book of days serial #19

He sat against a brown vinyl booth for four (4). He sat like stone, the way the city willed him, under the fluorescence. He pressed his feet unobstructed against the slick terrazzo inches from the opposite bench. He surveyed all the spaces between walls and appliances in the restaurant. Grey spaces that someone could possibly slip into. Spaces covered with soft dust and powdery warmth. The space at large was surprisingly cold. The whites and yellows low on the wall in his line of sight slowed the pulse of the air and he stared into his coffee. The drops of cream he had allotted to the drink were slowly coagulating. He chose not to stir them. His eyes scanned as though he were attempting to break through in a Brownian motion against his own stony stature. He chose not to. He watched as the sequence of stages unfolded before him. Each change in value of both cream and coffee, from brown to pale and back, solidified his distance from the unraveling unity before him. As part of an inexorable natural process, the cream warmed to the temperature of the coffee and began to lose its coherence. To stir would be to abort this process that physics and aesthetics had given him to savor. The cream would not reach a perfect uniformity in this manner, but the act of drinking a happenstance cup of coffee, however mediocre, would allow a slight satisfaction through its situational alignment. It was not as though anyone were watching.

Her migration was transient. Her routes had grown limitless. Every stop that she had stared into space across was now a part of her internal environment. She was reflective. The bounds groped up into the Antelope Valley and out to Signal Island. Limitless, a field, pointless. She happened upon that terrazzo cavern this night. It was around the close of the year. As if sensing that she was being watched, she turned her head slowly toward the dining room. The perfection, the assurance now of her movement made it immediately clear that she knew the location on which her gaze would soon come to rest. With a warm and savoring expression she looked away from him, calmly rotating her shoulders and neck back to gaze at the almost artificial stillness in the fluorescent plenum above our heads. It was brilliantly lit.

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