Consolation

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[A quickie]

Consolation comes in many forms, but you must never get caught. Randa opened the newly-purchased novel, one about scissors that talk as they cut through the vital and inanimate. Next to her was a bottle of wine that would last her as long as the first four chapters, one glass for every chapter. The night was still young and she shared a relationship of indifference with the world outside her apartment. She considered herself sagacious and her isolation a sign of prudence – an elderly spirit if ever there was one. She did what she needed to do and never bothered with wants and desires; besides her daily work in the university library, time was available to be organized neatly and precisely into separate and repetitive past-times: a promenade along the coast line, a recipe from a cookbook of joy as she followed the fast hands of a chef on a cooking channel, or a visit to her mother, who, tip-toeing her way to senility, still treated Randa as a young girl, following her every step and remarking with sharp, old eyes the darkness beneath her eyes. She did all that, however, in the solitary confinement of a life trod with careful precision and all the right choices, mistaking freedom for conformity, comfort and safety. So as she gulped down the second glass of wine and closed the second chapter of the sadistic scissors, she felt secure in the empty calmness of her home. She was not in a hurry, but  it would be her mother that would wash her corpse and bury her.

The story of Randa’s death is in part my fault. Yet in the eyes of the law, partly at fault does not give you half an indictment or half an acquittal, and from where I’m writing these words, I feel closer to Randa than ever before; I feel her absence striking me and my hide hardens at this irrational proximity, and over all things tenderness spreads. I face the silence and calmness that she sought from a life trod with fatal inaccuracy and all the wrong choices, mistaking flouting for freedom, rebellion and independence. This apposite description of my life in contrast to hers may be the intentional wit of its author, yet our parallel lives makes it more the work of an undecidable nature sought to be conquered separately by Randa’s self-determining organization and the detrimental die in my fist.

“Now perforce in tears and sadness
Learn a mournful strain to raise.” The Consolation of Philosophy. Boethius 

“The proximity of things is poetry.” Levinas

[To be Continued]

Slant

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He sits in his seat, the Indian food sitting wackily and heavily on the top of his stomach, the bladder inflated by the masala chai and the morning coffee still not out of his system. His anus is inflamed. This isn’t nervousness. This is hemorrhoids. This is the shit of past days catching up with him, this is the hours he spent ignoring his bowel movements and their discordance, preferring the stoned writing of books. He sits in his seat and he feels as if he shat himself, but it’s only the phantom limb feeling of a very real and present bruised anus. He closes his eyes. Bowel movements play the wonderful secrets of the body. In amazement he ponders the perplexing amount of time took human beings to dissect and find the wind instruments in our body. Latency of dissection as latent as a deferred shit.

The professor speaks. There is no causal relationship.

The professor speaks. His neck is red from the slim-fit shirt he has tied up to the last button, pressing on his neck which is inflated from a failing thyroid gland. The professor scans the room. There are no windows, only the eyes of the students staring back at him, or looking at coffee cups, open books and copybooks, only one pair of eyes is closed and they’re as good as a window. A professor who prefers to stare out of windows, or if he could, to close his own eyes.

In front of him, shoulder-length black hair adorning the forehead with bangs under which eyes flicker, not flirtatiously, but in a scanning blinking way. Outside, the night is spreading its sheets, but that doesn’t matter; a street light shines brightly. She thinks simultaneously of the before and after which encapsulate the class, and she doesn’t know if its guilt or excitement that is making her flicker.

Before: in bed with her lover whom she loves and loves to live with, and hold tight in chilly nights and share with him the heavy breath of night, fermenting in the air in the dark hours only to be brushed away at the sound of an alarm with a morning fuck and a dry-slowly-dampening kiss. And coffee. And tea. And morning breakfast and co-cooked dinners and films of the sleazy kind, the B-movie kind, the sci-fi, and the car crash-riddled action movies. And forgiveness and affection; and an identity dressing her body with the comfort of olive oil over water. But she blinks.

After: She’ll get on the subway, pretend to read as she ponders and imagines her the sound of her pointy knuckles on the door. Footsteps, soft slipper tapings respond to the knock, opening the door calmly, her hands flash out, extend not around the neck but around the hips, pushing the strangely familiar body back inside and unbuckling the high waist jeans, its color fading and resembling a blue-tinted snow-flaked TV screen. Her foot closes the door.

She blinks before her lover with which she tragically dramatizes her life and after the seasoned body with which she comically dramatizes her life. A tragicomic need for the legitimacy of intimacy by way of its very negation through an oedipal affair.

He doesn’t know shit. She sways to the serpentine song of infidelity. And neither is at fault.

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