Chrys Tobey: Labyrinthisis



A woman wanted to become a boat. She couldn’t become a boat so she decided the next best thing would be to have Labyrinthitis. The woman wanted fluid to form, like a pond, inside her middle ear.

The woman’s neighbor’s often heard her repeating Labyrinthitis, Labyrinthitis as she walked around her apartment. They thought maybe she had become interested in voodoo. Her husband thought Labyrinthitis was another man, asking Are you having an affair again? The woman just looked at him and said, You never smile.

The woman did everything to catch Labyrinthitis. She began chain-smoking packs of camel lights. She chugged grape Mad Dog in gas station bathrooms. The woman sat on porch swings at parties and drank vodka tonic after vodka tonic. If she caught a cold she ran twenty-three miles a day. The woman set a large amplifier behind her car seat and waited for another car to hit her from behind. She purchased flight after flight, not going anywhere.

The woman was finally diagnosed with Labyrinthitis. She often ran into walls and doors, knocked over piles of papers, and her husband. Swaying back and forth, back and forth, the woman could see what she saw when she was four: a strand of chestnut hair across her mother’s cheek as she smiled on a sailboat.