The De[composition] of Time: A Short Fiction

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She felt a sort of forlorn sense of forboding coming to the end of her composition book. It had inspired so much in her; had spoken to her in some way crookedly shelved at the local copy shop. She saw her spine in the off-kilter threading of the binding, the slightly mislaid pages, the speckled cover torn in the corner like the chicken-pock scar on her brow- an opaque memory of her 13-year-old self. What if once all the pages had been filled she would become mute; paralyzed, again, with silence? What if this raggedy old composition book was her last gateway to communication?

She couldn’t sleep at night with worrying. She would moodily eye the book haphazardly tossed on the edge of the bed, tottering on the edge of a precipice. She would get up in the night to pee and turn the light on to see if it was still there. To get her mind off it she would stare at the slowly turning blades of the ceiling fan as it sliced through the hours of twilight into dawn.

She started writing smaller and smaller; delaying the inevitable. She felt like she did this in relationships too– she would become smaller and smaller, almost disappearing, before finally letting go. And despite what some people may say, habits like that don’t change with time alone– it takes thought, effort, and self-awareness; it takes work. Smaller, smaller, smaller… Until…

She started frequenting the coffee shop down the street, the days ensuing her insomnia. She would bring her notebook, but couldn’t bring herself to actually write in the handful of blank pages. Her friend would sit a few tables away, never at the same table, and they would IM back and forth all their thoughts, fears, brief and highlighting epiphanies, the mundane subtleties of the day. Technology had crippled them; had crippled language– mute witnesses to a technological omni-super-god; Moloch the great and powerful. Somehow it was better than having coffee alone.

In the shower she would write on the walls and watch the soap-suds wash her words away. She would write poetry on her body with water and would feel pure and fluid and clean. It felt better getting the words out and cleaning the slate all at once– no editing, an invisible levity, a comedic “soap”-opera. Her composition notebook would sit dejected and alone on the counter.

Those empty pages permeated into her everyday consciousness. She started to see everything as a few blank pages waiting to be written– they felt like tombstones waiting to be engraved with final vestiges. She sat further than usual from her friend at the coffee shop. She could feel the distance like little grave-plots between them and all she could think about was buying purple flowers for them like she had purchased for her grandmother’s grave; six feet of infinite seperation. Moloch demands many sacrifices. Her coffee tasted watery and burnt. Her friend could feel the weight of granite upon them; the decomposition of time and space between them. His IMs became staggering and unwhole fragments, trying to eclipse space. Smaller, smaller, smaller…

The days passed in excruciating trudges of time (as time tends to pass in the wake of a death; an ending of things). Chaotic thought, fleeting and timeless, simple and melancholy, complicated and intoxicating– the subtle architecture of loss. But she persisted to write; smaller, smaller, small…

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2 comments

  1. “Technology had crippled them; had crippled language– mute witnesses to a technological omni-super-god”

    Wow. Love your language, your choice of words. You are truly gifted. Thank you for sharing your stories with us!

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I plan to continue to share.

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