At the end of every appointment, I drag myself from her office, walking past the vibrant banners. Each flag is illustrated with its own colors and flown by its own people. Like a lighthouse, they guide the lost home. Like a moon on the water, they create peace amongst the chaos of the world.
The hall is always quiet when I walk out of my therapist’s office, though every chair is filled. Every person, every husk, looks forward, their eyes locked onto the monotonous grayness of the cinder block walls. They’re all wondering, When will it stop hurting?
While they are thinking this, they sit, losing themselves in the endless loop of our existences. Waiting and waiting and waiting. Not living, not standing, not leaving the hallway. Just waiting. Waiting and tired of waiting. Waiting for everything to become okay.
The world is cruel like this. It breathes down our necks and bears upon us. The very same ground that we press our feet into rises above our heads and crushes us, falling down and breaking our bones. Letting our flesh meet with the earth of our makers. This is why the very same rainbow flags that hang down our own walls are nailed into the crevices of the cinder blocks here. Because we are terrified. Terrified that this waiting will never cease.
I let out a silent sigh and continue to walk down the long hallway. It is filled with the empty hopes and dreams of my peers.
In what world should love ever lead to this? To us, sitting in chairs, looking up into the cinder block walls and wishing, just wishing, that we were beyond them.
It is evil. This universe is evil. Its children and their children’s children are evil: evil for making us walk down this hall. Evil for not being able to understand, in the way that we must understand. Evil in how it picks and chooses those who must walk down this hall. Evil in that it cannot decide to either be indiscriminate in its gift of suffering or merciful in its choice of infinite happiness for everyone. For all of the people who are already so finite.
Do they not understand? Does Evil not know what it brings? Does it not see The Wall?
I approach The Wall, as I do at the beginning and end of every appointment. I slow as I get closer, gazing up at The Wall just before the entrance and exit to this place. To this evil place.
The Wall is a section of cinder blocks, a mural that has been covered with handprints. Every palm is another patient.
I pick out my own handprint with ease. Amongst the sea of fingers and hand pressings, mine looks like a star. An eternal glimmer into the brevity of my existence.
From a few feet back, I stare into the clumps of paint that make up the whole mural.
People made this. A person put their hand here; they reached out and asked to be held, because, despite every horror, they were still scared of letting go of this. Of this evil, evil place.
I press my hand against The Wall. I let my fingers fit against one small handprint. The print is ancient, and the white paint is dusty.
Hands cover The Wall all the way to the top. Each palm is different, though all of them say the same thing:
”We’re here. We existed once.”
Every time I gaze up at The Wall, I can imagine hundreds of beautiful voices echoing in my ears. As I look up at the disconnected and disjointed pieces of a people, many eyes stare back. Every hand understands as I, too, understand. They gently pull me closer, holding me in their arms and saying, “We know you’re scared. It’s okay. We reached out once, too. We were terrified, like you are. But the pressings of our hands here are proof: this is just a blink. One instant of our little forever.
“You will survive this.”