Paralysis and Stillness

My accident left me paralyzed from the neck down.‏  ‎I lied there in the gloom, the shades drawn,‭ ‬the television sputtering muted pastel images as I decided when to bite my tongue off‭; ‬the feeding tubes pushing mush into my blood as people won money‭; ‬the Kinkaid wallpaper signaling some ideal future I never wanted,‭ ‬and the days and nights running like my tears.

‏ Things were no different the day I met the old man in black.‭  ‬He kept well covered and classy,‭ ‬like he was dressed for a funeral.‭  ‬I would've found his presence totally ironic,‭ ‬like some personification of death,‭ ‬some perfect end to a meaningless life,‭ ‬if his blue eyes hadn't been so strange.‭  ‬I was curious to know who he was,‭ ‬but his presence like that of any stranger,‭ ‬annoyed me.

‏‎He smiled at me as if I was his long lost son or brother,‭ ‬and this sense came over me that he might be some religious nutjub.

‏“‎What do you want‭?” ‬I said.

‏“‎Nothing.‭” ‬The man said,‭ ‬turning the television off.‭  ‬He sat down next to it with his legs crossed,‭ ‬in the corner of the room.

‏An awkward silence passed before I spoke again,‭ “‬What is it exactly that you want‭?”

“Nothing.‏” ‎The man said again,‭ ‬grinning capriciously as he went for the blinds.

‏ “‎Keep those closed.‭”

He pulled his hand back and pocketed it,‏ “‎I'm a therapist.‭”

“I don't need one.‏  ‎Who told you to come here‭?”

“Your therapist.‏”

“What are you here to do‏?”

“Nothing,‏ ‎really.‭” ‬The old man laughed.

‏“‎Get out you crazy old prick.‭”

“How are you feeling‏?”

“Like shit.‏  ‎How about you‭?” ‬I said.

‏“‎I couldn't be more content.‭  ‬I have all I want in life.‭”

“Oh yeah‏?  ‎And what is that‭?  ‬Besides making a living bothering paralyzed people‭?”

“I exist.‏” ‎The old man said.

‏ “‎Sounds like a consolation prize.‭” ‬I said.

‏ “‎Do you know that you exist‭?”

“Yeah,‏ ‎but I might as well be nothing..‭  ‬I might as well be dead.‭”

“Life and death are just concepts.‭”

The man was really starting to bother me with his abstract philosophy,‏ “‎What the hell are you talking about‭?”

“You have negative ideas about being alive.‭  ‬When you believe in an idea it affects your entire nervous system.‭  ‬The belief in nothing is the feeling of nothing.‭  ‬The belief in paralysis is the feeling of paralysis.‭  ‬But that is not the sum-total of reality.‭“

“I believe that I can't move my fuckin‏' ‎body because I can't move my fuckin‭' ‬body.‭  ‬What more is there to reality?”

The man in black leaned in,‏ ‎his face shifting towards sincerity as he pointed at me with a relaxed hand,‭ “You are paralyzed but not still.  Words are the shadows of reality.  Reality‬ is light.  Reality is here.”