Everyone's asleep except me. And you.

Naming the Dragon

Sometimes, when you tell people what you are, they pause and try to take it in. I watch the wheels turn in them, going through the rolodex of their life to find the people they may have described with the word I just used. Fathers, brothers, sisters, distant aunts, mothers, janitors who inhabit strangely warm furnace rooms, pock-marked women on the street corner carrying their lives in plastic bags.

The frightened but more aware ones think about themselves, counting drinks, going through their mornings. Is he thinking I’m like him, they are asking themselves.

Others smile broadly, show teeth. Oh, that’s so great, they say. I’m so glad for you. Congratulations. They seem to think they know what it all means, have some feeling for the road. They might, but I often wonder what sits at the core of that, if it’s just a skin to hide the lack of true knowledge.

But it’s the ones who are quiet I worry about the most. I wonder if my naming the dragon for myself is too close to putting a name to theirs. And I look for the lizard eye within them to blink at me. I listen in the pause to sense if the body of it constricts a little inside them as it rustles at the touch of truth.

The Atrium