The Floor

Photography by Emily Kennedy

Slowly, as if my bones and joints were thawing, emerging now from a long and dry winter, I extended my knees and pointed my toes toward the ground. Pressing into my frail wrists, I inched my way off the bed and down to the cold, dry ground below. I crept away from the frame until I had clearance to stretch my body back. I felt each of my vertebrae greet the ground until finally the back of my head settled there. Slowly I let my gaze drift upward as I bid adieu to my bony, bruised knees and said hello to the off-white, dust-covered ceiling. How did a ceiling get dusty anyway?

My descent down to the floor was undoubtedly an act of self-loathing. I did not deserve a place on my bed. I did not deserve to be elevated above anyone. Or anything.

With a pitiful, flimsy extension of my arm I grasped the quilt from on top of my bed and pulled it toward me. I draped it over myself as it fell lifelessly, less a soft source of comfort in my rut of child-like self-pity and more like a thick and stiff body bag. Wrists wilting, I gripped the quilt and pulled it up over me, up, up, up until it covered my nose and eyes.

I stared through the fibers of the blanket and to my disappointment found that I could still see my ceiling, walls and windows, just with a red tint, as if I was gazing through cherry cellophane. I squinted. I saw red. It wasn’t a hot, hellish red, but a once-rich, now-faded red that underwhelmed me so that it left my stomach feeling cold.

A small – small as in petty – part of me envied people who were depressed but had no idea why they felt depressed. Though the sensible part of me knew enough to logically say that the overwhelming confusion would have certainly been a unique kind of Hell, I was convinced in this moment that nothing could have been worse than knowing exactly why you were upset.

My body, while not particularly fleshy or fatty, felt soft, as if tenderized underneath someone else’s heavy hands. I literally felt like meat. My hair stood stiffly away from my scalp where it had been clutched in his hands. My clothes, which I had pulled onto myself no differently than I did any other day, were simply hanging on my body like clumsily-hung portraits on a wall in a midwestern living room.
I pried my right arm off of the ground and traced along my left arm. It didn’t feel like meat to the touch. But as I exhaled and let my vertebrae each flatten down against the floor, I felt like there were few, if any differences between myself and a chicken breast.

I had woken up alone in the coldest bed anyone could imagine. My body didn’t even belong to me. It belonged to this floor. I wondered how long it would take for my body to become the floor.