Imprinted in my brain is an image. An image I have tried to recreate with crayons and pencils to no avail. I’ve seen this image in my head for years. But only recently have I actively tried to unlock it. It’s no secret–no hidden meaning. It’s me.

A red smudge is at the bottom, like a gash, with one side sharply edged, almost harshly defined. the other side fades, ungathered, uncollected.

The smudge is at the bottom of a series of containers of some sort. They are all textured and off-angle, overlapping and cattywampus with no discernible pattern. They get progressively but not exponentially larger the higher up they go. I can’t tell if there’s a lid, or a lock, or a key or any way out. I can’t move the edges of the ones I can reach. But I know I can figure out how to make this work, how to get out. There’s a trick. I know there’s a trick. If I could just focus and if I’m smart enough I can solve this puzzle.

I can imbue the smudge with my essence and make it work on getting out. Sometimes it doesn’t want to get out. Sometimes the smudge is perfectly content to lay at the bottom of this shaft and hide. Sometimes the smudge craves escape so deeply it feels like crawling out of itself. Sometimes it’s helpless. Sometimes it’s strong. But always, always, it knows there is a trick that it hasn’t yet figured out.

The textures of the containers vary. Some are smooth. Some are woven like a basket and will snag at the edges. One is bumpy, feels like braille. Several are thorny, but it is possible to grip without being impaled on the thorns if you are mindful about placement. There are sandpaper rough textures and spongey moss-like textures. Temperatures vary from chilled, to warmish but a visual inspection will not reveal temperatures.

The smudge will coalesce. It will learn. It will reason and suss out the trick. It will get out. And then I will be free.



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