reminder of an unstable mind
And it grew.
Which would've been merely unpleasant--a perfect use for calamine, perhaps--if it hadn't started in his head.
And it spread... of course it spread.
The itch, and its accompanying voices. The voices are worse than the itch. With the itch you can just slam yourself against a wall. Or yell at someone, or nothing at all. Or jump on a plane to Pittsburgh and roll around in some Monongahela River sludge.
That helps... a bit.
But the voices stay with you. They have tea with you at 4 o'clock. And they steal the choicest crumpet you had been eyeing while the ladies who lunch droned on and on about some out-of-date fashion you never had much attachment to.
He ran from the voices once. But even surrounded--as he was--by the soothing, humidless splendour of the Pacific Northwest, they caught up.
And he was still scared. And still lost. And still not good enough, or smart enough, or worthy of any affection. Which was fine when that rare voice supporting his cocky stature and credit card use came by... actually let him have the good crumpet.
But they were more often just mean, Old World queens.
They kept the salves to themselves.
And the itch spread.
And the voices laughed.
And sometimes I joined in ...