She stood still

She stood still, halfway through a block and walked in place, heavily, so that her shoes scuffed violently on the pavement. She trudged onward, not through space but through the soles of her shoes. The action of rubbing and eroding became tearing and severing. She swung her arms in the same motions she allowed them to make whilst walking and bend her neck and head forward. The soles, already loose, began to catch and wrap around to the outside of the shoe with some steps. She ground the remaining tethers back to the shoes against the pavement in a back and forth raking movement until both soles were completely detached from her shoes. She picked them up, rolled them into flat wads, and placed them in her hip pocket. Her toes, bound together behind thin fabric, curled directly onto the ground. She clutched at the pavement by arching her feet. The bases of the shoes lifted away but did not flex and remained horizontal above the ground. She could begin to erode her feet, legs, her hair would drag behind her, she would hobble on her knees until they were gone and she would crawl the rest of the way, until the posterior horizon was no longer the sea. She had compressed days of ginger steps that needed to carry her further, into one spot. Hurriedly you have forced a process that should have consumed more time, more distance. You cannot put behind you the open doors, the interrupted routines, the shoes resting at odd angles on thresholds, the ocean breezes, by physically erasing them, destroying the artifacts, wearing through the papers in your pocket. With distance these things will fall away on their own, as you fall away. You cannot accelerate the sun, the arrival of night, sleep, unmade beds and cold open windows. You cannot accelerate loss or forgetting.

You stand in front of a broad plate glass window. The light from the sun, very far to the west, falls obliquely on the glass. There are two large panes bound by metal this is corroded and green at its corners and crossings. Small deposits of powder are heaped over round screws. One pane is completely lined with bronze vertical shutters, the edges catch the sunlight and draw reflected gilt lines back across the inside of the glass which sway. The air is still. You are sheltered from the light winds that dance across the waters and into the reeds which sway. The other pane is unobstructed yet befogged with large zones of moisture. The parked autos and the green sky reflect accurately in the shuttered window. The other window lets into the volume of the hollow it encloses. You approach the unobstructed pane with arms bent upward at the elbows and palms vertical until they touch the glass. The glass is very cold and damp. The volume is sealed, excised, solitary. Its refusal is total, it refuses the city, the suns warmth. It refuses you because it is not there. Rooms like this do not reappear. They are there to be filled with emptiness and reflections. These are the empty cells where you put apartments, sequences, the dust of age and sleep. They have yet to be forgotten. It is a simple hollow layed bare to constant scrutiny filled with the uniform tint of the green sunless sky. In the green glass a cold gaseous light emerges from a small low point, its source shielded. The light reflects back upward from a sterile counter very close to the source. The edges of the counter are not visible, only the cold white zone directly beneath the lamp, the width of your shoulders, the lamp as low to the desk as your bowed head and chest, your arms outstretched beneath it, palms flat.



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