Obstructing Vision

Alone, I became more attentive to my environment. The walls and floor of my room were not perpendicular. Two adjacent bookshelves did not sit level to one another. The window frames were skewed and painted over many times. I had to push the frame up one side at a time, back and forth, little by little. I often left the window open, sticking my head outside to inhale weightless air into hot lungs. There was nowhere beyond the sky’s reach. All was a gray fold, a convoluted blackness behind my eyelids, obstructing vision. My thoughts were dense in that cold season. I sat to write, then drifted from the familiarity of what had been written before. Every moment seemed to be a short black mark on a white page. Everything was first dark and dense, then quickly faded into a gray blur. Then nothing. A definite end to an unexpected start. When I did not have to, I did not bother to dress or to do anything at all. The window remained open. I sat at the desk, returning again to what was written last. The days moved in silence, full of menacing thoughts. I did not know where my thoughts came from, so they seemed menacing. An unwashed china cup sat by the sink in the kitchen. Every morning I filled it with black coffee, sat at the table by the window and looked out at the trees. Every day the trees fascinated me. My relative position to the tree closest to me was about halfway up the trunk, just about where the branches began to diverge from the main. Through the density of branches and leaves I watched fragments of green and blue and gray. The sky was a shattered bowl seen through the trees. When I finished my coffee I left the kitchen, but the feelings those images generated in me remained. A letter arrived for me from Caro. She enclosed a photo, writing, “I do not want you to try to imagine what I look like.”


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