Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Once she unbuckled the strap, gravity took over and the various pharmaceuticals plunged to the floor. That in vials escaped when the glass broke and you could have heard the weeping from two streets over. My arms felt as though they had been turned around backwards, against their normal rotation, and though I couldn’t remember how I had come to this point, I was glad that I was here. Otherwise, I should have been at home watching television with a family that clearly couldn’t stand me anymore. They had begun formulating names for the different parts of my body that offended them in some way, comparing notes and making sure each name sounded unique, that it didn’t resemble the one that preceded it in terms of number of syllables and types of vowel sound. I told her I thought we should rest a while in the back room where the lights didn’t work and where certain robust vines had infiltrated the walls. Sometimes, if you listened closely enough, you could hear ants and mantises and centipedes making their way inside along the pathway of these vines. Their movements sounded like someone whispering your name over and over again at a level too faint to hear precisely but still loud enough to be audible for all that. Her hair curled up at the ends and reminded me of cliffs I had visited once where people got paid to throw themselves over the side. No one could really see what was awaiting them, the abyss there just as total -- just as infinitely black -- as, I imagine, the abyss is anywhere, by definition. We listened for the sound of one object making violent contact with another, of a dull thud or water being displaced rapidly, but nothing ever made it to our ears. Pretty soon, the line of people waiting for their turn was so long, someone had to come there with a system of ropes and brass poles just to keep everyone in order, to keep them from swinging at each other’s torsos with whatever weapons they happened to have on hand. My time was running out so rapidly I requested a visual aid -- an hourglass, or someone pedaling furiously on a bicycle, getting further and further away until I couldn’t tell anymore where her legs were and where her arms. Pretty soon the bicyclist’s head was incorporated into the dark line of the horizon so completely as to fail even to increase its height by a millimeter. I too, I realized, was swallowed up at every instant by a line I could not see, one that ran right through my body on either side and continued forever in either direction, searching, no doubt, for someone who could make the whole process cease, who could turn the line back into what it was at its beginning. A single point in space, wholly self sufficient. Something with no need for companionship, no desire to increase itself lest that desire morph into a compulsion like that which makes most of us miserable when we find we must go to bed at night alone.