I love an incredulous voice.
I believe in very little.
I have an immense capacity for doing nothing.
I deny excuses entirely.
I hate to leave a story in the middle.
Almost as soon as having started an obscure tale, I abandoned it, not up to the task. However, I could not leave. Flicking eyes over bookshelf, my stare would always halt upon the black spine, get closer, grey spine with white words. It was the contrast that made me think it black.
I could not leave it, or rather; it would not release me and allow me to leave. Dominating, it held the prerogative and without realising, I was set down in the world, but still framed by the to-be-read, senseless and blurred as though caught between two musical pitches; a sound by definition but not one we can annotate or reproduce. Every movement strobes like flickering eyelid under strain of fatigue, and the lethargy I feel (a heavy pull to the floor and towards quiet) is little more than a wish; a wish that I had never started.
But we knew, the book and I, we knew that I had begun. I had set foot into calming paralysis.
So after I woke and ate breakfast and set out to eat again, I headed into the street, the book in my shoulder bag. The cracked surface of compressed snow held firm in pockets of shadow while gutters burgeoned and sang. I am worn by the weather. This year leaves me tired already. It has been a peculiar journey, an almost comical exorcism of dues and reservations - a journey that I willed into being through desperation of purpose. And still the globe warms.
It is the afternoon, basking in the day’s middle, not feeling much of a conversationalist but attracted to the waitress’ movements, a slender arm as she weaves through the afternoon. I have drunk eight cups of coffee, and only paid for one. I took the offer as a challenge, but I am still tired. It must be my age. I am only here, socially, in shifts. I am beneath the murmur of the street, and above the silence of the parks. I am reading the book, quietly though, so as not to disturb it, I will finish before it realises. I am duping the word.
This day’s middle feels like a body of water. The immensity of liquid spread into watery hours, vast blocks of the day, a physical reality experienced every day, but one that denies our thoughts. I cannot think it; its infinite contortions are beyond my understanding of the world. Physical notions escape me more that metaphorical ones these days, drinking the eighth cup and not looking the least bit guilty, racing through the pages and not especially concentrating, my focus like prayer flags, hopeful symbols torn by the wind.
And I finish, uneventfully. It happens just before boredom. We speak not again, the book and I, it is just placed inside the shoulder bag, tamed like words in order. It is still afternoon and so I am lost. I am often lost in these hours, stranded between morning – the act of waking as a slow process of further exhaustion – and evening – the act of working as a means to sleep.
I am still here.