Her voice broke the absolute stillness in the apartment, startling me.
I wasn’t expecting to hear her and the sound shook me out of my deep state of disconnect. My mind had been both wandering and empty at the same time. That neurological plane where one straddles conscious thought and subconscious existence, two planes intersecting, as if taking a page from water as it become ice and then returns simultaneously to liquid form.
If you had asked me what I was thinking about, there’s not way I could tell you. If you asked me what I wasn’t thinking about, I couldn’t tell you either, because by asking that question, I’d have to think about it, thereby putting myself squarely in a paradox.
It was a quiet holiday Monday and I was in the midst of preparing my morning coffee, initiating the ritual which has now become an automatic action.
Add freshly drawn cold water to the electric kettle, even though I know hot water will boil faster. Because it’s what I’ve always done. Clean out the soggy dregs of yesterday’s elixir from the French press, making sure to disassemble the various pieces to make sure no hidden crumbs of old coffee grounds are clinging to their mesh prison, with the ability to contaminate today’s brew. While the caramel flavoured coffee is brewing for the requisite time, I use this opportunity to prepare my Ursula mug to receive the freshly pressed fluid, which mostly involves adding the cocoa and sugar into the bottom.
Stop judging me, I know you are.
Then I wait for the timer, and pour, filling the dark brown liquid against the sweet crystalline granules, watching them dissolve and intermix, where three become one, a new hit single, stirring slowly, mindlessly, the clink of the metal spoon against the heavy ceramic mug, my brain in that state between everything and nothing.
And then her voice.
Piercing. Shrill. Breaking through all planes. All universes. A ripple. I felt a surge of adrenaline. Igniting those primal responses deep within my medulla oblongata. I knew it wasn’t the caffeine as it still remained ensconced in Ursula’s tentacled embrace.
It was the tone of her voice that demanded action. It was not as I remembered her. There was an urgency, an entreaty that couldn’t be ignored. Something was wrong. She needed my help. Not later. Not in a minute. Right now.
So I leapt.. Into that emergency state that takes charge. Where time slows and clarity grows. Focused vision. My hearing, more acute, able to hear her now constant cries. I rushed, nay stumbled, to the living room in my full decaffeinated state, following her plaintive cries. Rushing. Rushing. Rushing.
I was going to be her hero. Her saviour.
I pulled her down from the ceiling, opened her up and put in a new 9V battery, ending her incessant, plaintive cries.
Low battery, no more.
In saving her, I saved myself. My own hero. My own saviour.
Goaded into action.