I don't think the world has room for me. When I see a pregnant woman, I think of the snakes that give birth to live offspring--a tangle of ropey bodies sliding against each other inside mucus and membranes. There is something off-putting about the human body, the corporeal form and the transformations it must make as it lives and then dies, and ends. I feel like a being trapped in a body, a meat enclosure, a mortal coil, wrapped around me, suffocating me--and I cannot connect with the other beings in the other bodies.
"You need to use a number two pencil," says Mrs. Grafton, looming over me, in a flowered dress that stretches against her ever-expanding bulk. Her perfume makes my nose twitch. We are alone in the room.
"It is," I say.
"No, dear, that's a red pencil crayon. I know you can't see colors, but you need to remember to read what's written on the side."
She's right. I can't see colors, at least not the way other people apparently do. It baffled the doctors when I was little. I'm a defective human.
"It's all I brought," I say.
Mrs. Grafton sighs.
"Fine," she says. "I'll lend you one."
She totters off back to her desk at the front of the room. I watch her open the top drawer. Her eyes are turned away. I shut my eyelids and relax. I feel the air pressing in on me, getting colder. The atoms are slowing down. I unhook myself from the nerves in my skin, the outer layer of the carriage I ride around it. The unfriendly sensation is gone, and I'm free to push further. I stop breathing. I open my eyes.
Mrs. Grafton is frozen, stuck in a single frame. I guess it would be completely dark to a normal human, but I can see everything, because I can sense everything. All the fizzing atoms, jostling and wanting to move, that make up the room. The windows are opaque to me, in this modularity, and look, what I would term white. I can feel the structure behind all things.
I force my body to stand. It resists of course, glued to the same frame that Mrs. Grafton currently inhabits, but I force the body to move. I leave the desk behind. I float up to the lights in the ceiling. I grab them, touch them, the slide my hand into the series of metal slats. It feels good. Satisfying. I slice into the fluorescent tubes. I free the gas inside from the frame, and it travels into me, and I start glowing. I want to fill the whole room with light. My concentration waivers. Gravity pulls at me gently. I feel heat. My stolen time is up, and a feel sad because I haven't found a way to extend my excursions forever--
Mrs. Grafton screams.
I am in my desk again, eyes still closed, but the light above me explodes and I'm showered with glass.