This story is about the boy known as the Red Koi.

He briefly self-assigned this name, but his narrative will now transition from third to first.

In a first person:

I stand in agony. Then I sit.

My fist meets the ground to maintain stability.

Wife texts me photos of the kids smiling at a nearby beach.

In a mental construct:

I once again see the path I almost went down prior to wife’s departure to the ocean.

This is where I visit a dimension of my mind where one question repeats: “Why did you come all this way to sit in a room?”

Then I remember.

Then I make the thought audible, “I am healing.”

Many squirms and grimaces later, I say, “The healing continues.”

I see another corner mindslot where I recognize my constant presence in the pain.

Yes, it seems I rarely travel to the past or future while residing in severe physical suffering.

In a shower:

I listen to Explosions in the Sky and watch blue and red koi swim across the wall tiles.

The colors do not make the fish dance until you let it happen.

The creation unveils itself inside itself.

I dance as the pain struts inside out. I wonder if I must waltz all eve. I embrace the rhythm.

In a bed:

My foot kicks the air and I receive Glittering Blackness through wireless earbuds.

My leg muscle tires so the pelvis begins to sway.

I’m finding my perfect place, and I am pursuing it with you at my side.

In a conversation:

Wifey mentions how I struggled with the pain within two minutes of being picked up from the airport.

I mumbled something about how we needed to get in the car while I simultaneously realized they were still putting away baggage that I did not help lift due to my circumstances.

In a doctor’s office:

My condition is unknown, but concerns are heard without words.

The specialist has scheduled a probe to further explore dark spaces. I will experience this procedure nine years prior to the recommended age.

Back in a mental construct:

My consciousness shakes sometimes.

I have debated telling another person this thought.

Because what would someone think?

What do you think?

I think…

Back in a bed:

I slow dance with agony as I tell wifey, “All time threshold has been breached.”

I touch the screen.

Time Stops starts.

My heel kicks in the air.

Suddenly the pain vanishes.

It returns.

I see what is possible.

Wait, I knew it was possible before I saw it.

“I am a man of faith,” I speak.

Still in a bed:

I ask my daughter to put her hand on mine and transfer loving energy to me.

I once saw a person healed in a church. In fact, I’m married to this person.

The conductor of healing was her sister.

For many months my wife experienced hives and rashes. We could not identify the instigator, attempted different diets, and continually disqualified potential allergens.

The pain strikes like lightning.

I release a whiplash of restrained sound.

I lock my jaw and crack up.

My son overhears, and says, “What’s so funny?”

“I’m laughing because of the pain.”

He says, “Awe.”

I tell him, “I’d rather laugh than cry.”

“Yeah, true, true,” he says.

I’m back on the heal. Yeah, true, true.

In a church:

My sister-in-law is visiting, we attend service, and at its end, my sis-in-law feels compelled to pray over my wife.

So my sis lays her hands on my wife.

Others nearby put their hands on my wife.

I put my hand on my wife.

I believe in a Creator, Spirit, and Christ Light, and send positivity and prayer through her.

I feel something.

It seems everyone believes.

Because she felt something.

Nearly a year later, and her skin remains hive and rash free. Not one issue since that day.

So we continue to have faith.

Again in a bed:

It is now many minutes later on the eve of my darkest pain, and I tell my son, “Sorry if I make noises.”

“It’s okay, I understand,” he says.

“I know, but it’s just so dramatic,” I say.

We are in an Airbnb where seconds later, with a hand towel covering his most private region, my son is caught strafing from the shower to a private space to dry and dress.

I belly laugh which overrides the pain.

I share with son how I’m writing these words right now.

He grants permission to share these details in this post.

Laughter feeds the faith.

Still in a bed:

My wife puts her hand on me.

I close my eyes and restart Time Stops which runs 9 minutes and 55 seconds.

Then I begin to giggle as the music peaks.

I belly laugh twice more and turn to wife.

Her eyes are closed. Her lips move.

Her eyes open as her mouth says, “Are you laughing at me?”

“No,” I say.

Her look lasts just shy of forever before I say, “Within seconds of you putting your hand on me, the pain vanished.”

My wife tells me how she was praying for Spirit to fill me and provide a miracle.

I tell her how I laughed because I saw and felt the miracle without oral expression.

I feel something.

It seems we believe.

Then the pain flashes minutes later.

I replay the memory of the momentary miracle.

Healing returns. Then the pain reappears.

I remember to see what is possible.

Back to the boy who almost became the Red Koi.

In a shower:

I was looking for an alter ego. The wall tiles displayed koi so I played imagination games alongside seemingly never-ending throes.

You see, I am open to assigning a new persona to a portion of myself. I can store the pain there and time stops.

Yet I know it’s better to dissolve the pangs than relocate the aches.

Now I laugh because weeks ago, I asked a couple friends for alter-ego ideas. This is comical because I must be the one self-assigning such things.

I remember that healthy laughter is better than an ugly cry.

In a flash:

What is inside a flash of pain?

I have seen:

White.

Black.

Heavy.

Sharp.

Hard.

Red.

Koi.

No.

This is not a place I will continue to go.

I believe in the heal.

In a choice:

I am David Jess William Villalva.

I am a man of faith.

Except I am not the Red Koi.

Although this story was still about a boy.

One still in need of an alter ego.

One where the pain goes.

And healing grows.

And now everyone knows:

This is how I paint inside the noise.

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