Friday, January 11, 2013

The dread, the vaunted silence, approaches without hesitation, without the timidity one normally associates with other noxious beings, assuming they are only partially imaginary. The same caveat applies to the bandages one is expected to dress the wounds with after whatever altercation has taken place and the various parties have retreated to their portion of the public park or the office building where the day started out like any other – with the odd radio tuned to the local station and Sibelius translating the northern latitudes into lament on nylon strings. Or celebration, it’s hard to tell which sometimes at this distance. I pry the rotted boards loose and shove my fingers through to moist soil and all the while Eulalie has convinced me that whatever’s underneath has been hiding out there purposefully for eons and my disturbing it can only serve to make my name synonymous with addiction and misery and maybe (if I’m lucky) those thermal updrafts that keep the carrion birds aloft for hours at a time without their having to so much as flap a wing. This attempt at witticism at my expense, this desire to turn everything upside down for the sheer joy of watching others attempt then to re-orient themselves without benefit of instrumentation or carefully rendered charts, backfires and the last I see of her, Eulalie is stomping down the road with an enormous tree branch in her hand. It must weigh in the neighborhood of forty pounds and it’s crooked a little as if to suggest that it might be useful at some point in the future should you need to boil water or locate constellations that look suspiciously like crabs and other inconsequential aquatic wildlife. Just the sorts of things we ordinarily pay very little attention to unless we are suffering from a specific mineral deficiency and consuming the flesh of these creatures will ameliorate it. What are the chances of that though, really? Eulalie, before she left, put it at about one in ten. These are basically the same odds as inform our decisions when we are on the tire swing and it has reached the zenith of its arc and we must determine for ourselves (how early isolation descends!) if we will let go there or wait for entropy to take over, to make everything right again the way it smoothes out the edges of the universe and makes sure that no one goes hurtling out beyond those edges into something that can’t even be imagined. Something so unlike the here and now that if you were to succeed in gaining an accurate picture of it in your mind (and let’s face it, who of us hasn’t at least made the attempt; who hasn’t fiddled with the notion as a means of destroying himself, little by little, from inside), you would cease speaking almost immediately and close in on yourself and seem all but impenetrable to those who would have no choice then but to continue to go about their business around you and, by definition, without you – waxing the floors. Discussing other people’s extramarital affairs in great detail over the phone before hanging up and examining for a minute or two the lines on the palms of their hands for any sign that they might yet be destined for some measure of greatness, that there hadn’t been a mistake after all -- nay, a colossal, unjust oversight -- despite all appearances to the contrary.        

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