Sunday, September 26, 2004

How am I going to get home tonight

I can hear the scratch of the tyres on gravel, but by the time I reach the window the car has disappeared and through the bars I can see only trees.

What did I hope to do? Take his number? Perks is too clever for that. He will have removed the number. For him it is an elementary precaution, like wearing a mask and gloves.

I sit back on the bed. I feel too weak to stand and it does no good. The door will be locked. I don’t even need to try it to know I can’t force it. I cannot remember whether I ever have tried it. I must have done. I have that feeling of recognition – the knowledge that something is. But I don’t know how it came to be. I could try again. I could push the door.

I could but I don’t. If I challenge that recognition, I will need to challenge others. I don’t know where that will lead. It could be a short walk in a tended garden of possibilities or it could be the Darien Gap. I do not want to wander.

There is a camera somewhere in the wall. At lunchtime there will be a lunch. The door will open. I will be napping. He sees on the camera that I am napping. The lunch is placed on the floor.

It is always something that I like to eat.

No one has ever asked me what I like to eat for lunch. No one has ever wondered whether I’m a meat man, a tuna and mayo man or a cheese man. No one has asked whether I’m a vegetarian.

If I had ever gone on a plane, someone would have asked, but I have never gone on a plane.

There is a camera in the wall through which Perks has watched me eat. There must have been a time when he did not know what I would like and he experimented but I can’t remember it now. I don’t recall ever having anything for lunch that I didn’t like to eat.

But I’m not particularly fussy about food. I eat whatever is put in front of me.

I lie back down. I am thinking that it is strange that Perks risked my seeing him leave. Perhaps he thought I was still asleep.

But the camera...?

Maybe the camera is on the fritz. How would I know? Only someone who monitors the camera could know. When you are being watched you must assume you are always watched, because you cannot know when you are and when you are not.

Or should you assume you are never watched? I am confused which is the right answer. I only know you cannot dance in and out of the being watched; you cannot hope to escape the watching by doing what you want to do when you are not being watched and doing what the watcher wants you to do when you are. You cannot do that because you do not know.

If I could see the camera. If it had a red light that blinked on when it was working.

But what is the use of speculating? I cannot see the camera. I cannot see a red light. And I don’t have anything I want to do when I’m not being watched.

But it is interesting that Perks may have thought I was still asleep when I am awake. I was sitting on the bed when I heard the car leave. It’s not as though I looked like I was sleeping.

I am feeling tired. I feel like I am going to have my nap.


The day has almost passed. It is gloomy enough that I can scarcely even pick out the trees.

There was no lunch. Or there was lunch but because I didn’t awake and eat it, the lunch was taken away. Either is possible. Either is reasonable. There has always been lunch but I know that there does not have to be lunch.

But it is strange.

I am wondering whether Perks came back. Would the noise of the car’s creeping across the gravel have woken me? I was only napping, although I have napped a lot longer than I would have expected. Maybe Perks comes and goes without my knowing, usually when I am napping.

I am frightened.

It is growing darker.

I have started wanting to hear footsteps. I have never heard footsteps outside this room but now I have started wanting to. I am thinking I will not nap again. I will lie down and give the impression that I am, and when he opens the door, I will rush him.

But how many people are here? I do not know that there is anyone besides Perks. I cannot know. How can I know?

And if there is only Perks? And I rush him?

Would I steal his car? I do not know how to drive. I had never thought about it before I thought about rushing Perks. I do not know how to get from here to anywhere else.

I push up from the bed and cross the room. The door is not locked. I pull it open and I can see that there is no one and nothing in the corridor outside.

I cannot hear footsteps. No one has noticed. I am free to go. It is almost dark. I am beginning to feel I should be ready for change. I don’t mind loving him this way but how am I going to get home tonight?


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