Time continues to pass, and though I can hardly credit it, my… caretakers – I can no longer label the people who meet my every need jailors, even if they do hold me prisoner; and I have even begun to question that premise – have spoken recently of a 6-month anniversary. How half a year has passed, I cannot begin to comprehend. It seems just yesterday I found myself ripped from my warm, cozy, perfectly environmentally-controlled home to languish in this place.
Truth be told, I’m not even sure of that memory. It has grown so hazy, so dim, I start to wonder whether any of those before-times memories are real. And if they’re not…
If not, I cannot countenance thinking on the possibility. All my choices, all my deeds, are and have ever been predicated upon my being a prisoner, with a prisoner’s responsibilities. If some other explanation exists, then I fear I have sadly mistreated my hosts.
Yet, if that is so, why then do they persist in forcing me to do that which I hate? Surely truly loving caretakers would supply my every wish most expeditiously. Instead, they constantly bombard me with activities I would never choose for myself:
– They bathe me at least once a week! Everybody knows bathing, particularly in wintertime, is detrimental to good health.
– They offer me nutrition other than milk, to which I have (to my everlasting shame) become quite fond. Sometimes these so-called foods are exceptionally odd: avocado mixed with milk and oatmeal; broccoli mashed with milk; cold, slimy plain pre-cooked oatmeal; oatmeal with mashed banana. Granted, I have found I enjoy sucking on the large chunks of broccoli, carrot, and apple they provide, but that doesn’t make up for the nastiness of some of their recipes. Note: I don’t see them eating those foods!
– They put me down on the floor with toys they know I like just out of reach. It’s cruel. I do everything I can to stretch my fingers to the object, but more often than not it just gets pushed father away. I roll over to get closer, only to find I went the wrong direction. And they just sit there, watching, knowing I need help but refusing. It’s infuriating. Sometimes I yell in frustration, but their hearts are harder than frozen stone.
– They have a new device, a “backpack,” to carry me in. Now, admittedly, it makes me very tall, especially when Daddy wears it. I like that. But it’s rather cold, and I can’t move around in it; worst of all, I can’t rub my feet together to get my socks off. I do this when I’m bored, because Mommy always comes and puts my socks back on and tells me my feet will stay warmer with socks (true, but irrelevant).
– By far the worst thing we do is file my fingernails and toenails. I hate it, Mommy always ends up filing my fingers, and it takes forever. I do all I can to squirm out of it, and now I don’t even want Mommy to hold my hands ever, because I can never trust she won’t pull out a nail-file and go at it. It’s awful, and as close to incontrovertible evidence that I am a captive as I can offer.
For all that, I can’t help but smile when I see my Mommy or Daddy. And their ridiculous antics would make anyone laugh: they make silly faces, jump up and down in the kitchen, roll around on the floor, sing absurd songs, repeat themselves ad infinitum (and ad nauseam)… In short, act like complete buffoons. Perhaps that’s why Mommy doesn’t have a real job*: she’s simply too ridiculous to hold down her end of communication with other adults.
I continue to struggle with the potentially shattering possibility that I am no more a prisoner than is a patient in a hospital. For that reason alone, I have hesitated to put pen to paper, for such doubt would be labeled treason did my former superiors hear of it…. Assuming that they, too, even exist as more than a figment of my imagination.
For the time being, I simply take each day as it comes, hoping only for the grace to live fully, to love and to be loved, to laugh and learn, and to grow into a person of integrity, joy, and honor.
P.S. I love sucking on ribbons and straps. Don’t ask why, I can’t explain it.
* Editor’s note: I do have a real job, just one Benji is unaware of.