Saturday, March 10, 2012

Contact spurred further contact and led me to believe I knew the person I was speaking to intimately. It’s a mistake I make with such frequency those who know me refer to the mistake itself by my first name. Then they nearly succumb to ailments they picked up while traveling abroad. I fell in with a group of sungazers and thought that I too could get whatever energy I needed to sustain all physical activity simply by looking directly at the sun as it began to set. This went on for several weeks, during which time I limited my intake of food to that which I was able to find lying about on the ground. Discarded crusts of bread mostly and the occasional lizard numbed into immobility by the cooler temperatures. At some point the memories thinned out and I found myself spending more and more time shouting her name into the wind, but only when I was sure it was blowing in off the ocean and could not carry my voice down the street like a plastic bag. Who wants to be observed in that vulnerable state? But then again, who doesn’t wish for at least someone to take notice, to comment in such a way that the original state no longer seems so overwhelming if only because it has become an object of conjecture? Something you can look at from every angle and hold long, learned conversations about provided you are capable of distancing yourself from the original state sufficiently to see it as something that could have happened to someone else. Something that might even have been dreamed up in a laboratory where they are constantly dreaming up situations just to see how the average man or woman or child will react when faced with them. In the oculist’s office later, the full effect and benefit of hindsight falling on my shoulders like a predatory bird, I began to regret my decision and the outbreak of irrational anger that accompanied it, that caused her to run up the hill in a thunderstorm and disappear for several hours. We searched every crevice, every naturally-occurring cave for miles in either direction but could discover no hint of her whereabouts. And though we certainly weren’t about to give up, we didn’t like the idea of continuing forever either. I mean, what would we be losing in the meantime? How would know when our dedication had become a lunatic’s obsession and how would we be able to explain ourselves later to those we had abandoned? The children and the other bit players. The neighbors two and three doors down. The cousins we hadn’t grown up with and so didn’t know much about. Whether they were married, for instance. Whether they ever once questioned – deep in the night when no one was around to influence their decision, when the unruly kingdom of dreams hovered just out of reach -- if the world was, in fact, as conventional wisdom had it, round.       

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