The most superlative pleasures in life come in a collection of minutiae, the threads and bindings you never look at but which your fingers are intimate with every day. It infects your spirit the way a sneaky burst of color wakes your retina from a coma you didn’t even know you were laid out with. It’s all in the book. The book you’ve been touching since you were too young to speak. The book that told you what kind of fiction you represented.
We are never finished. You are never finished. I am never finished.
The bright pictures of the present tell more than I can hear right now. There is future crushing. There is future keening into the dark. I can hear it now above the clamour.
Last night I sat in the pub in the loudest roar of voices and melted into wood and book and verse and word and I was everyone all at once and no one at all. Invisible. Omnipresent and invisible simultaneously. The roar of raucous voices was the same as it is in Scotland, in France, in Israel. The roar eats you whole and spits you out if you don’t self determine. I listen. I listen. I listen.
The pleasures of spine and page sustain me two beers into an alien evening. I see above the page man’s unreasonably dark wiry curled long hair in a fall against bald crown, I see unruly beards jutting out of woolen caps, women spilling voice across the glossy wood tables almost faster than their breasts heave. I am invisible. I enjoy that no one sees me because I have grown used to it. I enjoy listening to the voices coming forward like ocean swells. Glasses glint against the odd catch of light. People come for all reasons. All of them unaware that I listen. My town uncurls itself on Friday night in the same cadence as the tropical rain of a strange winter night.
I spent my night in an octogenarian dream of theatre and community. A beautiful night of local entertainment and remembered roots. Remembered the beautiful older people. I sat next to a gorgeous couple come to see the stars, the acting, the dimming lights, the stage chalk and the live-wire energy of entertainment that breathes just ten feet from your slack hands.
Mr. and Mrs. Stemple’s spirits resurrected.
I am recluse. I am the fears you won’t admit. I reflect the universe with nearsighted glasses. I will share. I will give you my program, though it will tell you nothing of what’s coming. I sit in the audience, the straight man in every farse, the one you swear will burst into angry flames. That’s because the humour is in my bones, too deep to see at times. I came out in absolute condemnation of exploration and unfamiliar art.
I was most enchanted. The intimate charm of my diminutive local theatre wholly disarmed me. The silver hair, the honest enjoyment, the genuine appreciation humbled me. I would die in all of their places. The adorable couple next to me, at least 90 years old, I would have laid down to let them take my place. I can’t help it. The empathy always goes too far. The stranger love is force I can’t control. They belong to the books I’ve grown up in. They belong to fox trots and F. Scott Fitzgerald. They actually read the programs to see what’s coming.
When I sit back in the shadows, just outside the lights, there is such a flood of love. The light shrinks my conscience. The shadows, the recesses build affections and loyalties otherwise blinded by sun. I live in shadow because the sun burns.
I ache that they can never know what’s coming while I hope, simultaneously, to become them.
Pleasures are minute. They come in single notes, in rays of sunshine to those who thrive on light, in single notes as well as curated collections of them we call songs to those who live on music, and if hunger can be quantified it would taste like air.
There is nothing that can’t be redeemed or destroyed in the details.