Turtle. Hippo. Splinter.

an Olive Ridley hatchling in French GuianaThe illustrations in this story make no sense. I see the images whether my eyes are open or closed. I don’t know where they are coming from. Are my eyes even open?

A turtle hatchling on a beach? Why do I feel no sand under my feet? I’m on a train maybe. Could be on a bus. There are other people around. I smell cold sandwiches in paper bags. I smell leather clothing, like old shoes. Or a purse.

I can’t feel anything. Am I in a coma?

I hear a soft sound, like squeezing toothpaste. Like unscrewing an Oreo cookie. The turtle moves. The turtle doesn’t move. I can’t tell. Is it making the noise? What does an egg yolk sound like?

When I shift my head the image fractures with a feeling like a brief loud buzz would feel like if you felt it instead of heard it. Like a jangle of a struck nerve. Like maybe there’s a splinter of something in my brain. Is that possible?

I think about shaking my head but I can’t make myself do it.

I feel like I’m sitting up, but I can’t tell. I twitch, or at least I feel like I twitch, and now I see a baby hippo.

Newborn baby hippo at Berlin ZooI don’t know what to do about the splinter. Would a splinter in your brain work its way out the way a splinter in your hand would?

It feels like it’s been days.

At no time do I feel the splinter trying to work its way out. Shift my head slightly, image fractures into static with the jangle-buzz feeling, then image is instantly back.

I still smell old leather and cold sandwiches.

Am I dying? I don’t feel like I’m dying. I don’t feel like much of anything. If I were dying, wouldn’t I be dead by now? Days of nothing, it seems. No hunger. No thirst. Just a baby turtle, then a baby hippo, illustrating a story that doesn’t tell a story.

Something happened, but I don’t know what happened. There is a splinter in my head. A short-circuit. A feeling of people around me, a soft sound, a feeling of sitting up, a smell of clothes and stuff people carry with them in the mornings. A turtle and a hippo.

How long have I been like this? What is up with that splinter?

How long can I live like this? Turtle, hippo, why don’t I feel afraid? I want to be afraid. I want to be afraid of the splinter in my head. I feel no fear. Is that how deep the splinter goes?

Am I breathing? I can’t tell if I’m breathing.

Turtle. Hippo. Splinter.


June 15, 2007 · by xalieri · Posted in Everything Else  


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