August 12, 2017 by Patrick Starks
When most people think of living in a space, a space where they can have privacy—they think of a private study or some sort of private resort, a vacation. But not me, whenever I thought of such things, I’d think of the genie and his bottle in that movie “Aladdin” or the show from the sixties— “I dream of Jeannie,” that was always moms favorite show.
Most people would bring negative assumption to the matter and ask, ‘Aren’t they like slaves or prisoners?’ I’d ignore them, but they continued, as if I gave a dam. ‘That’s so stupid, I could and I would never want anything like that.’ They continued, but I didn’t mind, the way I lived my life was completely different in the ways of genie. However, the “bottle” concept was still very close.
You see, my head, my mind, was the genie bottle—the place where no one could ever bother me, that’s what I at least thought, until more annoying people began to come around me more often. Mom would always say, ‘Welcome to being an adult, welcome to the real life.’ But was it in fact the real life, was this truly what we all were meant to become—I would begin to question her enough just to make her yell—a mom’s boiling point, I called it. I never believed where I am now to be the real life, what if the real life is sunshine and rainbows, what if where we are now could be our heaven, why must we make it our hell. I figured since no one in this life is willing to compromise, that it be best that I just stay within the bottle.
The hardest part about living inside my head, my genie bottle, were the people I encountered on a daily. Rather it was good or bad, others would always find a way to get inside my sanctuary. It pissed me off—my head was not only a place of privacy, but one where I planned all my goals and dreams, strategically planning my way out of this so called real-life of our society. But it was hard to do so at times—times when I needed it the most.
I remember it like it was yesterday, speeding to work only to have a co-worker destroy my peace of mind, my positive standing. I would meditate, sometimes workout an hour before, feeling like a million dollars afterwards. But when I got to work, there was always that one person there to steal the glory away, my glory.
On occasion when I had time, I’d run to the bathroom, I wasn’t constipated if that’s what you’re thinking, but it was the only place where I could be within my bottle. Although, even that was hard to do for that the bathroom reeked of something that died—died in one’s stomach, and more so their ass. But oddly, it made me smile, not because it was pleasing, I don’t believe anyone could see it or rather smell something as such—pleasing. But I smiled only because I wondered who the villain was behind the smelly destruction. Was it Kyle? or was it Brad, I thought. Just watching the nasty shit they ate for lunch everyday was enough to give off the sense that at least one of them, at least one, was the culprit.
Those were the days, I would say. But they became much brighter, different, all because of one, and I awe them my life. During those times, I would meet a woman, this woman gave me hope. She was beautiful as ever, and still to this day, at least that’s what I envision. The first day that we met was at a Barnes and Noble. I’d go there for inspiration at times, lingering around the self-help section, and after a bit of browsing—I would take a book and find a place a to sit as I skimmed through. After a couple of minutes, I still couldn’t get any answers out of the book and so I resorted to my bottle once more.
While I was in it, I dreamed of magical forest and swimming in the most highly purified waters—lakes and streams. But then it hit me, the smell was hypnotizing, the smell of a sweet, sweet-angel. My eyes opened and to my left there she was—Monica.
“I’m sorry did I wake you, or interrupt your reading. I hope you don’t mind me being here, was the only empty spot I could find,” she said. I looked around, I could see that there was at least five more spots available, but my heart was not dark for a goddess, and so I allowed it. I gave a closed smile and just shook my head. “Oh… okay then… well, I guess I could find another spot, I’ll be on my way,” she said. I could tell she was hurt, with her sarcastic, “adieu,” at the end.
I’d felt like a complete ass, hopefully she didn’t mean I meant for her to leave, although the gesture I’d given was a one star if anyone were to judge it. Desperately, I’d ask her to stay as I grabbed her arm with a gentle touch, with gentleman greeting, and so she did.
We sat next to each other for at least half an hour before speaking again—we were both shy on that day. However, the ball was in my court, she made the initiative to sit next to me, so it be only right if I now I had done the same, something. And yes, we men do see the signs—sometimes we’re just to shy or to scared on a woman’s response to ever make a move, but I guess that’s what separates the men from the boys, wouldn’t you agree.
But moving on, she then asked me what book was I reading, I told her it was “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. She smiled, telling me she’s read the book before. And to follow that up she asked me why was I reading it, why I chose it. I told her just as I have told any other and she smiled again, even chuckled a little—she had an awkward laugh, snorting away like a wild boar, ironically, I fell in love with it.
I asked her what the hell was so funny, and she replied with one word, “Life.” I was amused, I was eager to find out more of what she meant by that. “Life is funny don’t you think,” she said. She explained to me that life was funny because people always take it so seriously. “Everyone plays a character in this magnificent story of the world, which one are you? You could be an average joe or you could be… James Bond, if that’s what you wish? You do look like you could wear the hell out of a suit,” she said as she winked with her left eye. I was blushing, but luckily my skin wasn’t of the right pigmentation to reveal such.
I sat there speechless, thinking about all the missed opportunities in the world, all the mistakes I’ve made. She, Monica she once told me, brought to my attention that maybe I didn’t have to hide in my bottle, that maybe I needed to be braver and stronger and make life afraid of me, instead of me being afraid of it. Or maybe she meant that life and I needed each other, and together we could flourish—that maybe that was the meaning behind our creation. I mean… why would we all be here together, if no connection, nor love was shared.
Boldly as I was feeling at the moment, I told her I liked her, and that I was happy to meet a woman that would slap me in the face with my own ignorance, no matter how large a print it left upon me. I then went in for a kiss.
“Sir, sir, sir!” an anonymous voice spoke. I however ignored it, I was about to go in for the kill, I was the lion and Monica was my beautiful gazelle. “Sir! It’s time for you to leave, we are closing now. Do you plan to buy that book or not?” the voice asked. I awakened, I looked around and there was no Monica. Surely this couldn’t had been a dream I thought, and it seemed it was. I gathered my belongings and decided to buy the book as a remembrance of that day.
As the store clerk rang me up for the total, she pulled from the book what seemed to be a strain of hair. “Uh, disgusting,” she said, however not so disgusting to me—I knew, I assumed it was Monica’s.
My head is a genie bottle that is a fact, but still to this day I wondered if what I experienced was a dream or reality, if Monica was a reality.
Therapist replies. “I’m sorry Jeremiah, but that will be all today, we’ve unfortunately ran out of time. Thank you so much for sharing that with me, that showed real courage, I know that was hard to do. Rather what you told me is a reality or a dream, it doesn’t matter, you are now on the path of being redeemed. Let us schedule to meet again, and we will figure out the next steps, we will decode this, this bottle of yours, and bring you back to reality. My secretary will reschedule you.”
I then spoke with the secretary. “Alrighty I got you all set up for the next appointment. How was your appointment with Monica? If you don’t mind me asking.” My heart sped fast enough to pull from its veins. I asked the secretary what the therapist name was again. “Monica, you know, Dr. Lopez, Dr. Monica Lopez.”
I ran back to the office and she was gone, it was like a dream, I felt like Decaprio in that movie “Inception”. But the days went by fast, only for me to meet the so called doc once again, but a week before was told she resigned and that I would be given a new therapist. I felt I was losing my mind, but I knew this wasn’t a dream for that my head was a genie bottle, my reality.