The Unswung Bat

Friday, October 24, 2003
Exit, Center Stage

The next time they saw each other was years later, at a gallery opening an exhibition of her work. He came with his girlfriend but the two quietly separated to gaze at different paintings. He was looking at one rigidly, as though he was a statue carved to look at the picture without seeing it. But he was watching it, and with the rest of his body frozen his eyes were deeply immersed in the canvas, searching it for all the signs of life he'd known in his friend, and he knew when she walked up beside him.

"What do you think?" was how she disturbed years of silence.

"You always were an English major."

She was quiet after that for a moment. She seemed much the same as she'd been in his memory, except without a trace of the limp. Stiffness could never stay with her for long. She breathed smoothly. She probably slept like she was made of feathers. Lofting and lulling gently, settling and rising again.

Between them now stood a third person's-worth of space, the almost human spirit of the opposite of love. Even so, as nothings go, it was small. Much smaller than its converse would have been.

Only to the two of them did a wordless span of time seem to pass before next she spoke. His eyes no longer searched the painting. They clung to it.

"Why don't you look at me?"

He let the question into his mind, to hang there for a moment, and then answered from a part of him that could be both patient and horribly abrupt. Such a part that long ago had coiled around his heart, sometimes to guard it, sometimes to sink in its own teeth, and whisper with a forked tongue.

"I suppose that right now I'm looking at you and away from you," he said, but though his eyes stayed fixed on the painting they had lost sight of it. If he ever sighed, he did then, and turned to face her. Saw there the time unspun, that had stayed neglected in her, and his in him. Looked in a pile of yarn and saw woven warmth.

He permitted in his face the lightness of a small smile, bowed his head cryptically, slightly. Then somehow they were holding each other, and he found the desperation he had locked in his eyes broke out, and flooded through motionless arms, hands. And she said nothing but life is hard. And he said nothing but yes it is.


Elliott Smith is indeed dead.
iTunes is indeed cool. Goddammit, now I want a Mac. Fuck.

original site + text contents ©2004 twenty oh four by me called it

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