Close your eyes and picture this: you push open a tall glass door. It’s heavy but moves easily for you. Mahogany chairs reflect the shift of light back at you. Heels clank on the mahogany floor and the sounds echo around you for a succession of long heartbeats. You can hear someone set their coffee on the side table. Across the room, a soft rustle as someone turns a page in a book. This is the world around you and it is so loud and so vivid and so full that sometimes you forget just how quiet it can be. You used to get overwhelmed, but you don’t anymore; you’ve gotten used to it and now you only start to lose control of yourself around certain things.
We won’t get into that here.
You continue to walk further into the foyer, the scent of danishes and black coffee and too much perfume assault your nostrils, but you keep going deeper into the crowded territory of the barista’s counter. You order the same thing you always order, and the barista knows it as well as you do – so ordering is not so much a series of movements you make with your mouth that form sounds, as it is two grown adults making eye contact until one nods in approval and the other nods in agreement, and their gazes part like a fork in the road.
You snatch two packs of pistachio biscotti and take your usual seat against the far wall, a worn leather lounge chair with chips in the, once polished, mahogany frame. A tinted window to your right flickers with motion outside. The crinkle of the plastic wrapper is riotously loud to you, but you ignore it. It is only background noise. You eat the first piece in one pack before your order appears, carried by one of the servers you never bothered to get to know, and left in silence on the mahogany table beside you. Everything in this building is mahogany, formica, and glass. Now, you dip the second biscotti into the coffee, watch it soak up the dark color and soften. You chomp down on the soaked end and dip again. You toss the piece of moist biscotti into your mouth and chew.
The door opens and a new pair of heels clinks on the glossy hardwood floor. The telling psithurism of lace panties against a cotton skirt. You can smell her before any of this, as if all other scents in a hundred yards had been erased and all that remained was the warm, fleshy scent of her. As far as your instincts are concerned, there is nothing else that exists save for her. The barista is dead. The woman that brought you your coffee? Dead.
Dead or soon will be, if they try to prevent you from your sudden and blinding new objective.
But you’ve gotten better than those low, base instincts. You’ve earned better control of yourself. You think, I could incapacitate them all. I don’t have to kill them. What are they besides mortals, anyway?
You think, I’m a God compared to them.
Instead, you take a sip of your coffee. The bitterness cleanses your mouth, washes some of the poison down into your stomach where it roars in response to your stomach acid. The discomfort is a good thing. It is your anchor back into control. A rope you can use to haul yourself back over the edge, onto the earth again and out of the waters of instinct, and sink your roots back into the soil.
You are better than all of it.
You take another sip of coffee.