On Delirious Childhood Images of the Mystic Cosmos


Do you remember what it was like to be sick as a child, when you would stay home from school and relocate to your parents’ bed to watch television? Some days we were faking and would do anything to avoid the tedium of school (if only that were an option now!) but when we were actually sick, when we didn’t rub the thermometer between our palms to heat it up just enough to make it look plausible, when the afternoon would bring with it the chills and aches — the ringing ears — of a descending fever, we can still feel the expanse of the bed under us — you could lie in the middle and not touch an edge in any direction — and hear the drone of the afternoon soap operas just a few feet away. We would stare up as if from the bottom of a pool at the tiny black-and-white checkerboard wallpaper on the ceiling (installed, we would like to note, by a couple of formidable old queens our mother used as interior decorators), and in our delirium it would begin to move like traffic of the city — a new-world city, in quadrants: east and west, north and south — in perfect time-lapse animation, leaving us both pained and mesmerized by the promise of what lay ahead.

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