“Pure and simple every time”

George touched the screen, and Care-Nurse Carrie entered with a big smile. George noticed her tightly wound hair, it wound a circle around her head. He expected her to bring a stuffed toy animal or a pad of paper and colored pens, but she all she had was a pen and a notebook.

George belched. He eaten a lot of spaghetti. As he belched he remembered a song that his grandfather would play.

“Just lying smiling in the dark, Shooting stars around your heart, Dreams come bouncing in your head, Pure and simple every time, Now you’re crying in your sleep, I wished you never learned to weep, Don’t sell the dreams you should be keeping, Pure and simple every time.”

Carrie asked for George’s permission. “Would you mind if we talked about your wish to break the Circle? Our first conversation will be less than fifteen minutes, Okay?”

George looked down to the stone floor. His white furry slippers were quite comfortable. The floor was warm, his white robe was warm. He was warm, and his stomach was full.

Carrie repeated, “George? Do you mind?” “Is it okay?”

George nodded without breaking his gaze at the floor. One of the smaller stones was odd. Not odd, different. As he focused upon it, he realized it was similar to the others, but not – it stood out, more noticeable than the others. He wondered if the little stone could feel discomfort? He was staring at it, and that was rude.

Carrie sat on a soft faux-leather chair. A black frame held the brown leather, threaded with a thick cord, tying it to the bars. The chair engaged the sitter in comfort, the faux-leather, the rich, earth-tone color, and bow-shaped frame appealed to those with mind for design.

George’s quarters were constructed with rustic styled materials. Rusty. The pallet was rusty: burnt and old, appearing as sturdy decay. Stone, wood, leather, salt candles, a wood stove, soft lighting. Strong, thick wood beams pretended to support the ceiling. A mix of backwoods spa and a fishing cabin.

This suite, number 11, was one of the most often used “holders,” threats and the misguided were held here while they were re-inducted into the Circle. In recent years, those who needed help were so few that the rooms began to feel like museums, but this “holder” had a fine record of reintegration. The decision to place George in its warm, rustic form was supported by a quick unanimity of Care-Takers. Its design satisfied the need for calm and safety, and its rustic construction aroused a romance for adventure, protection, and solitude. Generational memories were quietly aroused for those placed within holder 11.

George interrupted the silence. “Do you think there are still cabins like this up there?” “I mean, I know that this is not real. The wood is not real wood, the wood stove isn’t really burning real wood. Ya know, real stones don’t have light coming from them.” George continued to look toward the stone floor.

“Maybe some of the stones are real?” Carrie replied. She looked for an opening to gain George’s trust, keep him talking.

“Ya, likely. If you think about it,” George looked around the room, and said, “we’re surrounded by stone.”

Carrie changed tone, turning the conversation toward her needs, while mirroring George’s tone, Carrie responded, “George, your grandfather, Siegfried. I’m sorry. I never met him, but, I mean, everyone knew him.” Carrie paused, and watched George.

George looked up to meet Carrie’s gaze. “You think I tried to break the circle because of my Grandfather’s death?” George said, smiling. “I guess you could think that. I mean I was wearing a t-shirt he gave me, and one of his favorite songs was stuck in my head…”

Carrie added, “and he recently died.”

George coughed a laugh, “yeah, there is that.” “But, there was my Induction too, it was more recent, so maybe that triggered me to break?” George laughed, adding, “my timing is so, so annoyingly bad. I guess leaving the Circle, right after I had been accepted…” George lingered on that thought.

Regaining his momentum, George continued, “But, my grandfather did die just a little before my Induction, so…” George paused, and seemed to lose track of his thought, so Carrie finished…his statement, “the two life events could be taken as one.”

“Yes!” agreed George. “You’re right, the two events can be taken as one. I never thought of that.”

“But why did they cause you to try to break the Circle?”

“I don’t know?” “I told you my timing is bad.” “I just felt I should go, ya know, see…what’s up there.”

Carrie nodded, and added, “But, it’s forbidden.”

George looked down at the floor, remembering the odd rock, he searched for it. He couldn’t distinguish the real among fake.

“Why is it forbidden?” “I mean, I know what we have been told. But, why? Why is it forbidden?”

“You mean, you want me to tell you what you already know?” Carrie responded calmly. She felt that this was a critical moment in the interview.

“Yes, please!” replied George.

Carrie spoke out the words, “Escape Within.”

George blurted, “Where does it say going up there is forbidden? Escape within? It’s so vague, like fortune card kind of vague!”

Carrie returned George’s blurted words with her own. Looking directly and seriously at George, waiting to meet his eyes, she said, “Escape Within has many layers. It’s a symbol. It’s an action. It’s meant to be penetrated and pondered, and explored.”

Carrie watched George, while he sat watching Carrie. The sweet sound of a bell broke the silence.

Carrie announced with a soft voice, “The first visit is complete. I will stop-by again real soon. Do you have any questions?”

George shook his head no. But before his head had shook twice, he said, “Wait, yes I do!”

Leaning forward and standing-up at the same time, Carrie almost lost her balance, caught in mid-movement by George’s loud voice. “Yes?” Carrie replied.

“Does my dad know I’m here?” George replied.

“Personally, I don’t know if he knows, George. Why, do you ask?”

“Ah, I don’t know, I mean I do know, but I don’t.

“Alright, the first session is ending. Oh, before I go, I have a question for you, a question we can discuss when I return. Ready?”

George nodded with a smiling seriousness.

Carrie asked with a puzzled and distant smile, “What do you expect to find up there?”