Saturday, December 29, 2012

One tower has something written on it in Greek, which suggests the other one is probably ornamented as well in a language we have not studied. One would like to translate, but the energy expended in looking up words and conjugating them when conjugation is both possible and expected causes one to become thirsty at precisely that moment when almost every liquid in the vicinity has evaporated due to exposure to direct and plentiful sunlight. There is something colored gray and smelling faintly of ashes in a plastic container in the cupboard, in the shadows out of reach of the sun’s prying rays, but Eulalie warns me away from it with a song she apparently composed specifically for this occasion on some previous occasion when I was out of the house or had been detained by the local authorities. The sound of her voice has not altered since I first heard it decades ago when she was sitting under a tree in the moonlight and replaying the day’s events out loud to no one in particular. It has a rasping quality to it that, far from suggesting permanent damage to the vocal chords and a congenital tendency to moral transgression somehow responsible for that damage, convinces you that her time on the planet has been spent looking after those who might otherwise have been forced to live in mud huts in the canyon and to allow their children to wander away somewhere around the second grade. Those people travelling between one tower and the other, we are told, do so by boat and they have the wind at their back and are entirely free of care or worry so long as the fruit and the flower blossoms continue to drop haphazardly into the boat with them. Certainly this would be the perfect opportunity for someone following along on the bank or standing at the top of one of the towers in question to take a photograph and attempt to sell copies of the photograph to the passengers once they have disembarked (if they are allowed to disembark) or to a magazine of the sort that is still interested in the outside world as opposed to the abstract interior world that has become of such enormous interest to those who still purchase things like magazines. For her part, Eulalie denies the primacy of either, stating that interior and exterior are separate sides of the same worthless coin and that we ought instead to be concentrating our attention on the unremittingly dull if we wish to get to the bottom of anything, if we wish to understand why our hearts and our shoelaces, for instance, are made of fundamentally identical materials.

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