I get caught up in things and get carried away from myself. Words sometimes carry me back. Here’s a quick piece I wrote while listening to PJ Harvey and wondering where I put that inspired feeling I used to carry around inside.
The words had come easier a few days ago. First, a flood. A bone-shearing torrent of nouns and verbs, ideas and insights wrapped in language. A few days before, there had been no qualms about saying what needed saying. No second guessing over the way things sounded or the internal logic of his writing. And then mounds of crushed cigarettes burned down to the quick, sheaves of paper bruised with the daisy wheel hammer tap. It was a simple thing, laying out the words in row after row of letters which is only actually ink pressed onto the page.
And now, too many cigarettes. Too many empty soda cans. And the scrutiny of the page.
Where had she gone? Brian looked up from the wreck of his writing desk. Where had she gone and when? He felt sick with hunger and aching from lack of sleep. Had it been days already? Had she been gone days?
The light on his voicemail was blinking steady. Five unanswered messages. Had she called? Had he somehow missed her call?
“Dania.” He tried to call her name. His voice was a strange, pathetic thing trapped in the drainpipe of his throat. Her name hung in the air, unanswered. He stood from his chair and nearly fell. His legs were numb from disuse. He staggered to the bed, then the dresser, then the door.
“Dania.” An edge of real fear in his voice.
Gone. Gone. Gone.
There was nothing to do. He shuffled to the bedside phone and pressed play. A message from his mother. Two from the library collection agent. Another from a cruise line offering a fantastic experience of a lifetime if he would just press two. The fifth was her breathing – calm, quiet, steady. Sniffling the way she did sometimes when she was feeling ignored. Thirty seconds of silence. Quiet, reserved breathing in the space. Thirty seconds of silence that opened up and swallowed hims. Thirty seconds of silence which he fell into and drowned. Thirty seconds of silence that suddenly encapsulated the entire span of his life.
And then, “I’m gone. Don’t find me.” That was all she said. Don’t find me.
The message ended and he was more alone than he had ever been.
The words had come easier when she was with him and now she was gone and he was lost, lost, lost.
Don’t find me, she had said. Brian did the only thing he could possibly do. He put on his shoes and went out into the world to find her.