“In The Close”

In the monsoon darkness, the ledges of the upper story swarmed with rain. The ledges, a black jetty: swarming, liquid, tensile, dark. We sat in the close. In the soft glimmer, the smooth wood. The light-behind-paper. “What is inside.”

We, all gathered at the bottom of the stairs, with the pale-eyed spirits. We, at the edge of the edge, where the words lapse until there are none and everything is perfect. Like this. Like nothing. Like the click of a well-made box. Like symmetry.

It was as if it’d all been arranged this way one second ahead of time. My hand on my lap, just so; in time, reaching for a glass on the bar; now, tilting to move a small item, unnecessarily, just to have something to do.

And it was the stillness that really made it a place. That of many things made it one thing. That to us, this could be the stillness of Everything: the exact center. That every loose thread could be raveled back here, to this softly lit place, where we sat, where no one spoke, and everyone knew every trouble.

That this was the place where we all knew.

(The diegetic music playing in this scene plays from a teakwood, fin de siècle phonograph.)