The damp, cool relief I felt leaning against his stone-cold-frame at high noon mid August. The sun that laid prisms on the rugs down the halls through stained glass windows- gave warmth on a frost-bitten February morning. I felt my depression ease, his purpose take place within my own mental state.
He taught me to keep aware.
Hugged by his spiraling staircases, I felt secure within his mass. Boarded by his twelve-foot-doors, fourteen-foot-windows, eighteen-foot-ceilings. Comforted by his stance exuding confidence that I envied. Proud of his intent- built for royalty – built for the “insane” actually in 1872; a time more kindly engineering than today.
He taught me to keep humble.
The smell of freshly baked peanut-butter-jelly crumb cake in his kitchens. Burgers on plates the size of your face- shoved into my face left me swollen and sleepy with an irregular heartbeat for days. The bar’s aroma wafted black licorice, ginger and mint, and over-served me like a gluttonous Queen.
He taught me to keep generous.
The many rotating faces of erratic emotion or internal dread- already known or accidentally bumped into to befriend, comfort, or confront day-to-day. He held my hand through the many anxieties and animosities of social interaction and urged me to seek sincerity and authenticity instead.
He taught me to keep compassionate.
Navigating him became a subsequent flow of repetitive turns, bends, and motion. I became fluent in his language- his map- his less traveled stairwells and doors- all while making sure not to trip into an armoire or beam- one of his many giant legs. Running pillows to the western corridor while I’d realize the broom I needed for another wing – a mile long dart to complete- was waiting.
He taught me to keep patient.