Survival

She was Mrs. Glomm. She had forgotten her first name; after all, she was old. It didn’t matter because she remembered enough…she remembered too much, really. What she knew got her in trouble. Presently she lived in an orderly three room apartment. She liked to have everything in the right place. She followed the same routine every day and night. The order gave her stability: she was not required to think in new, unfamiliar directions that had uncertain consequences. Unfortunately, change is inevitable…out of the corner of her eye Mrs. Glomm noticed a reflection in the mirror standing against the wall. She felt the blood freeze in her veins and fear gripped her heart like a metal claw. She heard an unfamiliar sound, a skittering noise.  She continued to sit at the Formica table clutching a china cup filled with morning tea as if it were a lifeline, a flotation device bobbing in the ocean after a plane drops down in a fireball. She was frozen, desperate to close her eyes, but unable to even blink. The intruder that caused so much panic was merely a lizard that slipped into the apartment on the rare occasion when Mrs. Glomm opened the door to the patio, but the lizard stirred memories the woman wanted buried. Mrs. Glomm was confused in her panic, believing she was the whistle-blower linked to the airline disaster and other tragedies that occurred like dominoes falling in a row deviously carried out by power-brokers to hide the truth — truth she mistakenly discovered and tried to divulge. She lived in fear knowing she was on the “most wanted” hit list. Memories erupted like volcanic ash. She recalled her extravagant plans carried out to hide from the killers who followed her scent like hungry wolves. She survived by disappearing and reemerging as another person — she became several different people racing across the psychic landscape imposed on her by innumerable threats. She relied on her intelligence, always able to find substantial employment due to her tech-skills. At one point she had gone through extensive training as a computer engineer. Her world shattered because of those skills; then, she used the same abilities to remake her identity in order to stay safe. She collapsed her life several times, changing her colors like the lizard slithering across the kitchen floor. Plastic surgery helped. One operation followed another: changes to her face, then her body.  Everything changed.  She recalled being a man and submitting to surgery to become a woman.  She remembered being thirty-one when the changes began — and, she remembered becoming old, overnight, with cosmetics and more surgery.  She didn’t know how old she was anymore, or if she was a man or woman. She knew she had to survive, but could not contemplate any more changes. Her home was stability, her routine was survival, now; but the lizard was an intrusion: the enemy was close.

The relentless hammering in her head suddenly ceased. She was able to close her eyes and submit to the dark silence that closed off the world.  The cold, empty space that engulfed Mrs. Glomm was salvation where no one and nothing existed. It ended with piercing light coming through the kitchen window. She was on the floor, having fainted. She noticed the reflection in the mirror, the lizard. This time, there was no panic. She knew she was safe. Mrs. Glomm had changed, once again. Her memories were already dissolving.  She wondered if she had always been a lizard.

Survive

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