Sunday, February 11, 2007

A blank page.


Picture a book.

In this book, there is a man.

A bit tall, a bit thin, a bit too concerned with things that he cannot really control.
He’s sitting quietly off to the side of his world, nestled gently within a nook that he’s claimed as his own. He isn’t doing much except for enjoying the state of a day that has yet to begin. Yes, it’s quiet. Quiet and still.

He takes a moment to look outside of the window. It’s an overcast morning, the sky swirling in place like a spoon stirring the milk left over from morning cereal; and the man wonders what his day is going to be. Puzzles out the possibility. Looking out at that sky, the one that stretches out farther than his fingers ever could, there might very well be a promise of things to come. He knows this, and he knows that it’s alright.

He does.

It’s when the man hunkers down with his sciencentric Roast Beef hoodie wrapped around him for warmth against the server air that he discovers it. The thing that will change his day. The thing that scratches its fingernails down the length of his back, leaving deep scars that make a game of tic-tac-toe when combined with marks of a time long since gone by. It hurts.

“I’m blank, today.” he says.
There isn’t a thought in his head.

This shocks and confuses him, a flurry of tangible nothings within his head that wither and die the instant they try to connect with anything, delicate butterflies falling dead onto the frozen ground. Blank. He’s blank. And within that nothing, he finds that he is afraid. The fear rip-roars through his body with a strength that makes him feel as if his very life is being torn from his bones, fire-gnashing thunder-crashing dynamite machines destroying all he has ever hoped to be.

“Where am I going, where have I been?” The question echoes throughout the space around him, and his eyes widen when he sees the space that he occupies. No longer is he nestled in that quiet nook, body surrounded by humming fans and light-streaked blinds; no, this time he sees the page. He sees the book. He sees where he is. In this book, there is a man. And the page he’s on is blank.


Is that a good thing? Hard to say. Thoughts should be running through his head. Right here, right now. Right here, right now. Right here, right now. Thoughts. Right here, right now. Ideas. Right here, right now. Plans. Right here, right now. Dreams. Right here, right now. Thoughts. Right --


So much nothin’. So much that it overwhelms him, his body now heaving, an all-encompassing motion that gives his body the appearance of the need for vomit, but with the desire comes nothing else, no splatter of sickening color to give the space some cruel-but-welcome sense of definition. The man cannot figure it out. Figure anything out. So he does the only thing he feels that he may manage -- he tries to outrun it. He tries to run away from this nothingness, to bring himself to a place where his hand can touch a pureness of thought that grants meaning to this empty world, filling it with colors that will spread like light across a night-stained mountain. So. He runs.

Runs into the edge of the page, heaving himself against the edge of the world. HEAVE. HO. RUN. TO. Forcing himself to try to change this world, running his fingers along the edge, trying to find a new beginning, a different theme, a chapter title, a place with definitions beyond that color of uniform white empty that hurts his eyes, hurts his eyes, hurts his eyes hurts his eyes --

The page turns. Blank again.


Nothin’ except that same feeling. His heart undulates in his chest like a gasping fish; but not icy cold, no -- burning hot. And oh so warm. It’s a good thing, that warmth. But where…where did it come from?

“Where indeed?” The voice comes from behind him, like a splash of water exploding over the back of his head. The man whip-turns around, his eyes blurring, trying to pull focus on the thing that sits there amidst the blank, the new thing that might. Give. Something.

It’s a woman. She’s sitting there, quietly munching on a slice of French toast, a hot cup of coffee throwing delicious steam into the air before her. She’s calm. And she smiles.

“Hello,” the man speaks, his voice cracking slightly, “who might you be?”
Another smile. “I think you know.”

She reaches behind her back, and produces a tall coffee mug as if from nowhere, one that the man regards with a twinkle of recognition in the corner of his eye. It is -- it was -- an old sort of friend. One thought lost, once upon a time.

“I -- where did that come from?”
“From you, I suppose.”
“If you want it to, honey.”
“I -- I think I do.”
“Then why not? Let it be. Have a taste.” Her small hand reaches out to offer the steaming cup to his not-yet-ready fingers. He hesitates, but…not in a bad way. His eyes wide, his head steaming in a manner similar to the liquid in the colorful cat coffee mug.

His hands reach out, and take the mug from hers. Their fingers touch, for but a moment, and he’s embarrassed to note that his hands are cold. So cold. But she still smiles, and lets forth a quick and welcoming laugh. It’s enough to make him tremble.

The coffee transfers its warmth into the surface of his fingers. And then deeper, and deeper still; penetrating down to the bone, like nutrients seeping into the surface of the Earth. He raises it to his face, and warms his lips against the cup. He tastes.

“It tastes like --”
“ -- it tastes like sunrise.” The woman walks closer as the words escape her lips. The man merely nods, then gulps down another swig of burning, watching her movements. His mouth goes dry. He tries to speak.

“Build me, make me,” his voice shakes with traces of long-lost hope, “make me something good.”

Her voice responds, the soft coo of a turtle dove:
“I don’t need to, baby. You already did that yourself.”

And suddenly, they, the pair of them, are back in the nook, the sounds of their advancements muffled by the continuous drone of the servers. And the man, the man, the man…he can feel thoughts. Thoughts in his head, rushing about like rapids crashing through the rocks. Definition and depth, swirling about with a frothy sense of its own self. It’s a good thing.

Outside, the sun rises.
It's bright.


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