The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion.
My affliction decided to join us, forcing me to push my toes on the floor as though I were trying to eject myself from the chair. I prayed she didn't notice what the affliction was making me do. I half expected to be eaten alive or murdered and buried out back in the school yard. 'I'm not afraid of you, ya know, ' I said, although I was terrified of her. The words hurt her, but that wasn't my intent. She turned her face and looked out the window into North Cliff Street. She knew what her face and twisted body looked like, and she probably knew what the kids said about her. It was probably an open wound for her and I had just tossed salt into it. I was instantly ashamed of what I done and tried to correct myself. I didn't mean to be hurtful, because I knew what it was like to be ridiculed for something that was beyond one's control, such as my affliction, and how it made me afraid to touch the chalk because the feel of chalk to people like me is overwhelming. If I had to write on the blackboard, I held the chalk with the cuff of my shirt and the class laughed. 'You look good in a nun's suit, ' I said. It was a stupid thing to say, but I meant well by it. She looked down at the black robe as if she were seeing it for the first time.
John William Tuohy
When it begins it is like a light in a tunnel, a rush of steel and steam across a torn up life. It is a low rumble, an earthquake in the back of the mind. My spine is a track with cold black steel racing on it, a trail of steam and dust following behind, ghost like. It feels like my whole life is holding its breath. By the time she leaves the room I am surprised that she can't see the train. It has jumped the track of my spine and landed in my mothers' living room. A cold dark thing, black steel and redwood paneling. It is the old type, from the western movies I loved as a kid. He throws open the doors to the outside world, to the dark ocean. I feel a breeze tugging at me, a slender finger of wind that catches at my shirt. Pulling. Grabbing. I can feel the panic build in me, the need to scream or cry rising in my throat. And then I am out the door, running, tumbling down the steps falling out into the darkened world, falling out into the lifeless ocean. Out into the blackness. Out among the stars and shadows. And underneath my skin, in the back of my head and down the back of my spine I can feel the desperation and I can feel the noise. I can feel the deep and ancient ache of loudness that litters across my bones. It's like an old lover, comfortable and well known, but unwelcome and inappropriate with her stories of our frolicking. And then she's gone and the Conductor is closing the door. The darkness swells around us, enveloping us in a cocoon, pressing flat against the train like a storm. I wonder, what is this place? Those had been heady days, full and intense. It's funny. I remember the problems, the confusions and the fears of life we all dealt with. But, that all seems to fade. It all seems to be replaced by images of the days when it was all just okay. We all had plans back then, patterns in which we expected the world to fit, how it was to be deciphered. Eventually you just can't carry yourself any longer, can't keep your eyelids open, and can't focus on anything but the flickering light of the stars. Hours pass, at first slowly like a river and then all in a rush, a climax and I am home in the dorm, waking up to the ringing of the telephone. When she is gone the apartment is silent, empty, almost like a person sleeping, waiting to wake up. When she is gone, and I am alone, I curl up on the bed, wait for the house to eject me from its dying corpse. Crazy thoughts cross through my head, like slants of light in an attic. The Boston 395 rocks a bit, a creaking noise spilling in from the undercarriage. I have decided that whatever this place is, all these noises, sensations - all the train-ness of this place - is a fabrication. It lulls you into a sense of security, allows you to feel as if it's a familiar place. But whatever it is, it's not a train, or at least not just a train. The air, heightened, tense against the glass. I can hear the squeak of shoes on linoleum, I can hear the soft rattle of a dying man's breathing. Men in white uniforms, sharp pressed lines, run past, rolling gurneys down florescent hallways.