses and visitors are absent, his mind tends to ponder strange ideals and theories, and at these times he tends to wonder if he is real.
And if he is, his thoughtlines run, then are people like you and I any more – or less – real? And if he is not, then what are we? And is he even one of us? Or is he much different, placed in his station by the gods who speak from high places and command such things as the fate of meaningless beings such as man.
He argues all sides to the arguments he creates, being the only one that would truly listen to his words anyway. He dislikes hearing the typical condescending yes-dears and the entire raft of similar comments geared to the abnormal from a standpoint of one who is normal. Most of the world feels a sympathy for him. To their standards, he is indeed subpar. Even a child, despite his advanced age.
He feels no anger towards those that look down upon him, no anger no matter how small they make him feel. He wears his fate with strength, even though it has not been a great fate, but one he must deal with nonetheless. You could say he has a certain sense of pride about himself, despite the numerous physical problems that have infected, afflicted, and paralysed him through the long years.
But, I stray from the tale.
Copyright (c) 1990 Everett A Warren
You can read the complete story in my collection, Cautionary Fables: Warts & All, available on Amazon.com or by order from your local bookseller.