I Am NOT an Octopus!
A table of toys, trains and small cars. Our home is quiet and the sunlight seeps in. The cat stares up at heaven. Only one thin cloud left to shelter us from the sun. Fancy the noise these toys make. Mother is working in the kitchen, while father is away at work.|
I think the last cloud has gone so the cat will come in soon. There are cats in the neighborhood who fight viciously. I like the screams they make but I worry about mine. He has clots on his skin from fighting but I let it out to fight anyway. Mother took him to the vet last week and I cried for two days because it wasn't my cat when it came back. They had bought another and put mine to sleep. But afterwards it became the same cat again, and then I let it out to fight and it came back with blood and smiled at me.
My big brother plays music all the time but I like regular noise much better. Especially airplanes. They are so loud and so strange. I went on an airplane once with my mother and EVERYONE ON THE PLANE LOOKED BORED! The plane brought us here and it was so long ago that I don't remember where we came from. My mother doesn't like to talk about it and my father is always busy.
Today, mother said we shall play in the park. I don't like to play when there are no clouds. When I think of the park, I think of large moving turtles. My friend said that turtles come from ancient history and that his teacher told him so. But teachers only tell us names of things so I didn't believe that the teacher told him. I am thinking of large moving turtles whose heads move so slow and their eyes are droopy like they were old magicians. They come in my dreams and they are always telling me they will give me the houses on their backs so I am safe. They are always in my dreams because they are too slow to move out of my head. There are so many of them.
Mother takes me to the park.
At the park I always meet my friend Timothy. He has feathers for hair and can make the most bizarre expressions on his face. Once, he looked so much like a tiger that I ran away and didn't see him again for months, or maybe for a few weeks. Today he is wearing a bear's skin that his mother made him and he carries a slingshot.
We say goodbye to my mother but she already left and we start strolling down our favorite path. Very bright green bushes with thousands of different kinds of flowers. There are bees everywhere and Timothy and I pretend we are bees. Timothy's face becomes a bee's and I am frightened so I look away. I tell him that I wish there were more clouds and he buzzes agreeably but soon we enter a bunch of trees and only a few rays of sunlight break through the leaves. The rays become green and we can touch them. I climb up one of the rays and enter the leaves-part of a tree. Timothy is right beside me. We sit on a large branch and start to make up stories. Soon, it becomes nighttime but I am not frightened because Timothy is a large man with big muscles and the rocks he has for his slingshot have poison in them.
Many blue birds surround us and they are all having an animated conversation with Timothy! It is so loud that I have to close my ears! I suddenly start thinking about my big brother and wonder why he listens to his music. And then I notice the stars above the leaves and I scream with joy! The birds all scatter away and leave us in silence so I can hear the faint noise that the stars make as they twinkle between the leaves. Timothy stares in wonder. We sit still for hours when suddenly the branch we are sitting on starts to crack and before we know it the branch breaks and we tumble down to the soft ground.
I pick up some dirt in my hands and I scream at Timothy angrily for not catching me when I fell. I stare at his face in hatred for a long time but it starts to change and I am horrified that he will become a tiger again. So I run away terribly frightened until I know I am safely far away from him. I am always frightened at being in the forest alone and there is so much noise in the darkness that I return to running again. But soon the turtles come into my head again and I slow down. One of the turtles slowly moves its head to face me and its eyes look so lazy as they droop that I feel very calm. The eyes say that the forest will soon be over. And soon the trees start to thin out and I enter a large grass field. The moon is full and I can see everything very clearly.
I walk and walk and walk but I am not tired. Without realizing it I reach the edge of a cliff and a tall dark man is standing there looking down below. We stand right next to each other. Below there is only a very thick mist. The mist flows around like slow-motion ocean waves and it feels good staring. It looks better than all the stars I have ever seen, all the flowers and rainbows. But the mist waves look more like white snakes that float into each other. I pick a snake and follow it with my eyes and it flows so beautifully among the rest. They are all connected but it is so difficult to see their pattern but I know there is a pattern and if the man was not so quiet I wanted to tell him if he would let me stand next to him forever like that to figure it out.
I wonder if he was doing the same thing I was. I really think he has been here for an awfully long time.
And to my amazement he suddenly says to me: 'I wonder if there really is a pattern behind all this.' I was so amazed by this that I almost scream with joy. But when I look into his face (I had not looked at his face before) he had such a sad expression that I almost cry with pity. He seems attached to the side of the cliff like a tombstone and his eyes make him look like he is blind. I feel so sad by his image that I quickly run away from the cliff, not caring where I go but as long as I was far away from that man. The farther away I get the more he seemed like an evil ghost to me, no longer sad but evil. And I would have become frightened once more if the turtles hadn't suddenly returned at that moment. I see them clearer than I ever had before even in my dreams. They are so large like monuments carrying their heavy houses on their backs. They are in an open field like me, scattered so that each one crawls all by himself. They all move so slowly! all in the same direction. They shift their head mechanically from side to side and look out from their sad droopy eyes not lazy anymore but like time did not matter to them. Their skin look ancient and hard almost like their shells. In fact, they somehow resemble the tall man at the edge of the cliff but for some reason that does not bother me now.
I walk around some more feeling awfully peculiar and then I decide to return to my mother. I feel like I had just lost my favorite toy but the turtles comforted me. There is something heavy inside me. Where were the turtles heading? all in the same direction. The open field is so large.
The day was white with sun. There were no clouds about so Timothy and I had to make the most out of what we had. We roamed about behind my house in the big meadow. Suddenly, I looked down, and little drops of golden light were stuck to my shoes. I reached down to touch the light and found that we were standing in a big puddle of melted gold that went all the way to the horizon. I looked up and the sun was big and strong on the tip of the earth and realized we were standing on sunshine.
A black bird landed on my shoulder and told me to disappear.
That was a very strange thing to say but then it just flew off.
There were also sun rays in the air. When they hit me, they tingled a little. I captured one and pulled it toward me. It was like rubber and filled with something soft. Timothy came up to me and said that the black bird was still around. I did not like Timothy for reminding me of it. I told Timothy to go away because I was busy with the rays. Then, suddenly, the sun vanished and the shallow lake of golden light became dry earth but there still were little drops of light stuck to my shoes.
Timothy had walked over to a little stream and sat by it. He looked very old. I walked over there too, leaving a trail of light behind me. "Hello, Timothy," I said. I hoped he wasn't angry. But it didn't look like he was. "The sunshine's gone," I said.
Then, I found out that Timothy had become very still. Even more than that, his feet had become part of the stones he was sitting on. Sometimes, I become very sad because my friends have different timing than I do. Like now, Timothy was staring right at me, but he was totally still like a dead statue. He didn't move at all. And worse than that, he was smiling at me. Sometimes, my friends even start to disappear right in front of my eyes! If they have to disappear, why don't they just leave me and then disappear?!? I become very angry when they do that. And then, the black bird tells me to disappear! I decide to go home so that my mom doesn't get worried. Timothy has become a big smiling rock and I leave him there without saying anything. He's probably still there now and it's already bedtime.
Today I got sick and Timothy died. which leaves only ten left. Each takes three days to grow out in the garden. I used to be worried that he depends on where I grow him but once he said that it doesn't matter. Otherwise I would stay days wondering where to plant him and that would be a long time without Timothy. Timothy dies so quickly that you can't plan anything!
I was sitting beneath a tree and there was an ant twisting in the soil next to my legs. I had a cup of water. I took out a drop with two forgers and dropped it on the ant. It was entirely surrounded by the drop and did not move.
Timothy was standing above me and knelt down and said that the bubble was her crystal ball and she couldn't move now because she was stuck in the future. I touched the bubble and burst it and wiped the extra water from the ant. But she still didn't move.
I looked up and Timothy had walked away from the shade of our tree and was in the sunlight part. Which was bright, very bright and golden. And this light was solid.
I didn't notice that the light was solid till Timothy walked into it because he suddenly became completely still and silent. But I knew that if I talked to him he could still hear me. The sunlight part was a very large and vast field of brown grass and shrubs and weeds, all of it solid as if it was encased in glass.
Then, it became nighttime and the light dissolved to absolute nothing.
Timothy had wandered off very far away to become a little black dot.
The sky was dark blue and empty (except for the moon). And open to space, totally open. It was very still. The moon was a big circle and it was very close to the earth. I just sat there and watched Timothy, the little black dot, beneath the big open sky. The farther away he was the less he moved, till he finally stopped moving altogether.
Then, suddenly, I saw that he had become a little black balloon that was rising up to the sky. He floated up very slowly. The wind was gentle and blew him back and forth.
There went Timothy.
I didn't call him to come down or anything because he waste too far away by now. So I left him up in the big open sky and went home.
It was quiet in the house. After having dinner with my mom and dad I stayed up in bed a long time and stared out the window at the moon.
Timothy must have already reached space by now. I laid back on my bed and looked up at the ceiling and thought. I wondered how long his journey would take.
The next morning I woke up and it had already started raining very very hard. I watched the rain for a long time. The streets were filled with thousands of crystal insects exploding!
Nothing important happened the rest of the day. Then that night I dreamt of Timothy. I was talking and talking and talking to him but he just stared at me and smiled. He didn't say anything and he didn't move. But he was looking straight at me. Then the dream said that because he was looking at me I shouldn't be sad. The following day I tried not to think about it but I
thought real hard anyway about when Timothy would finish his journey and come home.
The next day I waited and waited but he never showed up. Should I plant another Timothy in the garden? That would make two Timothys and that's too complicated.
It took two weeks before I saw Timothy again! He was out in our backyard walking around. I went up to him but he ignored me and kept on walking and went out our fence into the forest. I wanted to follow him but I didn't trust him in the forest. He didn't look at me like the dream said. He just kept walking.
Every night, I sat out in our backyard waiting for Timothy. And I would go to the cracks in our fence and look out into the forest to see if I could get a glimpse of him but I never saw anything. I kept on seeing in my head the black balloon Timothy floating up slowly, floating up and up into space.
Then it was my birthday and we invited my class for a party. My father bought balloons to decorate the house and since none of them were black we went to a Halloween store because it was close to Halloween and found TEN BLACK BALLOONS IN A PLASTIC BAG! Of course, I only blew up one of them. Then, in the party one of the girls came up to me and asked me which one of us was my best friend. "Timothy" I said. "Which one's that?" "He's not here." "I can be your best friend." And so the next day I invited her to play with me at recess time. I told her all about what happened to Timothy. She said, "you shouldn't let go a balloon because then it floats up and up and you can't reach it up in the sky."
So the next day I took the nine black balloons I had left and went to the vast field where Timothy and I were together last time and I blew up one balloon after the other and let them go to the sky. Nine black balloons floated up and up. And I became dizzy from the blowing and so I laughed. But as soon as I laughed I remembered Timothy and my dizziness was no longer funny and I cried and cried and cried. Then it was all over. Timothy was gone for good. I went home and went straight to bed.
I went to our lake one day and dove into it and it quickly became an ocean. I didn't need to breathe when I was under the water. I swam deep down, the deepest possible and I walked on the ocean floor. It was very dark.
A fish came up to me with no eyes and a very big big frown, it wasn't sad but its lips were simply made that way.
It swam up to me and said, "why do you need us?"
I didn't know what it was talking about so I started laughing which quickly became bubble-laughing. The bubbles rose and rose till suddenly a group of small fish came out from nowhere and attacked my bubbles.
The fish were eating my laughter!
So I laughed some more but finally I had to stop because underwater laughing can get tiresome sometimes. That's because you have to make sure you push the laugh bubbles all the way out your mouth or else they collect inside you and so you start floating up and it becomes difficult to stand on the ocean floor like I was doing now.
The fish with no eyes kept floating next to me. "Why do you need us?" it asked me again.
"I don't know," I bubbled. The bubbles went up and up and I wondered if it could hear what I said.
The fish just kept floating there next to me till finally I became a bit embarrassed because I didn't know what to do and so I swam up to where there was more light.
There, I met an octopus. He was white and transparent and he had long soft tentacles. He told me that he was an angel that had fallen into the sea and the water had dissolved his wings into tentacles and so now he used his wings to swim and not to fly. This made me really sad. I would have liked to talk to him but all my words would have just floated away in bubbles. I would really have liked to talk to him. Just like the blind fish, I didn't know what to do and so finally I swam up near the surface. I looked down on the way and saw the octopus still down there all by himself. He looked so alone down there in that large world. Then, I left the lake thinking that I would really like to go back there someday but that I had too many things to do right now in the outside world.
Then one day when I wasn't even thinking about him I saw Timothy walking in front of our house. I ran up to him "Timothy, where have you been?" I couldn't believe Timothy was back all of a sudden and just like that. I wondered what was going on with us. I knew that Timothy will be my friend forever and will always come back. But things were still strange. Perhaps tomorrow things will be good again but not today. Today things will remain bad between Timothy and I. That had to be the case and Timothy knew it too.
Till tomorrow Timothy my good friend, till tomorrow.
Timothy today I woke up and he was a dog. It's the first time ever Timothy is a dog. I ignored him then I scolded him and finally he became a boy. Much better. Everything is kind of scary. What's happened to him?
No, today I know everything's ok. Everything's back to the way it used to be.
The sky is red and black clouds are very long across it. The house has become unimportant and so Timothy and I decide to go out into the backyard.
The sky is very red like red paint, a huge red painting. "God is today an artist," I say.
We stand still looking at the sky. Timothy has become an old man with a pipe dangling from his mouth. He says in a deep and bassy voice, very slowly and seriously, "the sky is bleeding." I imitate his seriousness. "The sky is bleeding," I say in a deep and bassy voice.
We are no longer in the backyard. We are in an open field. The sky is huge. We climb a hill and it becomes a mountain. It is close to nighttime so the red of the sky becomes a dark red and then the dark red becomes black. The sky has been burnt. Timothy has started a fire and he has gone out to look for rabbits. We are going to roast dead rabbits over the fire.
I waited for Timothy to return but, before I knew it, he suddenly flew in out from nowhere as a giant bat-winged bird with two skeleton arms stretched out and holding a dozen dead and bloody rabbits. He frightened me to pieces. I became very mad but didn't say anything as he quickly turned into an old man again with his pipe, putting on a very grave face.
He started going about putting the rabbits on some sticks he had found. He sat down and held the rabbit sticks over the fire. We were both silent. I stared at his old, grave face and the great many wrinkles he had.
He never once looked at me. It was as if he didn't notice I was even there.
And then, why I don't know, the fire stopped giving off so much light. All I could see were Timothy's hands holding the rabbit sticks over the fire.
I waited a while before saying anything. But then everything became too quiet and nothing anymore existed. It was just me and Timothy's hands and the roasting rabbits. I didn't feel scared but something was really wrong.
"Timothy," I said, "I need to see the rest of you."
He didn't answer me.
"Timothy, please. I need to see the rest of you."
A very long silence followed.
"Why?" said the darkness.
Timothy's hands were moving back and forth with the rabbit sticks like machines.
Far away, next to where the forest began I saw my house. It was lit and my parents were in it. So I walked away. The whole way I never looked back. When I got home I told my parents that I wanted to sleep with them in their bed tonight.
That night I dreamt of Timothy. He was a werewolf. He had large bright yellow eyes and black slit pupils. The eyes were so large that they hung out of their place resting on his cheeks. Although he was a monster he looked very sad. I woke up and I felt like I had to help him. Timothy was in trouble. I had to help him.
Next morning, Timothy walked in from the backyard. He looked very cheerful. "Come out and see' he said. I still felt that I needed to help him. I followed him out.
The sun was very bright and everything looked cheerful. I followed him to the corner of the fence. There were roses that my father had grown. "Look!" he said "Roses!" The roses were very red just like last night's sky. I made a serious face. "What is it?" he said. I grew tall, I grew up and up till I was twice his size. "Timothy," I said seriously. Then I saw him shrink before me, he knelt down on his knees and became a dog, like he did the other day. I shrunk back to normal size, picked him up and went into the house through the corridor and into my bedroom and locked the door tight.
I laid Timothy, now a boy again, onto my bed. Timothy was very sick. I went into the kitchen, I knew he couldn't get out of my bed, and I cooked some soup and made an ice pack and returned to my bedroom. Timothy was very very sick. So he ate the soup and I put the ice pack on his forehead.
That day I stayed the whole day next to Timothy and helped him. Finally at night time he was feeling better. He sat up in bed and looked at me sitting next to him. "Why did you get sick, Timothy?" He couldn't answer, he just looked down and looked sad. My poor friend, what is going on? So for the first time in a long time, Timothy slept in my bed. I felt like my parents when I slept with them last night. I felt like a grown up and I was a serious person. Out in the garden I had grown twice Timothy's size.
The next day, I woke up and Timothy was still asleep. I put my lips on his cheeks and pretended to kiss him. Then I got up to go to school. When I finished preparing myself I went into the bedroom to look at him one last time and make sure he was ok. I was surprised. He was a big, grown up man sitting up in my bed looking at me. "Thank you," he said, his voice very deep and grown up. I couldn't help but stand staring at him like that till finally mother called me and I had to leave. That whole day at school I walked around really confused.
When I got back to the house the grown up man Timothy was still there, he was sitting and looking out the window. Before I could feel surprised or anything he turned to me and said:
"You must be wondering what is going on. Life has seemed strange to you, hasn't it, my young friend? I am here to tell you: You have seen more than a child can see. You have seen a blood red sky. You have braved the big and mighty forest. You have seen the ancient turtles walk across the vast and open plains. YOU HAVE WITNESSED A SKY OPEN TO SPACE! This is a new day for you. You should feel very proud of yourself!"
Very, very quickly he vanished into thin air, much quicker than anytime Timothy has vanished before. The words he had said echoed back and forth inside my head, all jumbled up and mysterious. Timothy was gone for good now, I knew that. And I have become different.
But no, the next day Timothy was still there except that he was only half visible and I could see right through him like a ghost. That didn't really bother me after a while because then I also became half-visible. That meant that we were still good friends even though things were very different. Sometimes when I concentrated really hard I could pass my hand right through solid objects, just like real ghosts can do.
Finally, one day, my mother started to wonder what was wrong with me so she took me to the doctor. He was a really good doctor. He said: "Deep in the mountain there is a cave. The healing man is there. He will help you."
"Aren't you the healing man?"
"No, I ant just a doctor."
So, Timothy and I packed our bags to go to the cave.
Timothy was in such a state that he couldn't even put his backpack on. It went right through him. So I packed some of his stuff with mine and we took off to the mountain.
The further we climbed the more invisible we got, we climbed for hours. Finally, we came to the cave. There was no healing man there like the doctor said. There was only the color red. The cave was all lit up with red but it was totally empty. "That's strange," I said.
So we turned back. By the time we reached home I had become completely invisible and Timothy too. I went up to my mother and she couldn't even see me.
"It's time to go away," Timothy said, "into the forest."
"Yes, into the forest," I said.
I went to pack more things but everything went right through me. I knew that I wasn't going to return to the house for a long time.
We left the house and traveled into the forest. A few hours passed and we regained our bodies back. But we were now grown up men with big muscles. We had to be if we were going to travel in the forest. Nothing in the forest scared me now.
For many days we traveled. We didn't know where we were going but that didn't matter. We had to travel. We were wanderers. And finally, the forest felt like home and I didn't miss my parents.
Timothy and I rarely talked. We became really lost within the trees and the days would sometimes be short and sometimes long. Everything became strange and I became really dreamy. I could not think straight at all. It felt like we had been wandering around for a very long time. I don't remember most of what happened out there.
Then, one day, as if waking up from a dream, I looked around me, I was standing up, and I found out that I had grown very tall and big. I was a big giant and the top of the trees didn't even reach my ankles. I was even taller than the mountains on the edge of the forest.
I looked to my left and there was Timothy as big as I was but he had transformed entirely. He had become a hideous monster with a disfigured face and live snakes floating out from all parts of his body. His ugliness horrified me.
"Timothy," I said and the earth shook beneath our feet.
When I inhaled, the trees bent towards me and when I blew out my breath there was a great wind. The trees were constantly bending back and forth.
"Timothy," I said again and the earth shook so much it nearly knocked me off my feet. It seemed like we were still growing bigger. It felt really horrible. I didn't dare move a muscle. I just stood still breathing. I looked at Timothy and he wasn't moving either, except for the snakes hissing. Finally, even that was too much. The winds of our breathing began to play with each other until hurricanes started forming and clouds came out from nowhere. Tree branches started to break and then the trees began breaking off from the soil and flying in the air. The hurricanes became so intense that I had a lot of difficulty keeping my balance. I was afraid I'd fall and destroy a large part of the forest and the animals inside it.
Finally, I couldn't keep my balance any longer and I let myself step backwards a little. Something caught my foot and I fell back and my whole weight went down. I looked up and realized that I had become small once again and in front of me was my house's fence! I had tripped over my house's fence and landed right back at my house! The hurricanes had ended and all the clouds had disappeared, just like that!
I ran into the house and found my mom. I wrapped my arms around her and the tears came out like giant rivers. Mother, it is a grown man crying.
For the next 10 days I was laid up sick in bed.
After being out in the forest, I could not bring myself to see Timothy anymore. It was not simply because he had become a frightening monster. But, because he had become so hideously ugly.
One night I dreamt of him. He still had the face of a monster. "I don't like to wear octopus pants," I kept telling him. Tears were falling from his eyes. The dream said that his tears were of the purest form tears could ever be. This was true:
His tears were sad and clear and pretty. But, the dream and I both agreed that no matter how pure were Timothy's tears, he could never be forgiven for being such an ugly monster.
Then, one day, I was sitting in the living room playing with some toys and I was looking at my mother working in the kitchen. For some reason, I could not see her face very well. She was kind of far away but the rest of her body I could see fine, only her face was a little bit fuzzy. Sometimes she seemed like she was just looking down doing her work like normal. Other times, she seemed to be staring right at me. Also, she made strange movements with her face that my mom never does, just as if she were blinking at me. As if she were blinking at me in quick jerks.
I returned to playing with my toys but never for very long because my mom kept on distracting me with her fuzzy face and strange blinking. Why would she be blinking at me like that? I wondered. It seemed as if there hundreds of tiny dots in front of her face jumping around real fast.
It was difficult playing with my toys. So, finally I gave up and just stared at my mom, pretending as if everything was like usual.
Many minutes must have gone by when suddenly I saw one of my toy soldiers stand up, walk all the way across the living room, open the front door of the house and walk out.
I looked back at the other toys and they were strangely silent and still. "Oh boy," I thought, "maybe now it's time to go back out into the forest again."
I looked at my mom and her face seemed even more fuzzy, blinking rapidly from time to time.
So, I stood up and walked out the front door.
Outside, I looked for my toy soldier but I couldn't find him anywhere. All I saw was the road that led away from my house. I started walking down the road.
I walked with my head bent staring at my feet.
Soon, the road became two, one on top of the other. The one I walked on was on top an it kept on going higher and higher while the other stayed at ground level. I walked and walked till I realized I had a beautiful view of everything since I was already high up in the sky.
I saw the forest and our house and the road leading away from it. But, everything was changing shape slowly. Hills became mountains, forests became lakes and the ocean became a fountain in our backyard. Everything kept on moving and changing. So, this was how things have always been! I remembered the mist of serpents that forever flowed in and out of each other below the cliff of the tombstone man.
Then the ancient turtles came into my head. My! My! My! It's been a long time since I've seen them! They weren't spread out over a field this time but were floating high up in the sky like me, each on a different level. They used their legs like fish fins to swim through the open air.
I thought about my mom. All I could think about was her fuzzy face far, far away blinking at me.
One of the turtles turned to look at me, "she says goodbye."
Our house was now very tiny, a little dot in the forest.
I stopped walking and I was now floating, forever upward. No matter how high I was, I kept on floating up and up into the sky. I kept on floating up and up and up and up and up.