Image by Christine Renney
I was unable to leave the house. There was a barrier but it was invisible and others were able to pass through it. No-one would have believed me and I decided not to try to explain to my family and friends when they visited. They would have been perplexed and concerned, worried that I was losing my mind. Of course, I could simply have shown them; opened one of the doors or a window and pressed against it or launched myself at it and they could have watched me collide.
But I didn’t and I wonder now that if I had done this, or if one of them had actually taken hold of me and physically tried to force me toward the force field, even then would they have accepted it, believed it?
I suspect they would have run from the house in fear, reluctant ever to return.
But I needed their visits and the fleeting sense of normalcy they brought with them. Just as I needed the delivery drivers, with their baskets full of groceries, to step across my threshold. I think that I kept the fact of the force field from them out of selfishness because I was determined to survive.
Over the course of the first few weeks so many theories played out in my head. I attempted constantly to place reason in outlandish scenario after outlandish scenario. It was exhausting and eventually I had to shut down and just let it be.
I was determined to appear normal. I haven’t ever been very sociable and my family and friends weren’t suspicious when I made my excuses for not going out there and joining in. But it was when I was alone that I felt it important, critical even that I present as nonchalant, unperturbed by the force field, even seemingly unaware that it existed. Although of course I couldn’t help myself and intermittently I would open the door or a window and press my hand against it.
The world beyond my home was so very limited it had shrunk away to almost nothing but still I spent a lot of my time staring out at it. The busy road in front and my overgrown garden at the back. It all seemed so much sharper, keener, as if magnified and I realised I would miss this when it was over. And often, late at night, I would find myself sitting by my bedroom window gazing up at the stars.