This pocket is my home. No one knows of me here. I am alone. I know not how I came to be. I know only of my home, and of the voices outside. The latter come to my hearing now and again. Muffled vibrations of a world that I love and fear. They are good, the voices. I need them. Yet, I do not often wish to hear them. They come to me bearing both the sweet promise of company and to warn me of the dreaded coming of the cold season. The memories of what befalls me in such times are vague. Dreamlike. Memories of being thrown about my home. The cold freezes my every fibre and clouds my mind.
Once this has gone on for long enough, I am returned to a more temperate climate, the voices outside subside and I am alone once more. Left to slowly thaw into consciousness and recover a clear mind. Awareness comes back to me in waves. These moments of awakening are torture to me as they stir in me feelings I know not how to master, provoke in me thoughts of which I fear the truthfulness. But, to rid me of this evil cold season would mean to rid me of the only company I have ever known. My life gathers meaning through the notion that I am not alone. One voice in particular is dear to me. I know it nearest me. I feel its warmth through the walls of my home. It reaches out to me like a candle in the dark, with words such as snow and again and melodic sounds of boundless joy and laughter. I yearn for its ever presence and for its love.
Alas, how I wish that the sacrifice demanded for such a love was lesser.
Nevertheless, I learned to bear through these cold hard times as I had no control over them in the least. Over time they gave me a sense of pride knowing that in some way, my sacrifice was making me worthy of the love that I sought and valued more than my own life. Time went on, and I, braving season after season of the bitter cold, became weather-beaten and spread to weak wisps. I knew not how much more I could handle.
One day, my luck came to change, and even though it changed for the worst, I saw in it something good. I took it as a sign. A sign that perhaps, through all my punishment, I had finally obtained the right to requited love. How both far and close to the truth I was, I could not have known. It all happened as I was, yet again, caught in a battle with the assailing cold. There was a great trembling in the walls of my home. What new evil was this to be?
Distressed, I looked up and saw the velcro roof tearing open. Wind and snow came pouring ruthlessly in. A sudden darkness filled the sky up above and, with a great roar, the sky came crashing down upon me. In my last waking moments, I saw the roof close up above bringing darkness again to my home.
Time passed unbeknownst to me. Then, the temperature slowly increased, and, as it did, I regained awareness of my surroundings. Although I was still lying, flattened on the floor, I was no longer crushed under the weight of the fallen sky. What had happened? Around me, my home was a wreck. The walls were all bent out of shape and stained chocolate brown. My home was wrecked and I felt wounded at the sight of it. As always, the voice had left me behind. I sighed. I thought I had reached the end of my pitiful existence. I wept in silence. Was there no love out there for the limp and inanimate kind?
Suddenly, I heard a sound coming from a corner of my home. I froze. The thought settled in my whole body with a sharp sting: I am not alone. A crumb lay there. It seemed to have broken off from the falling sky. I immediately became self-conscious. I felt vulnerable and afraid, but most of all, I felt ashamed of my recent display of unashamed self-pity. We examined each other from both corners of my home. Moments passed. Curiously, I felt neither judgement coming from the stranger, nor any sense of immediate danger. Instead, I felt… at ease in Crumb’s presence. I contemplated the prospect of a new friendship, but felt immediately unworthy. I shuddered, anticipating whatever torment would inevitably come as a price for this new friendship. Time passed some more. And, however much I waited, no cold season came. No pain ensued. Was there no suffering endemic to this friendship? How then would I know its value? How then would I know myself worthy of it? I felt like a thief about to be caught red-handed as I stole another look at my new companion. The Crumb lay as before. At first glance, it seemed my exact physical opposite. It had strong, well defined features. It was quasi-spherical in shape and seemed rough to the touch. I felt a warmth inside me. Again, I felt weary, doubtful that such a warmth wouldn’t be counter-balanced, that it would come at no price. But nothing happened to validate such fears. In fact, in perspective, they seemed wholly irrational. For a long time we stayed there, motionless, simply enjoying each other’s presence. Then, unexpectedly, the voices came back. That was it. My luck was coming to an end. The cold season was coming and my new-found friendship would come to an end.
The cold season indeed came and we were both put through the usual torture. It lasted longer than ever before, yet it did not feel as cold, and when it finally came to pass, I awoke to find Crumb still in my home. All the commotion, if anything, had only succeeded in bringing us closer together. For the first time, I had shared the burden of this gruesome experience. Someone knew of my lonesome, tormented fate. This thought enlightened my spirits. I felt a regain of confidence and resolve. By my friend’s side, I felt the strength to weather any and all cold seasons to come. Let them come, I thought bravely. And so they did. Each of them bringing us closer. And closer. And closer.
Until one day our camaraderie was such that to be apart became unbearable. Mere company could no longer quench my desire for this magnificent entity with which I have shared so much hardship. Who had supported me through every cold season since its coming to my home, however long and arduous. It was clear to me now that I had been terribly wrong. It was the voices outside that brought about the cold season. Their voices were never meant as a warning. How wrong I was to love those whose very wrath I had endured time and time again. I felt betrayed. And, at the same time, I felt relief. My gratitude towards my friend the Crumb was infinite. And in celebration of our friendship, possessed by a feeling of love and invincibility, I set my mind to the accomplishment of the impossible: I would, for my friend, will movement. With all my might, I infused ever fibre of my inanimate body with this will. A moment passed, and to my endless astonishment, it is not I who succeeded first in this indomitable task, but rather my friend Crumb. How empowering it is when intention is reciprocated even in the absence of common accord! I was beside myself with joy. Losing no time, not wanting my friend to, by my inaction, come to doubt its action; I redoubled my efforts. I would be worthy of this friendship whatever the cost! And at last, I was inanimate no more.
However minute our movements were, we found comfort in taking action on our feelings for one another. I, of course, take the liberty of speaking for the both of us, for doubts could no longer be cast upon the reciprocity of our feelings for one another. I felt at peace. Happy. An overwhelming sensation, full of comfort and warmth overtook me.
How shocked I was when I realized that I had actually begun to smoke. By contracting my every fibre, I had involuntarily created too much friction. The smoke soon evolved to embers. But what importance is impending death in comparison with what my eyes now beheld. Crumb had begun to crumble under the exertion, too brittle was its body for the strain it had forced upon it. This horrific succession of events had taken my awareness away from the fact that the voices had returned. Another cold season was upon us. Although the cold helped to halt my combustion, it did nothing for my friend’s steady crumble. I lay powerless. Crumb, my only friend, who had helped me so, was dying before me and there was nothing I could do. Nor could I keep from watching this heart-shattering spectacle. In the last moments before I lost consciousness from the cold, in the last moments of my friend’s life, the roof tore open for the first time since the incident that had brought me this, my precious friend, and from the sky came a wet finger which swept away the remains of Crumb’s body. What indescribable horror! The cold started to take its toll on my mind and soon thereafter I lost consciousness. From cold and sheer despair.
When I awoke, all was lost. My friend was gone, and I was robbed from the dignity of death. I was left to myself.
My thoughts were now set upon one thing only. In little time, I managed to set myself in motion again. I remember my last thoughts as my body burst into smoke anew. I didn’t think of the cold season, nor of the voices outside. I thought not even of my friend the Crumb whom I was sure to meet again in the afterlife once the flames had consumed me whole. No. I thought of my home. For although I could not be sure, I felt inside me, in these last moments of life, that this small woolly pocket I call home was also mother to me. That I was born of mother’s lumpy walls and that ever since then, she had sheltered me to the best of her ability from the brutal world outside. That had harboured the love of my life.
Mother, I thought, with the last of my strength, I…