The Unburning Rug

What was the journey? You couldn’t grasp it when you wanted to, and you believed you could, and that’s what I liked about you. I think you knew all this too. One day you woke up to more bad news and what was hope then? The journey seemed close to an end but you thanked shortsightedness and looked at things differently. The journey was never fucking over, through wind and rain, over mountains, over molehills, through love and hate, pain, suffering, and happiness. You knew it to be a good thing that the journey wouldn’t end. So you would continue to wake up, realizing one day that yelling for your dog to stop barking was a paradox. Then the next day would come and you’d distinguish a new found silence as a sort of repose, not a passive response. Your ways were progressive and free from abstraction. I couldn’t know you for long periods of time, even if I tried, that’s why someone once called you ‘calmness’ and you told them, almost as a favor, about how much easier it is to be quiet. I hope that you meet the ones who need you in this world. If you do maybe we won’t have to talk about all the bad things happening in our lives and the lives of others. You know this planet well. Who are you though?

You lived in a small and dank room in almost every house you ever visited. An unwelcome guest would be welcomed by you, and ironically you were also unwelcomed. How could this be? Integral and present in a frenzy you rarely left. In other places though you left for days on end, like when a young couple moved in together, you’d give them space then finally come back when they experienced a difference. At times you seemed to be right there with them, but one of them wouldn’t see you so they’d act like you weren’t there for a little longer. The world never opened up for you either, and this is what made you you. You heard stories all the time of who you hated the most — happiness — and felt suffocated. Sometimes your hosts would forget you for years, especially if they were older, or extremely young. You spat in the face of innocence with glee but didn’t know thats what you were doing. Reluctance preceeds you. Or you get the job done. I do not know whether or not you are evil.

A pigeon sized porthole shaping your passing, as you look for leaks which you long to leave your sight on, while succumbing to the throbbing silence. And your cold around the ankles, in this hull below as the deck creaks, as above a sail stretches towards harbor, land ho!

I ask myself why sometimes, do I really feel blind? And if you can’t roll with me as the tide cycles in salt and cleans, did it happen at all, or was it just you? So when wind rusts eyes things seem clearer, but could I expect a truce?

After crossing the bridge over into Pembrook we went through Ward 3 to drop off Fern. Ryan asked if I could pull over into Poppa’s liquor store first, which I promptly did. I was about to ask him to get me a forty oz. so that I would have something to drink if friends called. Before I could make up my mind I looked up at a girl coming out of the hospice shop, or thrift store, that shared the building with Poppa’s. She had black hair and long legs, a small face and confidently curious looking eyes. Her style was impeccable, and I met her gaze as she first walked out, then looked at Ryan gathering his money and wallet in the passenger seat, then met her gaze again when I looked back. When she had walked past my car I turned around for another look. God, she was perfect. Ryan had gotten out of the car and I realized then it was too late to ask for some beer. I sat there letting whatever Fern might’ve been saying pass around me. When Ryan got back in he had one small paper bag big enough for a 750mL thing of hard alcohol. When Fern asked him what he had he hesitated and uh, he got a Mike’s harder and a couple of fireball nips. I knew he was lying. He was drinking a bottle to his face. As he put his seatbelt on and I turned on the car he commented on the girl who had walked out. She was fine, huh? She was so fucking fine dude. And then I backed out and drove away.

Pacer Stacktrain, better known as Pace, bought his girlfriend an oriental rug for their one year anniversary. A sweet, half unaware idea. What he thought was a present seemed more akin to a gesture. His girlfriend, Lia Eagle, told him she really liked it but was quite confused — why a rug? In response, looking for some sort of true answer, he told her he wasn’t quite sure why a rug seemed like a good present. He told her necklaces were too small and too expensive to risk losing, same with rings, or earrings, to which she agreed. He told her a genuinely heart-felt and love-spun poem was out of the question, to which she disagreed, lying through her teeth. Together for a year, and having known eachother for two, Lia hadn’t known Pace wrote poems, or could write them. She didn’t know why she told him he should have written a poem. Lia knew when their love for each other had faded sometime in the future she’d look at the poem with either pity for him or pity for herself, depending on who broke who. Pace told her that he had chosen a rug because it was big, beautiful, and would fit nicely in her apartment, even when they were to split ways, whenever that may be. Why had he mentioned when they would split ways, and not the “if” as well? Withholding the “if” was a sad thing to do, not to mention staunchly honest. They both thought about this as they unrolled the mostly blue and maroon rug, with hamsa like hands in the corners, bordered by different mandala type patterns, and a breadth of blue and red diamonds spooling out of the center. They both knew that she would have this rug forever.

One day, way down the line, Lia burned the rug in the meadows outside of Pembrook. She had gone almost all the way to where the meadows meet the buffer zone of trees on the banks of the Dinisett River. The meadows weren’t actually meadows, but cropland mostly used for corn. he thought that Lia had burned the rug because she no longer wanted his memory incessantly underfoot. Pace had heard in the first place from one of Lia’s friends that she burned it because it smelt bad, but he didn’t believe this. If it had smelt bad, why didn’t she get a rug cleaning company to take care of it? Such a sorry excuse, he thought. What Pace didn’t know was that Lia’s friend had completely downplayed the whole situation.

About a month after Pacer and Lia had broken up one of her aunts had gone over to her apartment and said something about the smell. With a grimace her aunt told her it smelled of onions and beer. Funny, Lia told her aunt, I’m only now just smelling it. Where’d you get it? Her aunt asked. A yard sale, Lia responded, blankly staring at the rug. They spent the rest of their time out on Lia’s little balcony overlooking the parking lot that seperated her building from the backs of all the buildings on main street. It smelt only vaguely better out there. And for the life of her she couldn’t figure out why her aunt had visited her. She wanted to believe that she brought the onion and beer smell. Lia knew that there was no way she had just grown accustomed to the smell. Then when her aunt had left, she went back inside and got down on her hands and knees to smell the rug. Seems it did smell, but not like beer and onions but rot and moth balls. The smell reminded Lia of her family’s summer cabin in the Berkshires. The smell of moth balls always wafted out of the cabin when they would open it up after the winter months. How could I be smelling something so different than my aunt? She wondered. She went to bed a bit later, reading My Struggle, a book by some Norwegian man. Apparently it was the second book out of six, but she didn’t know there were others. She found it utterly despicable that a man could be so indiscreet, and so full of self-loathing. It depressed her, and she told everyone who asked her about it that, in truth, it was amazing, yet they would never assume it was so amazing to the extent that it depressed her. Things affected Lia in an unusual way.

Pace always loved going to the Flea Market on the other side of the river in South Radley. It was full of people who surrounded themselves with junk, to make their lives less junky. He posted a picture on instagram of a cheap bronze cast of a little Eyptian Pharaoh. His caption read: I bought this at the Flea Market this morning. I got in my car and decided to enjoy my morning amongst people who sell junk to make their lives less junky. They deserve more respect than they get. As the world gets shittier more and more people will start to need respect, love, help, and all things that lead to happiness. This little piece of junk will bring me happiness. It already has actually.

At this very same Flea Market is where Pacer bought Lia the oriental rug. He was high when he saw it, and a bit hungover.

Fat man sells the carpet from the truck bed, Pacer is oblivious and it actually smells, tune back into what has already been described, and now we’re at the burning of the rug

I turn my head and see a field slowly rising to a forest that a few deer are walking towards. Just a dream.

The girl at the counter who served me had beautiful long black hair. She wasn’t overwhelmingly beautiful, but her long black hair, her red horn-rimmed glasses, her small yet full face, all combined to make her perfect the way she was. If a person were to look at her they wouldn’t know what to change. Apart from her face she had an amazingly lean body, and she wore all maroon blundstones. Of course she wasn’t the most beautiful woman in the world but to me she was the most I could ever expect. Maybe that’s why I had such a hard time feeling confident in front of her. I had bought the beer without a problem, and our interaction was smooth. But when I went back up to buy a shirt, the interaction was incredibly awkward. I don’t even want to talk about it, yet I’ll never see her again, so whats stopping me?

What does the seagull have to worry about, with so much beach and so much ocean? They bridge our world so well. Maybe not in the way you might think. Yet when you walk where the waves lap up, you begin to feel like you’re on the edge of the world. And then the seagull sounds it’s call, as you state how nice it is to have the waves brush over your feet. Perhaps from a seagulls view barnacles cut diamonds, if we were the diamonds. Nevertheless as sure as its call might sound, it still doesn’t know if the diamonds will provide for them. Each life is a blood diamond, but if you stack barnacled rock on top of barnacled rock you’d understand how all things that cut, break and crumble.

So basically we are one of the few planets that experiences love so intensely, and other beings watch us for that very reason.

Love is the only thing that could save me. The giving and receiving of it. The horizontal vortex in between us.

This world inside me, laying my fingers over it like its a projection of some world we live in.

I’m flowing through all of what seems to be happening. Why should I feel guilt, its all so useless. Were these things always meant to happen? Its worth asking. And theres nothing like a blank page. If I believe that then my dreams will push me through all of this, and this matters. Of course it matters. I’m putting parts of my soul into so many different outlets, thinking that what I am accomplishing has merit. Believing is believing, almost like thoughts are just thoughts. We walk around like blind phenomenons, or phantoms of who we desire to be. And is that a regular desire? I mean, from the moment we are born we desire, helpless until we begin to grow, learn, and breathe like contented souls.You are doing fine Pace.

And what are you saying? I can’t cheat your word. I can’t be a justified idiot in the face of all this. It looks dim here, and my hangover is turning this morning into a throbbing darkness. I respect the sounds that come to me, I drink in the images that fall before me, like the dark green of the base of a forested hill. Below us is a world that operates on a different plane. The trickster coyote.

The weatherman wakes up alone and looks out his window. Just like he has for the past year. He wipes the sweat from his dream off his bald head, and sniffs his armpit. Outside the window he sees rain sloshing down the driveway of his modest suburban house. The grass in his front yard still has large swaths of yellowed grass and he feels like people will be glad that it actually ended up raining. He hops into the shower a few minutes later and massages his scalp with Dr. Bronner’s soap, then he washes his body, gets the water a little hotter, and lets it all run down the drain. The soap seems more frothy around the drain than normal, perhaps its clogged? But how? After getting out of the shower and having wrapped his towel around his waist he looks at the drain. He stoops and peers a little closer. Is that hair? Is that what the soap was held up on? It is hair, long black hair. A good amount too. He stands up completely stunned. He wipes away the steam in the mirror. With a confused look on his face he raises up the hair. He drapes it over his bald scalp and gives his reflection an odd smile, we don’t really know what he’s thinking but theres something disturbing about the situation. He hasn’t had someone stay at his house for months. Why is he smiling? For the next week the weatherman will pull out hair from the shower drain, his interest never grows or lessons — as if he knows the reason behnd the whole deal — and it will always be long black hair. Then it will stop, and the Dr. Bronner’s soap will wash down the drain nice and smoothly. Above us is a world that operates on a different plane.

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