The stiffness in my neck is bothering me again. Hoping to alleviate some of this persisting discomfort from sitting in the second row of the movie theater, I tilt my head to the left then right, down then up. And end up frozen in the completion of that last movement. Not because a cramp has immobilized my head, but because I now see your emotions suspended from the high ceiling with hooks, wire and string. My eyes widen as I’m taken aback by the hulking jealousy and massive ambition looming overhead. With your loft apartment lit by floor lamps, these emotions cast no shadows, giving no indication that they’ve been lurking up there all along.
Though I am unnerved by the (unlikely, I hope) possibility that one of them will come crashing down upon me, I admire what you’ve done with the place. Hanging in a balanced arrangement that feels full yet uncrowded, the emotions look like angular and webby clouds of psychological weather playing out in the limbo between the windswept desert and glacial lake of the expansive landscape photos spanning opposite brick walls. I suppose this is the advantage of living in a loft—you have plenty of space to really make it your own.
When you return from the bathroom, I point upward and say, “Nice way to store and decorate with your feelings.’’
“Yes, I suppose it is,” you answer. “But actually, that’s part of my home security system.’’
“Oh. So, how does it work?’’
The frame of the dark window behind you makes me feel like I am talking to a vivid portrait of you with a black background.
“It’s rigged so the emotions can drop on cue,” you explain. “The trigger is in my watchband.’’
You tell me this with the straight face of a stern negotiator, but your voice suggests that you are smiling in your thoughts.
I nod. No wonder I felt uneasy.
But now, I am intrigued.
What else are you the artful architect of? What booby traps await me here or elsewhere in your life? Can you be persuaded to teach me how to make my own?
“Now, how about that hot cocoa?” you ask, like it’s code for something I should know.
Fascinated by the ways in which fiction can serve as a means of metacognition, Soramimi Hanarejima crafts stories to explore the nature of thought. Soramimi is the author of the story collection Visits to the Confabulatorium (Montag Press Collective, 2017) and works on information design projects that seek to visually communicate aspects of subjective experiences.