Instead of watching each of us took a turn trying to influence the vibrating string. it hung suspended in the air for as far as we could see, and though we know that somewhere its two ends were fixed to something larger, this took an act of faith.
I for one had decided to give up materialism in exchange for something with a little more pizzazz.
So Charlie went first:
buildings on fire trees on fire and oh my god I don't have enough air we're like fishes down here and the sea is gone she is gone. there are her legs wrapped around me as she pushes her feet into my soles. now and then there are earthquakes, vast swathes of land reorganized by another organizing force other than oh my god oh my heart its shaking everybody run to the basement everybody stand in a doorway tape up the windows don't let the glass shatter and cut you in the eyes--
The string drones on, a low D with the faintest overtone: a minor third.
(Not impressed, really; but I understand Charlie even though it is hard to hear what he is trying to say. Since I gave up materialism, it should be easier to prove I feel alone, to identify -- but I threw out empiricism, too!)
"Let me give it a shot," Laura whispers. She slides under the string and lies down, looking very peaceful. "I am going to focus my intentions."
I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.I really really want it.
No change. It remains at 73.4 cycles per second, deep and indifferent. I tenderly rub Laura's shoulders as she sits up and wipes the tears away.
(I know, I know, she read it in a book. I have read enough to know how wonderful the ideas are, how hard to hold onto as the days' cargo gets hijacked by the stars, strange dreams. Still, she is beautiful, and I will not let go of love, though it is true I am very bored with all frames full of harmony and balance and radiance...)
I am four years old. My room fills with blue light and I try to sit up and see but can't move. There are pentagrams under my bed I carved with a dried-out pen to keep me safe. I am a precocious child. Maybe that is why they come for me -- not through the window, like I always feared, but straight on through the walls, hands extended in front of them. Weird hands. Skinny hands. Ugly bony narrow hands. I am seeing their hands from all four corners of my vision and now they are on my and my neck and something shots through my body like electricity and I can tell they are going to take me when something goes wrong. I leap up, the spell is broken, and grab one by the big head and say my Mommy's going to be real mad at you! and push him down. But he just sinks through the floor. Another touches the place between my eyes on my forehead and suddenly my gut drops and my heart freezes up. I see people fighting for water and satellites on fire like stars. I see my parents grow apart and then together and then wither and get taken by wind into the sky. I see a man shaking a weird hand. When I come to I am alone making sounds like insect noises when I mean to say We are in the world to love the world We are in the world to love the world and my pants are on, backwards.
The string develops new nodes as an augmented fifth is born. We applaud, carefully.
run run run back to where you came from and let the sun hold your face until you feel that this moment is deep, and wide. where did you come from? garden warm spring eternity of pre-time no clothes and the things of the world where there for you to name. you made of red clay red dirt and every night Dad walks the garden you hear his footsteps and that's when you knew you were in trouble. because the knowledge of good and evil was bitter but good for your teeth. Now you have filed your fangs in the name of getting along and learned to take affection as love and show a little skin now and then, it won't kill you. run run back and there is a river that is not a river which will find you when you are ready to receive it. No use in taking swimming lessons now it's sink or win back what was a missing -- there is a hole in the universe and time keeps rushing into fill it. Don't get caught up in that tide beware the undertoad the elves that live on the other side of life and their friends the mud-children. They will fight for the watermelon forever while your heart over-heats with all the wordless questions mouthed by sad faces and the scientific knowledge that some things which go are Gone. You participate by watching. There is no neutral place to stand.
Mike, Laura and Charlie look at me. I lean back, hearing violins, but there is no way to be sure what they're hearing, or anyone else for that matter.