“Wouldn’t it be great to not have to feel? To be numb?” Sarah asked.
Beth, who had been numb for quite some time, responded in the negative.
“Why not? It would be better than feeling bad, don’tcha think?”
Beth again: “But you wouldn’t feel good, either.”
This riled Sarah up. “What if your life is all bad and you never feel good?”
Beth didn’t answer. Sarah sat back, feeling as though she had won. Beth sat back, feeling nothing. Sarah went about devising ways to anesthetize her emotions. Drugs? Brain surgery? She spoke again, “Say, how did you become numb in the first place?”
“How did I become numb,” Beth mused, eyes fixed on a point far beyond Sarah’s head. She often did this when she spoke. Her choice of words was methodical and her speech was slow. It took forever for her to get out a single sentence. No one knew whether or not she had always been like this. We waited. She did not speak.
“Well, fuck you too!” Sarah threw her hands up into the air.
Once, we asked Beth what it felt like to be numb. She had waited until everyone had gathered around to hear before responding, “I would not know.”
We pondered this for a while.
A fugue state, they called it. We just called it Beth.