Lion In The Airlock


I dreamt of outer space again.  A place so alien, so dangerous, that you couldn’t even breathe.  Where life was so fragile and so fraught with danger that fear was the most common shared emotion.  To leave ones carefully constructed bubble home was to experience a world that was too bright, even with sun visor and a full suit.  The air toxic.  Double seals at every doorway.  A small disaster could wreak complete death upon all inhabitants.  The rooms kept changing, where I was trying to sleep.  I was just visiting, new to this dangerous planet.  Someone, a female relative perhaps, was trying to help me get comfortable.  But the bed kept being different, the walls, the floor.  Everything shifting and nothing solid.  I was visiting relatives here.  This other planet, like another plane of existing where I wasn’t properly made, no human was properly made to exist here.  I walked outside with someone, an uncle perhaps, and a lion was hunting us.  Hunkered down above, perched on the metallic arches of the oddly rounded buildings, camouflaged against the too bright sky.  A male lion, huge mane, following, watching, we merely prey.   Too difficult to look up and notice them, eyes won’t focus, won’t stay open.  We made it to the building, just in time, but I wasn’t fast enough, wasn’t use to this new environment, and the lion followed me into the airlock.  I managed to get through, but the lion was trapped in the airlock, keeping anyone else from getting in. Or out.  And if the lion got lucky, it might figure out how to open the airlock, access all of us inside.  This place was like a shop, a mechanics shop.  I hit the lift by accident with my foot and couldn’t figure out how to stop it.  One of the guys in the shop had to make it stop going up, so that it didn’t destroy anything.  I went back to look at the lion, there in the airlock which looked like a tiny glass cage, or an office cubicle gone awry, and suddenly I thought, ‘but the lions have adapted to this world.  They can breathe the air.  How can they survive and we cannot?’  And then I pointed out to my uncle ‘Look, look there,’ and my uncle asked what?  And I pointed again.  ‘Look, the lion is wearing a loincloth.’  And it was, a little, barely visible beneath all the golden fur, blue loin cloth, and the lion was standing upright.  And I realized they might be intelligent, and civilized.  And capable of opening the air lock.  Everything we might think about them was incorrect, incomplete. 

My world isn’t safe.  I wish I could merely be supportive of him in this time of need.  I wish I could withdraw enough from wanting his love to being able to just love him from a safe distance.  I wish I didn’t care if he loved me, if he was telling the truth.  I wish I would not allow his addiction to damage me anymore than I am already damaged.  I wish asking to see his finances and hold him to his agreements didn’t fill me with utter dread.  I wish I were stronger.

I can barely breathe.  The world is too bright.  I am not safe, even in my own home.  Nothing is certain.  Everything changes like sand.  I can’t count on anything.  I made a mistake and discovered too late that I really, truly, can’t count on anyone.

The lion waits in the airlock, and I have underestimated it far too much.

Danger.  So much danger, and alone, and feeling trapped.

And it is my fault I am in danger.

All my fault.

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