17 December 2011

Her mind is made up

Nods ∞ 

Part II 

Once again, her body became a vessel for objects, a curious condition she had not been afflicted by for years. During her adolescence, and those ambivalent hours of dawn, she would often steal away and climb on top of the hill overlooking the valley (maybe as a minor token of rebellion or an effort to domesticate a growing array of confused sensations arising and consolidating in her chest, which made her mouth water and a faint smell of dried flower buds swell up in the back of her nose). Her body motionless, hands limping alongside her torso, yet her eyes wakeful; observing as the morning fog would rise and billow in quiet translucent waves seemingly out of nowhere. It traveled in a hunched mass across the landscape until it had folded itself into every crevice leaving nothing untouched by its obfuscating presence. As always, the sun rose in conjunction, at which the fog would bulge upwards to greet it, all the while glowing from the inside in bright red phosphorescence, like a giant deep sea creature that had washed ashore and wriggled its vaporous tentacles in elation at the introduction to a new world. However, she did not habitually return to the high cusp of the hill because she found the spectacle aesthetically pleasing. She was rather lured by arcane thoughts on the vacillating being of the fog, its strangely wavering structure, which seemed to straddle two worlds, or none whatsoever. It was not of the earth, and not of the air, but marked the condensation of the two, without properly being either: a nexus of effusion, metamorphosis, obliteration, all at once. She contemplated this as a pastel sheet made its way up the hill and wrapped itself around her ankles, diffusing her feet, which made it appear as if the two had merged. This would replace her earlier ruminations with something entirely else. Filled with a brief sense of weightlessness, only to be suddenly gripped a moment later by an urge of being pulled down into the valley and swallowed by that inordinate body. Of course, this scenario never presented itself. Instead, she would nod in resignation and languish, drooping over the hovering surface, until the fog had evaporated and she finally found the courage to retreat back home. But this time, the last time she ever returned to the hill, the fog did not dissolve, but congealed, encircled her body and then entered through every pore of her being. A river of objects followed suit, amassing like a wave on the horizon and sweeping in roars across her visual field, then uncontrollably pouring into her, each thing evoking a distinct sensation upon entry. The world was attached to the fog as to an unyielding string, drawing every object, every phenomenon in its wake, even her precious woods, through which she usually found her way home, came tumbling toward her, tree for tree. Until alone, amidst omnipresent quietude, and before her, a plateau of barren and shapeless space.
Now that these spells had returned to plague her, they never presented themselves in the same manner as they did the first time, never the same enveloping placidity. Each time, it brought with it as much distress as it did satisfaction, though once contained, a richer quantity of the latter. To avoid this, and to properly delimit the boundaries of her being, she developed a method or tactic of sorts. A habit of nodding timidly toward strangers, mostly men wearing the pattern of clothing that seemed to trace a fortifying outline somewhere deep within her, an almost tangible cord. When night had fallen, she hid under its covers, and placed herself at the precise center of the town square, a point in space she had gone to considerable amount of trouble calculating the coordinates of. Moving her head with the same integrity as a factory worker maneuvers his limbs in concert to the machine invented to act as his servant. At first, she stretched her hand upwards and blithely ran her finger across a prefigured segment of the darkened sky in arbitrary undulations rather than straight lines. Erratic, though circumspect, strokes of a blinded calligrapher conjuring an orchestra of bizarre figures from sand. Pulling back at times, as if to start anew, her pace then quickened and steadily the glittering sketches grew increasingly rigorous and systemic, the elegance of which would have made a geometer weep. A flurry of stars gravitated toward her celestial engravings and mirrored the procession of her movements with scrupulous mathematical precision, until they broke loose from the faintly shimmering wall, piece by piece, and finally trickled down to the square, replicating the prior markings by rotating and bending in the exact same patterns. Hoping to produce the desired constellation, the neutralizing alignment of unattached fulfillment, but only if someone chanced to reciprocate her nods at the exact same moment. On most occasions she only succeeded in awakening the attention of loners, drunkards or misfits, and an ancient vagabond routinely gave her majestic bows before disappearing into the crowd. Once, she felt as if the universe had shifted its center to mirror precisely where she bent her body: after a graceful exchange of nods, an unusually pleasing person drifted hesitatingly toward her, and said, “I apologize for my lack of creativity, but have we met before?”
“We have not.”
“Are you sure, may I ask your name?”
“Fuck off please, I’m quite engaged in something.”
“I see.”
She resumed her nodding, as if nothing had happened, as if the entire doleful trajectory had not exhausted itself, and finally reemerged in another orbit.