The blinds were still up, letting the dark in. This was deliberate. I lay there, watching the blue flame lick the kettle in the next room, humming, singing, sometimes shifting to favour the other ear. The stereo was telling me repeatedly to Hold it. Being so enticingly put together, I would have done just that, had I anything to hold. (Initially, I thought the insistent, harmonised command signalled a halt of sorts; only later did I discover it was a determined plea.) Gathering my thoughts into a neat, alphabetised pile, I said (to myself), Here I am, in the bounds of Experience; and though it is mine alone [still in quotes, mind you], it shall soon be the newest addition to that great communal work, What We Know (vol. MMMMCMXCIX or something). Altered, of course [still quoting...]; not merely a retelling, or this-then-this account; a bold new shape, almost irrecognisable, but unmistakably borne from Experience. [End quote.] I paused, suddenly becoming self-conscious. Did I just say that? Did I just say that out loud? The kettle bubbled. I walked over to it in something of a daze, recalling my strange outburst like a drunk recalls some hideous deed. Irrecognisable?
So no one told you that was gonna be this way... [clap, clap, clap, clap]. I frowned, my timing just right. How depressing. The blinds were still up but the effort was beyond me. I fidgeted, like a suspect. Next week's assignment is to have dinner together e-every night and see what changes in your life. I left the room to inspect my bookcase. Standing a half-metre back, not feeling the floor, I watched as titles and authors raced by, sometimes splashing me with recognition, sometimes hurling a crunched can of the altogether unfamiliar. They were eating all 52 of my bookmarks. Suddenly feeling ill, I woozed my way outside, wading through small, hyperactive dogs until I reached an aged bench in the middle of the garden. I half fell onto it, recovering only with some effort. The stars were out, of course. I couldn't resist a peek. As usual, they had nothing important to tell me, but they sure looked pretty. One even seemed to wink at me. I winked back, just in case. Feeling unaccountably motivated, I pulled my weakening body up again and pushed further outside, towards a park. I was careless; the littler dog followed me. Fearing an escape, I swiftly whisked her off her little paws and brought her to my chest. In the soft moonlight we had a moment, and I think it answered my question. She wriggled out of my hands and scurried off (back to the garden, thankfully). I laughed cornily and followed her, a little more grounded. Oo oo oo oo-oo oo oo-oo oo, said the television. Falling back on the couch, I suddenly wished I was drunk.
I slept instead.
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