I've lately been on this... loneliness thing. Some part of my mind, I don't know which, has been withdrawing from my conscious thought processes, working on something it would like to keep hidden from me for the time being. Apparently, it's decided that I need some private space to do whatever it is that needs to be done.

My social calendar has become barren. People ask me out and I typically conjure up some reason or excuse not to go. Work is scheduled and I end up feeling sick (legitimately, not playing hooky). Friends call and I somehow manage to cut the conversation short or meet up with them really late despite having plenty of time to prepare. I don't know what's going on, but I'm withdrawing into myself- more so than usual.

Could it be depression? Perhaps it is, but I don't think so. I'm still creatively functioning (though I haven't been writing as much as I would like), and when I'm depressed my creativity levels drop to nothing flat. I can still smile and appreciate a good joke. No, I'm not depressed.

I think that quiet corner of my mind which is locked off from the rest of me is trying to tell me something, trying to move me somewhere. It's not a subconscious thing; it's an UNconscious thing. Home is where I must be.

My landlord's middle son, Chris, is a real head-case. He dances between reality, the one that we all share, and his own reality which makes the Marvel Universe seem quirky. He was hospitalized last year for basic looniness. These last few months he got checked in twice. He's been given to strange bouts of private rage- kicking or punching holes in his mother's house's walls, throwing furniture, screaming and whatnot. Typical behavior for someone who isn't happy with their perspective on reality. He's been on medication, the poor kid, and it hasn't really been much better for him.

When I was 9 I had my IQ rated at 190 (it's since dropped to 182- vestiges of growing up, I guess). Being that young with that sharp a mind, I was prone to looking at the world in very odd ways from everyone else. Complex things came naturally to me, easy to understand and discuss intricately. Simple things, though, like common social skills, basic math, doing homework, being on time, matching my clothes, shit that nearly everyone doesn't think twice about- those things took a lot of focus and attention for me, usually resulting in frustration or resentment at whoever happened to be close by. As a result of this problem, I was placed in a federally operated "home" for troubled kids. Not teens, mind you, but kids- preteens. I spent a year there and those experiences are best left forgotten to me, many of them are still buried underneath the personality I've constructed around myself and have dubbed "Jay." Some still haunt me, though. A year of, basically, being taught how to live with other human beings and relate to them. How to avoid fights. How to say thank you. How to ask questions. How to ask for help. How to participate in the comings and goings of humanity at large. In short, I was taught how to be like most other people- from all outward appearances.

They didn't tell me that my perception of reality was wrong, per se. What they told me, in effect, was that my perception of reality was unique from everyone else's and since it was so different I would likely not be treated well by the rest of society. I would be treated with hatred, emnity, fear, abuse, insults and everything else counterproductive to developing into a well-rounded individual. They taught me that the world and the people in it see things very differently, and in a very specific way. There are all kinds of rules and guidelines that people follow, most of them taken for granted, which I had to learn. And learn them I did.

I also learned that I didn't have to lose my perceptions in the bargain. Interesting point of note is that I now live about 3 blocks from the same facility I stayed at. It's long-since changed names and function, but the buildings still stand. I drive by there every once in a while to remind myself of what/who I once was- to help keep it all in perspective.

Upon meeting Chris, my landlord's son, I immediately recognized his problem. He's quite bright and even edging on poetically brilliant. But he's got this problem with reality, you see: it doesn't agree with him, so he sets himself apart from it. He's 19, to make matters worse. I honestly think he's beyond real help at this point- at least, beyond the kind of help I got when I was a kid.

Today he came to my cabin and and we discussed the shape of the world and where it's headed. We talked about fears and facing them. About being productive instead of running from them. By the end of it, he told me that he needed to live in my cabin more than I did. I asked him if he was going to see about having me move out. He said no, but that he just felt my home was more secure.

That really bothered me. My home is MY home. It might seem more secure, but only because I feel secure in it- I can't speak for anyone else's security when they're in my home. I went to sleep with troubled thoughts on my mind.

I woke up later, called out of work because my stomach was killing me and then I got dressed. I went into the main house and found Chris in his bedroom. I told him to get his shoes on and join me for a ride, there was something I wanted to show him. Begrudgingly, he agreed. I took him to that place I'd spent a year at some 20 years ago. We got out of my car, in the drizzling rain, and I pointed to a building. It had sharp angles and red bricks.

"I spent a year in that place," I told him. I went on to tell him the reasons why. I also told him about a particularly small room I spent a considerable amount of time in, the isolation room. I have a severe contempt for that room. "I don't ever want to see you in a place like this, Chris," I went on to say. "You've been institutionalized for what, a grand total of a month? Maybe two? They gave you some happy pills and sent you on your way. Chris, I had no pills. I had a YEAR- in that place. And it sucked in ways you can't imagine." I eyed him carefully. "You think no one knows what you're going through, but I've got news for you, bud. I do. I went through hell and back just to learn a few simple things and, for a while, it almost broke me. You're a smart kid, Chris. Do ya get it?"

He was quiet for a long while and said that he did. Then he asked me to buy him a pack of smokes. I sighed and agreed, since I was out myself. We bought them, came back to the house and I tried to get some more sleep. I noded some online today (S.F.W. and The House of the Venerable and Inscrutable Colonel). I napped again and woke up sometime after dark. While I was checking my e-mail, there came a loud pounding on my door- the pissed-off kind.

It was Chris's mother. She bitched me out for buying him smokes. I had no idea that she was trying to ween him off of them. She didn't seem to care if I knew or not. She was not rational, not respectful- just wrathful. She told me to call her if I ever went anywhere with Chris again. Period. I agreed, making sure to keep my temper ('cus, BOY was I pissed!). I kept my voice calm and sure.

I have been doing my best not to get wrapped up in other people's drama, to stay out of other peoples' way. Today I almost got kicked out of my home for ignoring what my little voice has been telling me lately. I don't think I'm going to ignore it for a long while to come. There's too much at stake to take another risk- and risk is for those who can afford it.