eftersmak, eftertänk

I have two memories, several years apart, that I have been visiting lately. I’m playing them over and flipping back and forth and in between, for whatever reason, listening to them on repeat. They are really nothing remarkable. But as with music, singing or playing aloud is typically the cure for such common insanity. So here goes.


I sat on the curb outside of my school; it rained but it was not cold, or at the least I don’t remember it being cold. I don’t remember even being wet though surely, I was. I do remember the dull ache in my legs, fourteen being about the age that our bodies decide to remind us after exercise, that we are in fact only human. A small stream was coalescing in the gutter behind my heels. I watched for a long time, tributaries formed and joined with the others, neat planar tides folded into one another in the shape of the Nile River Delta. A boxy black car, no one I knew, pulled up in front of where I sat. When it stopped, the red from the breaklights cast my little river and the skin on my ankles en rouge—an image I haven’t forgotten. This is beauty, I remember thinking. It is not always glad, I remember thinking. And it is everywhere, all the time; it is as inescapable as horror. Here, even.


People think of nature as trees and streams and mountains, she said. Really, nature is everything around us. She bent low, prayer-like, and stretched her arms out over the table we were sitting around: a long and gleaming slab of pine. This table, she said, is nature; it was after all, once, a tree. I don’t remember the faces the students in the class at that moment. They may as well have been a cabinet of ghosts: All in collusion against me to remain speechless, lifeless and impenetrable but nonetheless present. I do remember the professor’s face, motionless. Her chin was suspended just grazing the tabletop and her uplooking eyes were engorged behind the necessary glasses. The table seemed itself, the most living thing in the room and it pulsed bright yellow; this being one of those times when the small oscillations of everything in the world, in my immediate nature, just barely registers beneath the point of my pencil.


In case you were wondering: I’m posting a lot more often these days because my current job title is “Cat Babysitter.” Which means I have time.


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