I do not trust my body as of late.
My feet do not want to bear the weight of my body. Every step I take is a painful step, an awful step filled with needles and broken glass that kiss the soles, the pain running up my legs like a forest fire, spreading along my body like a flush of skin.
I find that I have to take my time, that I have to walk slowly, making sure to keep every step in mind, making sure to be aware of my body. I count my steps so that I am aware of them, count them so that I will not fall.
One, two, three, four. Five, six, seven eight. Nine, ten, eleven, twelve.
I can no longer run.
When I try to run, when I try to jog towards a buss, leap towards a destination, I find my body filling with stone. It is as if the Elephant Man that lives inside of me flicks a switch and starts an avalanche.
I can feel the cement filling my legs, filling my body, inch by inch, bit by bit. And soon, I am rooted to the spot, unable to run, unable to walk until the stone is able to leak out of my pores into the air.
I stand there, waiting for the spasms to stop, counting, always counting.
Thirteen, fourteen fifteen, sixteen. Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. Twenty one, twenty two, twenty three, twenty four.
At these moments, the spasms that normally are a tattoo of song sound like laughter. Hyena laughter, Elephant laughter. The Elephant Man that lives in my skin, the reclusive, painful Cybill Paulsen, the evil twin.
I try to plead with him, reason with him. But I fear that by giving him a name, I have given him power over me.