“Really? How do you do that? Think of nothing much?”
“I don’t know.”
“That sound boring.” Trockle scurried back off to play with my son’s old Hot Wheels cars. He’s got the room to himself, these days, and barely managed to convince my son to leave the cars within reach when he was packing up for college. Trockle’s mom, Gurgelda, keeps the room neat as a pin – during the day, you’d never know there was a family of monsters living under the bed.
It is boring. Surely, I’m capable of telling Trockle – and you! – a better story than that. Why is it that when you tell someone, “Don’t think about monsters under the bed!” that’s all they can think about. But when asked, “What are you thinking about?” our minds go completely blank. The privacy screen comes down so hard we convince ourselves, in an instant, that there’s nothing to share. That – or we convince ourselves that whatever we were thinking about, say, monsters under the bed, is too silly or stupid to share. We’re embarrassed to be caught thinking at all. So we blurt out “Nothing much” and sound even more vapid.
Gurgelda waddles in. “Trockle tells me your brain’s empty.”
“That little monster,” I say, affectionately. “Probably not – I think there’s a cobweb or two left in there. Didn’t figure he’d want to sweep them out with me.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“About the hollow echoes inside my skull?”
“Okay.” Gurgelda sits down beside me and opens her little bag, pulling out crochet hooks and yarn. She hands half of the stash to me and gives me a pointed look. We work silently, side by side.
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