“If I break into pieces of glitter on asphalt / bits of sun, the din” – Peter Gizzi, “A Panic That Can Still Come Upon Me”
I saw the glitter in Monique’s eyes first. The glitter of panic. The demons were back.
I’d just gotten off the train and walked in the door. Monique’s moods were unpredictable, that’s one of the things I loved about her. But I’d thought the demons were gone after that last time, after the deprogramming intervention her family had paid for. We couldn’t afford another hospitalization.
Ice cream, I thought. With ice cream in her it would cool the demons down, make it harder for them to take hold. That’s one of the things the deprogrammers had told me.
“Hey M,” I said, dropping my messenger bag by the door. I put my arm around her waist. Physical contact was critical in the first stages of possession; another thing I’d learned from the deprogrammers. It used to scare the hell out of me, those demons glittering in her eyes, and it still did, if I was honest with myself. I’d prefer to shrink back. But the last exit counselor was firm about physical contact and its mitigating effects. Demons want space, she’d said.
So now I, all 5-foot-4 of me to Monique’s five-eleven height, gripped her tightly and steered her toward the door. “How ’bout some Molly Moon?” I said, forcing friendliness and cheer into my voice.
Monique hissed, which was not unlike her even without the demons. But she didn’t seem to resist going out. I was tired, bone tired, after a long day at work in the lab, but if we were going to head off another demon possession, I had to get going.
The door slammed behind us and I steered her, arm firmly around her waist, down the hall and out the carport of the duplex. We made it to Molly Moon’s ice cream place at 5:40 pm. I know because I checked the clock as we walked in. Twenty minutes from the moment I first walked in the door at our place.
Len and Dan were scooping that day, and as soon as we came in they put together a sweet combo of vanilla bean and Stumptown Coffee. The perfect combo. The caffeine put the demons off, and the vanilla made it go down easy.
A half-hour later the glitter in Monique’s eyes was gone. I could have kissed Len and Dan for their quick action. But I was too tired.
“Let’s go home,” I said to Monique. She hissed again, but strode along sweetly beside me as we headed back to our place.