Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The wind picks up without making too much noise and reminds me I have an appointment at the wharf, a meeting with a Pakistani man I have run into on several occasions but whose name I still do not know. The light in the sky refracts itself into a million different pieces, or wavelengths as the experts call them. But I am beholden to no one and so can refer to those elements that make up the sky any way I wish. I can give them proper names like those belonging to my cousins, for instance, if I can recall what my cousins were called when I was still in the habit of visiting them. They lived across the mountain range in a series of cabins that got so cold in the evenings you could hear moisture crystallizing on the windows, inside and out. We told each other stories to pass the time, to explain away that noise as part of the operation of whatever mechanical device inhabited the heart of our stories. For we couldn’t seem to invent anything that didn’t somehow involve machines, just as if we thought machines arose of their own accord from the soil and weren’t labored over, engineered and designed, by people who looked a lot like we ourselves would look once we had reached an age when we were expected to make something of ourselves. When we were expected to know the difference between units of measurement and what those units measured. We treated the world as if it were simply one of many, and as such subject to the whim of what we said, the tyranny of our childish, impudent daydreams and speech. Halfway there, the Dean of students falls into stride beside me, simply appears as if conjured from the air itself and the brick dust and the sounds of people nearby shouting at each other because they are in love and they are afraid to show this too clearly to the objects of their love lest the objects of their love do what any of us would do in a similar situation – namely, use that knowledge to their own advantage. The Dean of students says he wishes to speak to me, that he has been looking forward to this opportunity for so long, in fact, he can hardly believe the opportunity has finally arrived. It is akin, he says, to a holiday. In this he is being disingenuous and he doesn’t, of course, care in the least that I am aware of it. He winks at me with his left eye without actually making any eye contact and the corner of his lip lifts just enough to reveal the one rotten tooth that hovers beneath it, an eye tooth gone black from neglect or genetics, one is never sure which in such situations, though the Dean of Students’ grooming is never anything but meticulous in all other matters as is testified to by those who know him, and many who don’t. And his habits are as ordinary as a locust’s. Which suggests we must look deep in the chromosomes for an answer to what has happened to him, but who has time for all that? Who even knows how to open a chromosome so as to have a look inside: use what implement, train which lens or fire what high-powered laser?

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