|The voice comes to me late at night as I twist and turn, trying desperately to calm the raging torrent of thoughts threatening to burst my brain.
Her dulcet voice is seductive, and very familiar.
"Kip," she reluctantly begins, her voice touched with overtones of compassion and sympathy.
"I thought it was about time for you to make an appearance…" I respond just as reluctantly.
"I just can't stand idly by and watch you suffer. Not when I can help…"
"That's funny. I thought sitting idly by was what you did best." I respond waspishly. Then, immediately regretting my irritable tone "Look, I appreciate the sentiment, but we've been through this before; there's nothing you can do to help me."
"I can help! I've helped so many others who have been through situations like yours."
"Really? How have you helped others?"
"I've offered them answers; I've offered them comfort." She replies defensively.
"You've don't offer answers. You promise that someone else has the answers, and someday they might be so kind as to let us in on them. I can find no comfort in that."
Always quick to discard an approach that isn't working, she quickly changes tactics. "Your mother and father are disappointed you won't listen to me. If they support me, aren't I good enough for you?"
Smiling to myself, I reply almost automatically "My mother and father were debating to vote between Buchannon and Nader in the last election. I wouldn't consider that a rousing recommendation if I were you."
"It's not just your parents. The rest of your family… your friends…. Your peers…"
Now I'm almost beginning to enjoy myself. "I know you're not a big fan of logic, but you're making a common logical fallacy known as an appeal to popularity. Instead of constructing a logical argument based in fact, you hope to gloss over your lack of supporting evidence by social pressure."
She rallies gamely. "I am a fan of logic. I just don't think it answers all questions adequately. Logic requires all the pieces in the puzzle. Life doesn't always hand us all the pieces, yet we still have to act. Can logic tell you where you brother is?"
It always comes down to that, doesn't it. "Let me guess, you know where Chris is?"
"Yes, he's with me."
"Somehow I knew you were going to say that. If that's true, can you do me a favor?"
"Give him a swift kick to the gonads… tell him it's from me."
To my surprise, she actually laughs. Her laugh quickly transitions to a sigh of concern. "You know, you'll need to forgive him at some point. It wasn't his fault. It's genetics."
I reply ruefully "My head knows that, but my heart is still having a little trouble with it."
"Seems I'm not the only one who has a problem with logic," she tosses playfully back at me. "Don't you accuse me of relying too much on my heart?"
"The operative words there are too much. However, I think the analogy is apt."
"My heart is in error, I should forgive Chris. The heart is often in error. We must base our conclusions on fact."
"But some things don't have a basis in fact, they need to be based in faith!"
My voice is almost dripping in sarcastic antagonism. "I could have faith that a giant cucumber named Guido controls the universe, but it wouldn't make it true."
Her response is confused and angry. "That's insane!"
"My point exactly!" I offer smugly.
There is an awkward pause for a long moment, as she fumes, breathing quickly. Her breathing slows, and I can almost sense a satisfied smirk replacing her anger.
"Now who's the one avoiding debating the facts?" she offers slyly. "I know you too well Kip. You're just hoping that a flair for the dramatic is mistaken for a strong point."
Her insight unsettles me, and I feel a bitter and hateful heat starting from my chest and radiating out to my fingertips that I can barely suppress. "You know, you're almost like a vulture to me. You wait and wait, hovering endlessly, always looking for a moment of weakness. You aren't trying to help me. You want me to validate you."
Another awkward pause, longer than the first.
Out of the darkness she eventually offers "I know it's not me your angry at. I forgive you… I always forgive you."
'It's not your place to forgive me!' I mutter under my breath. She always does this – condescendingly asserts her moral superiority, by forgiving me. I find her patronizing façade galling; neither of us speak for the rest of the evening.
The first flickers of morning break through my bedroom window, tentatively probing the darkness, and gently caress the white carpet on my bedroom floor. I realize that I am alone.
"I'll be back… I haven't given up on you!" I hear her voice call faintly in the distant recesses of my skull.
"You never do." I offer to the empty air, and fall into a fitful slumber for an hour or so.
Eventually the raging waters inside my head settle and become more tranquil, and my fitful slumber transitions to a peaceful sleep.
I sleep through my alarm the next morning.