Towers of books protruded from the floor, jutting almost anarchisticly from the red-gray carpeting, and there was a disjunctive symmetry to each column as it rose into the shaded rays of light from the chalky windows. The stale, moldy scent of overused parchments, and drying leather-bounds, and stench grittily-oiled pages filled the air in the back rooms. Chairs blew up thick clouds of dust against the straini ng beams of mid-afternoon fair.
She gripped a text in her hands, haphazardly selected from the short list of authors, a script of self worth and self being, in London, Huxley, Shelly, Carroll, Kundera, Dickens, Sallinger… at that point the author was of little consequence. She could belittle herself without their escort, yet, each attempt at even overly familiar works would provide that self-inflicted idealism that she so feared and grasped for those less likely to harken but would, as she well knew, pierce deeper.
In a far corner, two plaster seamed walls cracked together with two thick brimmed windows met in accidental appeal, painted over probably five decades worth of attempts to make it look intentional. The thickly padded, faded gold studded, red-gray armchair sat cozily against two heavy shelves of reference books so oft-overlooked coated in the spay of dust…. walking by could easily represent decades of forgotten lure just in the subtle breeze of a light whisp tossed up the faded past as she passed. Plopping herself into the seat, fate and circumstance collide, and a huge ball of clustered particles filled the air around her. She longed for lightness, but as much as she tried, she tread with the heavy footsteps of selfishness.
It wasn’t that she was selfish in the capitalistic or consumerism idea, she was wrapped up, or, rather, it was really the unraveling of her cranium in the release of the huge gray-red blur that fogged out the rest of the world for a fleeting and brief moment. She sank low into the purged cotton and felt padding while the books darkening pages spread between her artisan fingers.
She shifted briefly to make herself comfortable, pressing her ass and her back and her boney shoulders against the faded padding, loosening the rivets holding the fabric to the wood. Her own soul loosened and shifted in those movements, scattering and shuffling with each movement. The infliction of even those few movements resonated in her.
“I put all my trust in…” but, she had no idea how to finish, except with a faint melody, a dying set of chords and rhythms, notes and rhymes that barely seemed to fit together except in her mind. Her trust was with everything, but within nothing….
She imagined the needle dragging against the ragged grain of the vinyl… they wetness of nature smeared itself upon the panes of glass around her. Large, soft flakes of snow and the teardrops of rain streaked the panes. Settling back into the seat, she tilted her head back into her dulled headphones, a last audio-tribute to days gone by, despite the respite they produced as garage punk from the lower east side and basement punk from the lower east side.
She easily acknowledged in just the feel of the pages upon the softness of her worn fingers, “life is neither early nor late, neither here nor there, neither near nor far… i know, my life must seem rather strange, but it’s not a seem but a seam…”
The question was how to work with that seam. Tying up loose ends was not as easy as knotting her pink galoshes as the tapped a rhythm against the floor to the beat resonating in her head. It was painful, not bleeding, not so much as she knew, tying up in boy scout knots, tidy, succinct, and purposefully Settling in she forgot long ago about the technological latchkey that was attached to her. Her phone, her last connection to the outside world was buried deeply in her pocket and every last reminder of it lost in the lumpy clumps of the chair.
Her stare at the pages was not long lived, and her glance went back out the window. She peered out over the meadow to the stream running through the park below and the shallow waters were fighting against icing over. The infliction she felt was rejection, in small doses, like the creek combating the elements. She could hear the needle dragging against the vinyl in her mind as she re-imagined the scene with her in it. The rough edges of the pages scathed under her fingers as she pressed her thumbs firmer and firmer against them.
The world is so divisive. Religion, political idealism, morals, values, concepts and opinion not bound to anything but the route of personal attribution… which, in reality is all the others are, however, the difference being, is that community bonds and binds them, removing the individuality. She gripped tighter and tighter as an affirmation to her selfishness, borne in nothing more than individuality.. the desire, and the need to be the single snowflake, unique and separate, among the ensuing storm.
Fat, heavy flakes plummeted to the ground. The overtook the last bits of green on the lawn and veiled it in an innocence. She looked inside herself, hoping to find that same veil, but, it wasn’t there. She was a slave to her hopes, yet she knew they weren’t innocent like the snow… she was a slave to her wishes, yet they weren’t as pure and simple as the the flakes coating the harshness of the world… she was a slave to her ideals, yet, she knew they weren’t as simple as the rolling white of the world she now perceived… and no matter how much she wanted to make it so, they never would be… except buried in her pocket.
Tears began to roll, and “it’s freedom that we need…” she began to hum.
But the problem was, freedom from what? From herself? Yet, ironically, one cannot leave themself and be themself simultaneously. She sought the answer in the text in front of her. Her fingers nervously leafed through the early pages while the well worn woven fabric of the text irritated the flesh of her body. She could feel the towers of books caving in upon her as her breath tightened and her thoughts converged.
“I am I, and that’s all that I am…” she felt. Yet, she knew there was something more… there was another part of her and the language of a fading song echoed… “I never thought this could be me and yet you never do until it’s happening to you…”* and she began to understand…