I know he’s still in here. He’s just crouched down on the carpet where I can’t see him. I hear sounds, and I can’t make them out. Is it a man moving around on the floor of my bedroom, or is it something else?
There are strange sounds at night and I can’t get used to them. The outside ones and the inside ones get mixed up. The warm air blower thingy groans and creaks. That elephant who blows steam from his face grumbles and rattles.
The Man’s arm is here, so the Man must also be here. But I can’t see him and this makes me furious. The arm puts the tiny rubber booby in my mouth. I love the tiny rubber booby, but not now, arm! I spit it out, and the arm puts it back in.
Monkey is here, too. I loathe Monkey. The Man forever tries to make me hug it, but Monkey just smothers me. Yesterday I awoke with his fluffy body suffocating me. I was so terrified. I did rolling and screaming – at the same time – to get him off. Then I struggled for half an hour to get to the other side of the crib. Monkey is immobile; he can’t follow me.
I keep the booby in for a while so the arm will leave me alone. My goal this morning, as ever, is simple: escape.
I dream about freedom. About the food chair and about the sweet potato purée and about grabbing it and rubbing it all over my forehead. But most of all I dream about the Lady, and her soft skin and quiet voice and her red hair.
I am distracted. I do push ups. I try to make my head go backwards. I have a mouth! I put everything in there. I try doing noises. I turn to my back.
This was my first big breakthrough, several months into captivity. At first the Man and Lady would only allow me to sleep on my stomach. And I was so enfeebled from the Very Long Dark Swim that I couldn’t turn over. But finally, after much struggling, I learned the kicky side roll. Most of my weight is in my head, and if I can some momentum going, it brings the rest of me along. Now I can turn over whenever I want, and the Lady usually lets me stay that way. The Man often forces me back on my stomach, but right now he hasn’t noticed (or he’s gone).
Now here is a pickle. The mobile has snagged my attention. I admit it; I’m a sucker for the mobile. It turns so slow! Will it speed up? Who makes it turn? How does it float up there? I grab my feet and try to eat them.
Do you know your mouth hole can make sounds? I knew my poop hole could make sounds, but then I saw the People moving their mouths all the time and now I can do two sounds: ‘da’ and ‘ba’. I practice putting the sounds together into long strings, doing them really loud, and then really quiet.
I try: “da-da DA! DA! daaaah d-dd-d-da DAAA! da d-um bum bu ba ba da YEAAAAAA!
I try: “Ungghghggh! AGGHGHG!”
The Man is back. He is standing over me with his arms crossed, looking annoyed. But there is some blue light now coming through from behind the curtains, just enough for me to see that he’s trying not to smile.
“A dah! A dah! A daaaah daaaah daaaaah DGHAAAAGHGHG!”
Now he laughs a bit. This is good. This is working. He begins talking to me. Praising my noises, presumably.
The door opens, and behind it comes the Lady.
I now flail, I believe the word is, uncontrollably.
The Lady is coming. She’s coming to get me. I am so close! I know what I need to do:
I open my mandibles extremely wide and bare my teeth. She can not resist them. She reaches down and picks me up, and I look at the Man with a victory glare I reserve for just these sorts of moments.
Now about those sweet potatoes.