Wednesday, 14 December 2011
The Aural Odd
The room is small and engulfed in a deep secretive sweat. A motherly sweat. Humid, marshy. An open womb, receptive but not conceptive. Nothing could be born here save what has already been born andlost. Her room: a splitting off of then and now. Hers, the little room with the little window, overlooking Spring Street.
I am looking for a box, cardboard and weathered, ravaged by years of being forced into the back corners of small closets like this one, in small rooms like this one, composed of the secrets and spectresof those who’ve just stepped out–their breathes still whetting the air. Whispers that have not found an ear perpetually running into others like the air of a stillborn thunderstorm. Smoke from his cigarette left lingering as usual, curling and spiraling in the light; caught and highlighted by the blind of the littlewindow. Bringing to eyes motes, dust–adding a simple unheeded immediacy to my sneaking.
I think of them. They: the unknowing rufflers of these drifting, meloncholy bits of memory. Theantecedents of this dust. This dust, better left dormant, is not mine to bathe in, to poke through, but Iseek it all the same. Each day when the apartment goes quiet and still like it is now I go through thesemy simple, solitary pleasures in this musky, ancient haze.
If I were to look quickly out the window, I might see them walking almost as I in here. On the balls andinto the restaurant, his restaurant, her hands gloved even in summer –with a quick bursting energy asthe breeze that brushes my ankles when the door to the little room would gust shut. That was them. Entering places as if they were closing doors.
I maneuver the blind with my index, opening it slightly–just enough to peek. It is too bright. Two or three, I think. A double shift. Always a double shift on days like this. Her hands would be absent frommine tonight. Smiling at the prospect, I think of them.
Hers were of the dead and dying. Hers werehands of vicarious sickness, disease–a shared revelation of final breathes.
Regret. I hated her when she held my hand then as I lay in bed, the afternoon’s intrigues finally settled–the still heat of mycompressed little world, the lullaby of the summer night whispering me asleep.
In the light, I shut my eyes as I had when I was born, dust from the blind caked on my little pointer. Ispread it around, noting the texture; try to count the number of grains. Infinite. Impossible. Pointless. Like sand, I think, only clinging more than. Heavier. More stable. Like the box. Sturdy.
I like things that are stable, I think.
The box holdstogether the past and within it my father’s things seem older than they actually are. Icould trace my name and his with the dust it was so thick. I wonder how this is possible. Doing this each day, how can this happen? The heavy coating slowly transgressing these things as water on land– marking time I cannot conceive. Had is been so long or doesdust settle with the simple overzealousness of children at play?
The possesions were few, salvaged secretly from the garage sale. Some movies, a few books yellowed with the days, some holey shirts and ties; a simple wooden rosary, painted black, I would wear as atalisman around the little room in the little apartment.
Above the box, which effuses its own perfect scent, hanging next to the flourescent is a pomander competing at fail with the relics. It sways gently; calmly blanketing the air right above my crown with lavender. Below, in the shirts and ties, is my father. Cloves. A subtle smokiness. Like the sweat in mysheets, it is comforting. Pleasing.
I take one of the shirts, and match with one of the ties. I bury my face in it, feeling the fibers slowly imprint and congeal with my flesh. Just like yesterday and the day before that.
He woke. A slight sweat as the slight draught crept up the slight stairwell of the little attic hallway where she, the little wind and he, slept—z after z, grin and grin—night after night and into day.
He had dreamt that she, the little wind, had fallen. Fallen down where the little stairwell crept a little on its own—creaked a little, weakened a little more than its own Victorian heritage.
Down the stairwell, as a runaway afraid of some specter—some false memory of a time when he thought he was more—he fled. But only to the fridge. To the hummus and pita and beer and water and cool cool warmth of artifice. The cool warmth that allows one to know where, just when and how one’s heart lies.
He loved the little wind in the little room sitting atop the little cottage where the little things became the biggest things that could, and would, carry him and her into a bright future.
A future composed of breaths, tied by the slightest sort of twine. A future of breaths tied in an effort to hold onto that midnight summer. To hold onto a future of breaths sweated, slicked, kempt and undone as they ever could be.
Dreaming of the helicopters circling their romance—a romance that should have been a crime for it’s everythingness—and twiddling the other’s toes as each thought of going, down the stairwell, as runaways finally unafraid of everything and ready to catch the next open box freighting down some coast they’d never heard of.
Go now, they would speak. Go now and live and love the other.
Go now and carry what the wind couldn’t. Go now and carry each other.
Go now because now is then.
And in these, our sad temples to sad fathers and mothers and sons long lost, we sit in chairs half-contemplating, half-forgetting, both past and pasts’ future—all borne on the backs of glass and ice and lies and three draughts beyond our pay.
And this then is our oracle.