First comes the whisper, then the storm, then the whisper once more. And she stands outside the cave wondering which way to go.
The voice appears in her mind, uninvited, to ask: what are you doing here?
Nothing, she wants to say, but she doesn't know who she is talking to or why, why, why do these voices come to me. There are other voices too, not just the whisper. The other voices tell her she’s a whore, an idiot, worth nothing and therefore worthy of nothing, who are you, she wants to know but she cannot draw the line between the whisper that loves her and the others who hate her, who want her to hate herself. She is the object. She is the joke that everyone is laughing at. They all come together as one, they all rise at once in the storm, and it is only after the storm, in the quiet when the whisper comes again to say what are you doing here?
The question is an act of love.
She wishes to go to the place from which the whisper appears but she’s disoriented now, and confusion leads to anger and anger to defiance of her own best interests. And now she hates the whisper because it is a trick of the others, the voices that hate her but at least are true. She’s nothing. She’s no better than a dog. She’s here for a while then gone, so what does it matter. But the whisper. She wants the storm to return to blot the whisper out of existence, so she can pretend she never heard it in the first place, but it’s echoing in her heart now, what are you doing here, what are you doing here, what are you doing here.
She parks the car outside the house and turns it off, the echo in her chest burning, glowing, rattling. The compass needle trembles to the opposite direction, pointing back to the place from which she came but she’s here now and the car is off and so she might as well get out. The other voices say you can’t control yourself so what’s the point in trying, you’re weak, you’re worthless, you’re always doing the same things over and over and over because this is who you are.
A storm rattles overhead as she approaches the door and the whisper comes again, what are you doing here?
You belong here, that’s what you’re doing here, the other voices rage. You deserve to suffer. You deserve to die. You deserve all the pain you inflict upon yourself. You deserve Hell forever and ever and ever without end, you are unloved.
And so she hums and presses the doorbell and waits.
She knows this feeling. She has felt it many times before though it’s easier now to acknowledge the chaos within, there are tricks, there are methods to overcome gravity, methods to resist the magnetic pull that comes from that deep place inside of her that she went to war with long ago. You can fly with the right chemicals coursing through your veins and in the air you hear nothing. Nothing at all but the universe expanding within your own mind.
Every choice is war, she knows this.
She has been on the battlefield long enough to know how it is won and lost. To strike a blow against your truest convictions is to simply ignore them, over and over, to commit small acts of guerilla warfare upon your convictions and conscience until they are no longer there, until they are crippled, captured, kept in a cell without food or water. But the whisper cannot be captured. If only she could isolate it. If only she could track down where it’s coming from, then she could go to that place and leave all of this behind. Small things add up to big things, single days add up to a life. The compass within her is burning back to life, risen from the ashes, glowing, rattling, the echo raging as the door swings open to reveal the face of the one who says come inside where your desires are not your enemies but your friends, come inside where you have always belonged.
She follows through the hallway. The one who lives in the house takes her hand to offer support, this is where you are supposed to be, and she is led down, down, down to place where she takes a seat and waits. Soon everything will be ok, soon she will fly out of her body and into the quiet where nothing can be heard, not the whisper, not the devils who mock her, nothing.
What would you like? Asks the one who lives in the house.
I would like to go away for a while, she says.
And all goes quiet. The monster she loves today is the same monster she will hate tomorrow.