It is a simmering summer in a sweltering land. I sit, somewhere between the fire and the horizon. There is no sound but the rustle of the page.
Deep breaths. I am in the pages. The pages are in me. Drink them in. Names. Faces. Places. They wash over me and I am no longer I.
Nature breathes with me. Wind scatters pages as ashes on the pyre.
There should be anger. Deep breaths. No rage. Deep breaths. Hands once trembling, still.
Child eyes turn from the pages to the sea, the endless blocks of home on home, houses and fences and little green seas that sway in the wind, wood and bricks and the nothing of them all the little flags on the ships proclaiming to the sky: I will defy.
It is a moment of sight. Homes break, reconstitute into something more. Still no sound. I do not hold the breaths, though such fleeting time seems to earn it. The stillness. I notice it for the first time.
Yet still the wind—the caress. Rough pages, frayed by love spill against the flesh and there is a tingle of excitement.
Tiny thing, the voices say. Tiny thing in a big wild world you are alone and there is no one and nothing and this is all there is and all there will ever be. Words. Only words. There is a base between the covers, a trench beneath bare feet and sun lit dreams.
Mother may I, mother may I—where wanders fickle minds?
The child is alone, he knows, but there is no care. The stillness is in all things, the knowing and the drifting and the being all as much a part of the sound as the silence. Little boxes on the hillside—everyone’s all boxed up and the colors change and the words change but the fact doesn’t change. We don’t see. Somewhere between the ships the buoy fences blinded to the perfection of the rowing, the howl.
I will struggle, the boy says, mind drifting to the distant figures, roaring through the lands both dark and unforgiving. There are shapes. I feel them around me as the shadows of the clouds, the faces framed against the dimness of the light. They will move on. Yet they will never go.
The pen stretches long into the darkness between the posts. Waves crash against it and are consumed. Thirsting men surrender to the inky drink. Lead me away. Away, away. Passing black and white—the world, framed, in the brightness of the mind.
Do, the owl chirps. Do, do, do.
Whoever said life is in the reading?
The tremble in the hand. It is there, always lingering. The horror and the beauty of the frame. The mind stretches further than the body can match. Do, do, do. Philosophers laugh in empty graves. Think, is the reply. Look. Breathe.
I am not breathing.
Escape. Flee. You see, you see the world and how can you ever go back I think and I am—blinking. No more wind. The moment slithers and slips away to the crinkle of the page.
It is the first moment truly seen.
Summer comes but once. It never leaves. The rest—passing strange on the road toward that stillness. One will learn to breathe again.