Thursday, October 27, 2005

unsound seams (an ungluing)


Someone was here, you think. A sneaking, evasive soul, lurking behind the scenes like a puppet master of old, dancing marionettes on strings. A vaudevillian ventriloquist and her dummy, one voice speaking through the mouth of another. The worst kind all, one who plays at making shadows on the wall, leaving no evidence behind. Her stage, little more than a bare wall, her actors, little more than tricks of light and non-light. When she leaves, she packs up her entire universe with the opening of a light and is gone.


Was it then all in your head? "Get thyself to a doctor," he said. "Call in sick to work, get some rest." No-one saw her. Remind yourself of this. You're leaning, easy, on the water cooler. Waiting for more talk. Keeping work at a distance. The buzzing fluorescent lights come down, pouring in through your eyes, filling your head. The bitterness of terrible coffee eats away at your tongue. Acrid. A storm is building. Images of a whirlwind of papers sweeping you away. A twister of a billion misspelt words. You grip your head, applying pressure at the temples. Then you're looking back up, squinting out across a sea of cubicles. She's out there, you tell yourself, adrift, lost, alone.


She vanished as such,
like one who steals through the night
on the cool autumn breeze
riding waves of yellow moonlight.


Hell, you didn't even see her - you only noticed the non-evidence of her visit. Does that make sense? Anger builds, and you're roughly calculating how many sick days you have banked. You detected the non-evidence of her visit, to be sure, a sort of unique sense of non-being. Like standing in the same room as a corpse, even before one knows she is in the presence of a body, even before she sees it or smells the sweetness of its initial rot, she will know it is there by the acute absence of life.


The end of the day comes. It always does. You'll say goodbye to those others you say goodbye to. You'll nod to those others you nod to. You'll ignore those others you ignore. Calm and cool. Everything's alright. Remind yourself of this. A backward glance at your desk reveals papers stacked neatly in place, the lead of your pencil sharpened just right, and your mouse is sitting exactly where it should be - where it wasn't this morning. Right? Password protection will be enabled from this point on. Someone was here, you think. A sneaking, evasive soul, lurking behind the scenes. You lock your door behind you - the click doesn't bring the comfort it usually does. You survey, once more, the sea of cubicles. She's out there somewhere, you tell yourself, planning, calculating, scheming. They're all suspect. Everyone here is your enemy.

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