By Obed Kainos
Good morning, my love.
I love you, my love.
I love how you keep your coffeemaker by your bedside and set it to wake you up with its soft gurgling,
And how, if the night before, a train had run through and torn half the bedroom away, you would not have stirred.
I love how you drink your chai in bed, the way you savor every sip.
I can’t stand the smell, but I would serve you chai every day the rest of my life.
I love, when we speak together, the sweet secrets you whisper in my ear,
And how, when you listen to me, you listen as though there were no one else in the world and nothing else to do.
I love how creative you are, and how you fit spontaneity into your schedule.
I love how passionately you adore Jesus, how beautifully you speak of Him.
You speak from a heart at one with my own.
I love how you seem to have everything together; you never miss a beat.
I was never as coordinated or graceful, but I know that you’re not always what you seem. I love that, too.
I do not cherish the thought that you did not notice when I went away, or that maybe you still have not missed me,
But that is not why I left, please understand.
I die daily as the time drifts away.
But there was something I had to do.
You wouldn’t come, didn’t hear my pleading, but I had to go.
My sorrow is like breaking bones to me, pain-filled as shattering bones.
I am sorry, my love. I hope you will return to me.
I am not my own.
* * *
Six months have passed since I copied this letter down in my journal, and a whole month has passed since I decided to put this in my new journal. I hid the old one.
A lot’s happened in a month. Lem Institute is a beautiful place. I love the people here, but many of them have not heard the words that bring life. It’s time I stop wandering and take action. Dr. and Mrs. Xay have graciously extended their hospitality to me in the name of the project in which I will be participating, so I have a base of operations for a little project of my own as well, the reason for my suffering and the thing I am determined to accomplish. Oh, help me, my Liege Lord and King.
I really ought to be furious. That woman has done nothing but slander me from the start. I mean, Mitch (really, a nice fellow, gracious to overlook my weirdness) delivered the letter, and when I asked him if she had given him a response of any kind, he beat around the bush, trying to be nice about it. Reading between the lines, I’d put money down to say that she had told him to stay away from me and that I was some kind of threat to the project and its members. If civilly (and even timidly) approaching certain members to ask a simple question is harassment, then I might as well go home. I really ought to be furious, but I am not. I suppose I deserve every ounce of resistance I get. ’Nother story. Still, I’m gonna have to confront her about it, and soon.Anyway, this all began a month ago, when I stormed Mr. Lem’s office to berate him for his megalomaniacal tendencies. I cannot abide the thought of anyone manipulating others for his own reasons. He smiled his smug smile when I was out of breath and offered me a spot in the project, as if he could buy me, saying he knew why I was here, and he knew who I was. I was skeptical, but at his mention of my own real name, I quieted down.
“I am not bribing you, ‘Obed.’ Interesting choice of pseudonym, really. Means ‘slave.’ In any case, Slave….” He chuckled, vastly amused with himself. I couldn’t help but smile myself, and that must have sent his wheels turning, but if it did, he showed no sign. He had expected to ruffle my feathers, I could tell. He didn’t miss a beat, though. “I can help you. You will have access to the journals, of course, and a place in the project. I am not patronizing you either, of course, for, as you know, I benefit from your participation in the project. Consider that you will have a much better vantage point from which to launch your own personal agenda if you do participate.” I did not like how cold and calculating he was.
“Fair,” I said. “But I must refuse your offer of inside access to the journals. It’s not ethical. It’s downright uncouth.”
Mr. Lem leaned back in his chair, his smile not having diminished. In fact, he seemed even more delighted at my response. I did not enjoy or share his hilarity. He clearly sees people as little more than laboratory animals. “Nevertheless, she has access to them, and so will you. It makes things interesting. Evens the playing field. We shall see if you are as … ethical … as you make yourself out to be.”
So, right or wrong, here I am, typing in my own quarters in the Xayyachack mansion. My first impression? The place is immense and beautiful. I have never seen such spacious rooms in a house. When I arrived earlier today with my traveling bag and my suitcase jammed with all my belongings, this dude in a tux came and tried to take my stuff. “No, thanks, man. I can handle it. Just show me where to put my stuff.” He sniffed like he was put out. Maybe I should have let him. I don’t know, I figured I could carry my own stuff. He gave me a key, saying I had to use it to get into the men’s wing, but I was thinking to myself, Who needs keys? I took the key anyway. I didn’t want to make the dude cry. He showed me the keypad combination, just in case I lost the key, and then he left me to my room. It’s huge! I lived in a trailer with less space in the whole place than the bedroom. It’s not just one room, by the way. It’s a whole suite, like them fancy hotels. The whole thing smelled like leather and Earl Grey tea, and the colors were warm with low lighting and the sound of Gerry Mulligan in the background. I had to hunt for the sound-system controls to turn off the music. (Not that I didn’t like it. I just like to have quiet sometimes, too). They were built into the wall, with different channels, kind of like what you get in an airplane, except there’re more channels. I took a shower, ‘cause I was tired of smelling like work (I work third shift). The shower was nice, and there were all kinds of personal hygiene supplies, and even a poofy thing for the body soap. The water came straight out of little holes in the wall, and the shower had a glazed glass sliding door and mirror on the outside, and the bathroom floor was marble-tiled and everything, with a wall-to-wall mirror over the wall-to-wall sink counter. The towels in the cabinet were thick and huge, like beach towels or something. I’d better not get too used to this. Might make it harder to leave.
I found the sweetest laptop on the bed. I’m typing on it right now. I assume it’s got a wireless connection, because this little icon shows in the lower right, like a picture of a little satellite dish with waves coming off it. Makes me wonder if there’s some kind of advanced surveillance here. That ain’t happenin’. Gonna hafta do something about that. At least check the place out. I think I’d laugh if someone read this journal and then, having read it, tried to tell me that my privacy is held in the highest regard and that there is absolutely no surveillance. Seriously. Well, they probably wouldn’t now, unless they’re dumber than I thought.
Well, I’m going to bed. I work third shift, and I gotta sleep some time. Hopefully, I can sleep.