When will we get started?
I have been standing in this corner for too long. Trapped sweat pooling in crevices under the encasement of cellophane wrap and cocooned inside of yards of rope that have been pulled around my chest and arms. Delicious constriction. My palms flattened against the tops of my thighs, free fingertips reaching downward. I separate them slowly; just enough to get away with something but not quite get caught.
His directive from moments ago, “Stay perfectly still,” continues to bounce off the recessed corners of my mind. Three words planted without any explanation of the penalty for infraction or expectation of success. I get nothing for abiding. Personal satisfaction is a false reward.
My feet rooted into the floor from the very moment he released those charily chosen words. Right foot pointed straight ahead towards the wall, left toes angled slightly outward, wrongly imbalanced. I should have been more mindful of my stance, adjusted while I had the opportunity to do so. Unfortunate-me, I anticipated this to be a shorter respite. I have been foiled by my own assumptions; finding a way to muscle through the temptation to make a comfortable adjustment. Stop it, don’t move. Imagine long heavy nails have been drilled through the top center of each foot and into the floor boards fixing me there. Imagine this and then stop thinking about it and stay faultlessly still. Obedience is my specialty.
The top of my forehead in the corner where the walls meet, sucking in the faintest smell of paint and somewhere beyond this door someone is cooking onions. Eyelids opening and closing because I cannot make up my mind. There are more available sensations to smell and hear behind closed eyes. Deprivation of any sense heightens the others, we all know that. With open eyes I make out shadowed movements, fools me to think I am seeing something I do not have permission to see. Eyes open now, watching while I can.
My fingers are the only parts of my body I dare move and even those only slightly, only enough to defy the instructions and still appear to remain frozen. I don’t want to be caught, I just want to test how much I can get away with.
In the empty space that has opened up between us I begin to notice every inch of my body part by part. The hem of my dress brushes against my knees. Air circulates around my thighs and up under my skirt, a welcome cooling on my legs. I have said it before, high heeled shoes make me feel confident, I wear them all the time now, just to sustain my courage.
I am getting to know the wall. Several small pellets of extra paint dripped off a saturated brush have dried clinging to the doorframe. No one bothered to wipe the excess and smooth it down while working and now layers upon layers have been reapplied to the uneven streaks. No need for anyone to notice the insignificant history of this wall before this moment.
He knows I am restless, impatient, getting angry with the prolonged waiting so he comes closer to calm me with vigilant equanimity. Find the balance in the imbalance.
I separate the tips of my fingers as much as possible and let tiny pellets of perspiration drip down each digit. No discernable action behind my back, although I feel the air in the room shift gently with his breath. I think I hear the ticking of his wristwatch when his hand comes close tracing the lines of my form without touching my body. Sometimes quietude is louder than any vast and heavy silence.