Close your eyes. Inhale deeply. Count backwards from ten.

Now, exhale. Slowly. But don’t open your eyes.

By now, your heart rate has slowed. You’re in a relaxed state. And, for the moment, all is well with the world. Your cares, trials and tribulations have fluttered away. This moment, if it stretched on forever, would equate to perfection. Nothing will ever be as good as this moment. But please, don’t open your eyes.

See, though all I’ve told you isn’t true, your body thinks it is. It acknowledges it. Takes it. And makes it reality. The body is like that-you can trick it. Tune it to certain frequencies. And with practice, can make the body believe anything. People who lose legs and arms complain of pain in their limbs.

Work night shift long enough, and your sleep cycle turns day to night. Go without sleep, and your body adjusts to living without it. There might be a few glitches, but the machine keeps ticking. You keep going. Complete with new functionality.

Continue this deviation, and this adjustment becomes principle. You stop sleeping more than a few hours. You flex the fingers on your missing hand. You feel…abnormal during the day. This startles some, of course. Their mind screams for a return to normalcy. But it’s too late at this point. They’re too far gone, and nothing can save them. Not even counting back from ten in desperate hope of reaching that perfect moment.

Please don’t open your eyes. The sight might shock you. I’m not prepared to deal with you going manic on me.

People like this, they’re broken machines. They wander through life, shells of their former selves. Trapped in purgatory, searching in vain for that one thing. That one element that might make them feel okay again. The fork in the path, giving them a choice.

But, as I’m sure you can attest, there aren’t any such things, are there? These people, they can’t handle the reality, the enormity of their life. So eventually, I find them. Sometimes they even come to me. And I fix them. Do NOT open your eyes. I won’t ask again nicely.

There’s no set cure, sadly. Every person is a different model from their peers, with their own set of problems. Sometimes the solution is simple. But other times, like now, I have to get a bit more extreme. It’s nothing personal, and I assure you, I derive little pleasure from this. But we’ve all our lot in life. We’ve got to make the most of it, staying as sane as we can manage.

Did your wife tell you she called me? I thought she would. She was highly concerned about you.

These little eccentricities people experience, the ones that turn them into limping contraptions, they’re the root of it all. They’re what turn us bitter, and strange, and so odd. They make it so hard, so very hard to relax. To identify with other people. I can’t imagine what it was like when your…trouble began. Did you acknowledge the things you saw, at first? Or did their existence become palpable the more they persisted? Did they tell you things?

It doesn’t matter. Not anymore. It’ll all be over soon. Please, stop fidgeting. Keep your eyes closed. Relax. Breath deep for me. And count backwards from ten. Now, exhale. Enjoy this moment.

Feel the serenity of life flooding back into you. Let your body go slack.

Let me fix you.