Here it was, enduring complete exposure. My eyes ran over every intimidating muscle, rippling beneath skin alike mine. Threads of discolored saliva attached themselves between its long jagged top and bottom teeth. My heart barely beat out of place but I could hear it thumping from inside my head. I knew it could hear it too, it lived inside there, of course it could hear. I could feel it looking right through me and looking out at itself again through behind my eyes. I felt its thoughts too, it was a familiar feeling. It hated itself.
Malicious claws protruded from its boney toes and fingertips. Its shoulders hung low, it hunched over to follow the sharp angle connecting the short wall to the low ceiling. The position made its whole torso rise and fall with the slow pace of its steady breathing, perfectly in sync with mine.
Its eyes were bandaged but I knew it could see me, I held momentary eye contact with where I could imagine eyes were hiding.
Then, I blinked.
We held still for so long when it shifted its weight to its rear I heard every bone crack and strained muscle creak. It knew exactly what I was thinking, I felt it in my head. A lump crawled slowly up my throat as I watched it lift its lanky right hand warily to its covered eyes. In one shaky movement, as if unsure of itself, it tucked its claws beneath the bandages, and began to peel them downward. As the bandages descended, it permitted its white knuckles to graze above the eye before revealing an empty eye socket. Only it wasn’t empty. It had eyes as black as a power outage surrounded by swollen, exhausted, drooping eyelids. It’s eyes had no shine to them.
Eye contact had been locked, like between our pupils there were handcuffs. It let out a noise like a dove the size of a house and revealed its other puffy eye. Its bottom eyelid stuck to the bandage for a moment before separating, making a slight tearing noise. Tears began to rush out like spilled water flowing off a counter. I let mine out, they filled my eyes and burned running down my cheeks. I felt the warm drops land at the neckline of my shirt. I tried to breathe in and my lungs reacted like an old stalling car. I let out a small whine. Its hands were leveling themselves to a low point, palms open and faced toward me. With a cock of its head, it let out another purr. I rose to my feet and stumbled forward, fell into its chest and let out a sob.
Reality: I was alone in my room and I had drawn him perfectly. The monster in my head.
All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up. -James Baldwin