She’d been clean and sober all year, so far. Persevered for three whole hours before her pupils dilated, heartbeat raced, palate brittle as sandpaper. Resolve, redact, reuse. Even diet-based resolutions make it longer than this.
Entropy is defined as the average unpredictability in a random variable. She lived for this impulsiveness; an erratic manifestation of kinetic activity and potential. If you were unpredictable, no one could ever have any expectations. If no one ever had any expectations, no one would ever get hurt.
It was quite the savior complex.
Can you change a system that has such resolve? One with such gravity guiding it? Up, up, up? More, more, more? Life constantly straddled lucidity. She engaged people as ideas. Conceptual relationships. Compartmentalization. Nothing actually existed, including consequences. You cancel out the butterfly effect if you numb the pool.
She said she hated the installated carpet the most. As she scuffed the toe of her boot back and forth, it kicked up a musty stench, dead skin shredded from a waiting room epidermis that retained dirt like vices. The eroded carpet dulled even more as it encroached the metal chair legs, chairs upholstered with an exhausted green fabric, dulled and dimpled from having borne the weight of so much. They hid a grimy gradient surrendering to corners the clinic vacuum couldn’t reach, collections of dust that had settled for years until it was finally just ignored.
She’d said she’d seen trouble, but never claimed it was her own.
Her hands clenched and released, clenched and released, trying to warm up kinetically, knuckles cracking. She took the subway here. It felt more anonymous. The station spat her out onto the street, encased for a moment in the swirl of hot air as it clouded at contact with the bitter cold. She ducked her face under her hood, shielding herself from the lights glittering over the park. The buildings mocked her, glass exteriors bright and bold, baring their insides so proudly, so confidently. This was once her favorite part of the city. It used to take her breath away until it didn’t. After all, she didn’t know how many she might have left.
It’s a hell of a concept: placing a price on containing one’s mind. Like a tithe for deliverance, ransom allowance, a bounty for sanity. Wanted: dead or alive. Sessions began to feel like drug deals, drug deals like treatment. Pre-packaged psychoanalysis: a penny for your thoughts? She said that she couldn’t complain. No one insisted that she be there. No one insisted on her ever, really.
Her past seemed like a series that she was once very fond of — scripts with stories that happened to someone else. The network had long since cancelled the show but random reruns still play late into night, chronology of memory entirely distorted. But what of all of those nights of magic? Persons and places and promises spinning like random particles darting toward infinity, or inevitability. Nothing was linear anymore, and the chaos knew no boundaries. If your thrills are unaccounted for, they’re just cheap.
The law of thermodynamics claims that the entropy of the universe must tend to a maximum. There has to be a limit. While all evidence suggests otherwise, that that nature should inexorably degenerate into more and more chaos, all around us we see magnificence manifest — galaxies, ecosystems, human beings. All of it somehow managed to get its shit together and assemble itself.
She’d left before she’d even started. Stability — even in concept — was too hot to the touch, her body rejected it like a parasite. She was still convinced her disorder was just a reflection of her spirit, a balance, nature’s harmony. She felt responsible to be the electricity that kept it going, kept her stories turning.
But I know how this ends. Chaos is not sustainable. And in the end, the madness was just so predictable anyway.
The tendency, after all, is towards order.