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Untitled – Lee

Illustrated by Lee El Sayed

The city is busy. This space is busy too. Not so much in the same sense. City streets are filled with noise; that is busy. Here though, it sounds like your own voice. You speak but you do not hear every word you say, or, at least, it does not feel external. We hear our voices; I changed my mind. We hear them even when our upper lip lays on a bottom lip bed. It is a one room apartment that Lee and Ella sit in. White bed sheets on a big bed. It has to be big. Green plants dangling over this big white bed that is the closest thing to home. It is a home within a home. A home is supposed to give you comfort, but you always go for the bed; at least Ella and Lee do. This is not because they like to lay down, which they do. There is just something to it. This home within a home is seated on a wooden deck that holds pieces of both Lee and Ella. This is where they keep everything they want at arm’s reach. In the room, there is a Chinese wooden kettle that keeps their tea warm. Bed and tea. The walls are white and the sun splashes out onto them softly. It is a stuffy feeling, yet very comforting. You can smell the tea and pastry. There are two birds at the window next to the bed. I am Lee. I still do not have the words to describe myself. Ella though is a tall woman with not so long curly hair that falls right over her forehead. She likes to keep it that way. She is very soft-speaking and smart. Sometimes she dreads her awareness, but questions the possibility of a lack of it, though she does know it exists. It is just weird. Ella is not the loudest in the room. There is this sense of calmness that surrounds her. Lee finds themselves hoping Ella feels this calmness around herself. Everyone wants to talk to Ella. I say this and it is not like it is all about mystery with her. The more you talk to Ella, the more you’ll want to talk to Ella. Both Ella and Lee are mindful, I think I can say. What counts is that they try to be.
They sit on the bed after months of being in isolation. Sometimes it is hard to recall whether this isolation was enforced onto them this whole time or became a decision at some point. Something you find comfort in. We know this about sadness and we ask ourselves the same question. Is it really a choice? The choice here is whether or not you choose to question it. That is what Ella and Lee learned to do and want to do. They try their best. That is what counts.
I talk about myself using the third person point of view. Maybe this is my way of reflecting. Maybe this is my way of watching myself do and say things, watching myself exist. Maybe Ella is good for me. I hope I am good for Ella. Maybe a conversation is what everyone needs right now. It is not like there was ever a time when conversations were not needed; it is just that a want expressing a need was not, in itself, expressed. Both Lee and Ella were ones to seek things out. In isolation, be it voluntary or involuntary or both, Lee had turned over, pondered, and played around with their every building block they could grab onto, like a Jenga sort of thing. I say Jenga because it was fun to play around sometimes, even with the anxiety of it falling apart and crashing at its very base was a lingering fear. We live most our lives thinking all that is left to figure out is the roofs, tiles, doors, walls, and windows of the homes we build out of ourselves. We take the very ground of our houses, not homes, as a given. Unquestionable, solid, steady, right. Most of our houses are built on lava. I do not think Lee or Ella were ever drawn to a lava-based house. They wanted to be home to themselves as much as they wanted have one for themselves, together.