December 18, 2010

I thought for a while about looking for you. But you had already gone. Having received a hand written letter informing me of this, I went outside and felt your absence in the street. It occurred to me that the library was probably the most convenient place to pursue the inertia of my thoughts, since it no longer housed any books to distract me, as did other places.

The rose bushes along the way failed to produce any scent, and the thorns scratched at my skin. But I allowed it to happen, in spite of the pain. The concrete was cracking under my feet with every step. I had no idea that I had become so heavy. A policeman found me offensive and was no longer able to control his disgust, shouting around the same themes over and over again, none of them his own, although he took them to be so. As do I, with themes that are not my own. And this too has been said before.

Having spent some time grappling with the policeman, he ended up as a corpse, and I felt myself pleased with the outcome. I found that some people were following me, and I knew it was not about the police officer. It was too late for him. Nor was it about my weight. But until they caught up with me I could not have discovered that they were offering to cure me of the scratches inflicted upon me by the thorns from the rose bushes, the crumpled flowers of which now lay scattered on the ground like the death of something irreplaceable, showing with certainty that a performance so singular can never be repeated. They took me by the arms as their gentle prisoner and guided me onward in every direction, and I felt as though you would at some point return, and that they were in some sense responsible for the manifestation of this event.

The leader said things to me, not about you, not about the police, not even about the scratches. And as he whispered in my ear, careful not to extend to his comrades the revelation of his secret, I understood the tension in his voice. His fear placed a great weight upon him and he was unable to relate this to the others, who had never seen below the surface. He said that the moment he had caught hold of me he felt that I was different from them, that I showed him something he already knew. He asked me how I coped with such knowledge; how it was that it did not frighten me. I told him that I live without hope.

We arrived at the library and you were removing the last of the books from the otherwise empty shelves. It occurred to me that you had forgotten. Neither of us had enjoyed such a glance before, like the very first time but without such scars. Your hand felt warm as you grasped hold of my arm, replacing the troubled leader who shrank down and evaporated. You walked with me across the room to the fountain where I lay dying on the stone steps. And with my last breath, as you wiped the sweat from my temple, I told you that I loved you.

 

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