seth has a good day

I am the creator, and being the creator I can open any door and rise up like balloons to scale fences, and I can take the earth and lift it with a thought and a string of words, and I can put the wooden crank into the small of any spine and by turning counterclockwise I can force breath into their bodies again, make them breathe and tell their stories for so long as I have the strength to keep at it, so long as I don't stop. This is a thing I do not do. I did it once, many years ago, and there are still those who find themselves in tears at cloud-cover and moonlight because of what I had done. So much in shame. This is not a thing I will do for Seth, though I have not told his story here, just as there are so many characters whose lives I never brought to a just end, simply discarded them, considered them too undercooked to pull and prattle out on this stage. So many of my friends are imaginary. I am still a child.

I will tell you myself, however, of a day Seth had not long off the ward. It was a good day, and good things happened to him and people he cared about, and I will not force life back into his husk in this telling and thus will cause no new sorrow in the polishing of old memories. As near as I can tell. Being the creator I think of myself as all-knowing, but circumstance always interferes and history proves otherwise. But this is all beside the point. What I want to tell you is how Seth awoke in the morning.

Seth awoke in the morning and began running through the list of steps he needed to follow to successfully get himself out of bed. All the bad ideas had been pulled from him with distance and medicines he took twice a day, but there was a space left there just behind his eyes, and by keeping a short watch on the steps necessary to complete each of his appointed tasks he worked on his fresh-grown patience and stuffed every daily detail like cotton into the gaps in his head. Sit up. Pull up your legs to prepare for moving out of bed. Fold blankets to the right, across the body. Turn ninety degrees to the left. Put feet on floor. Put hands at sides to assist in getting up. Lift with arms and legs and back. Pull up arms. Stand up.

Seth was not with the circus at this time. He didn't even really know about the circus, other than vague memories of the reputable days, when the Dairymen were famous as an escape team, articles in newspapers and talk in certain circles of the innate purity of these performances. Lawrence then went missing, presumably died, not far from here, just down the river, and the circus took to seeking out his body, or his ghost, or some combination of the two; no one seemed to know for certain, and even up to his end-moment Seth never quite figured it out, as Harry wouldn't discuss his brother with anyone, for any reason. Seth knew he could not yet see his friend Josef, as the last time he saw him there was an incident, a nightmare of people with yellow signs who made Seth to fall away from the world, into a place far away, where no sound called from the mouths of those who loved him could reach. It was a sad time, and we are not to discuss the sad times here. This was a happy day. Seth was to visit Carolyn tomorrow. Carolyn still had her baby, at this time. For a few more days. It was a happy time.

Cross street. Do not burst into tears. Do not think about killing yourself. Check the light. Make sure shoelaces are still tied. Do not fall onto the ground and curl up. Do not make extended eye contact with people crossing towards you. Do not look abruptly away from people crossing towards you. Do not swing your arms so much. Do not be afraid. Remember to step up over the curb. Do not forget where you are.

Seth and his grandmother had an ongoing joke about the rest home where she was staying. Seth's grandmother was nearing her nineties at this time, and called the place where she lived Methusela's Empire. Seth would talk about visiting his grandmother to his friends, who were convinced this was the actual name of the hospital. Seth's grandmother couldn't remember the actual name. Seth couldn't remember, either. This is something Seth and his grandmother had in common, along with a bone-deep fear of anyone else learning they were forgetful, as their cognition was on a sort of unspoken trial. In this sense, Seth knows a little (not much, but a little) about what it means to be old in North America. Certainly more than I've ever known, but all the Creator knows about is the Creator. This is why the Creator is so far from everyone. But this is Seth's story; I am rambling.

Seth's grandmother is named Claire, and she used to collect rain in glasses she'd keep around her bed in order to catch stray dreams; she'd sip at the glasses the next day in order to remember them. To sum her life to this is repulsive and shameful, but that is what I have done, and is all I will do.

Breathe with your nose and not your mouth. Do not beg strangers for forgiveness. Bring up your arm to open the door. Push against the horozontal bar midway up the glass door; do not push the glass. Walk through the open door. Do not walk into anyone. Do not become caught in a behavorial loop with your analysis. Do not let in the white silence, as the while silence is death, and is everywhere in this place. Keep walking. Do not stop.

After Seth left the Empire, he got a bowl of lentil soup and a croissant at Eat, which was not far down the street. He also had two cups of coffee. The soup was very good. The emptiness was going away. It was late in the day. He had been walking a long time. Maybe he should head home and clean, as he hadn't cleaned since being on the ward. There was a lot of dusting to do, which was very satisfying as a duty. He left a five dollar tip with the waitress and did not cry.

Tomorrow, he thought, he'd go see Carolyn. But that is not a day I will talk about. Not with you.

1 comment:

Ruela said...

fantastic stuff!