If you had to choose, between a rattle and a ball, which would it be? Would it be an arbitrary choice? Arbitrary in itself maybe, but you will always have a preference I'm sure. If you choose the rattle, to divert your baby from its bed, or the ball to play with in the garden--- is it the moment that decides? I have decided, I believe, to take the ball. It's quiet and versatile and it bounces. I have always loved a good bounce. Feeling the reverberation of the plastic against the pavement, against the floor.
Do you remember the lake behind our building? You could hardly call it a lake, though you insisted. It was a lake of small proportions. And when it froze our ball slid as it bounced against the ice. The friction makes my goosebumps grow still. It was one in a million, but you fell through. Your little body slipped so easily into the cold water and you disappeared. I stood and did nothing. Only observed the tracks your feet had made as they proceeded into the ice water. The ball floated after you, creating a little radius of expanding circles. But you were gone. Nobody was there to help, not when we should have been at school.
First I wanted to forget you, I wanted to sever all links to you, erase you from existence, maybe to erase my cowardice. Now I can understand my small self. I was frozen too, I nearly fell in, the ice breaking up around me, my feet sliding every way. But I wanted our ball and waited until it floated back to me and ran away.
I've helped people since. I've helped many of them, I even have a piece of paper to prove it. It gives me authorization, it gives me permission and it forgives me.
I have many things in my room; I have stubs from the movies, every one I have seen, I collect them as bounty, as proof that movies exist and that what happens in them exists also. I tell my patients to do the same. Those who still have a sliver of their minds. I tell them they will recover their lives. They don't know there's nothing left of their lives anymore. But it helps them. They gaze at the stubs from their outings and as they do they smile. They no longer need to see their lives, they feel themselves alive. Most of them stumble around in their dressing gowns, fumble with the belts hanging down on either side, they need to keep their hands occupied.
I can do this wonderfully. I can provide occupation for the idle. I restore sanity. I tell them that there is always something in the future, never nothing. But now I must restore my own world, give it more hope and a will. I dream of us high up there, far, in search of a new world, brand new blue skies above our heads. And I can keep us occupied. Because the danger is not space, the danger is wandering space behind our eyes. When our spirits run wild and unhinge the links of reality. I will be there to pick up the ball and conserve the ticket stubs.