Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beginning with a beach and a man, other things emerge until finally, after a brief period, everything recedes.

A man appears on a beach. He is troubled by this arrival. He had not known that he was going to arrive at a beach. He had anticipated arriving at an entirely different place. An apartment, for instance. But instead he has arrived on a beach.

He looks about himself, surprised, probably, or at least feeling some sort of feeling, melancholy, perhaps, or glee or spite or total indifference; in any case, he looks about himself and something about this, about the way he looks about, some grimace or twitch or squint of his eye, betrays, it seems, some emotion, though which one, as has been stated, is not entirely clear.

A man on a beach. He is standing there, medium height, brown hair, etc., and there are waves crashing, gulls swooning, clouds drifting, people mulling, etc., and inside of the mind of this man there are thoughts going, thoughts stopping, thoughts emerging and receding and etc etc, and all of these things are happening, and all of these things are happening on a beach, and the beach hadn’t been anticipated, by whom? by the man, and on and on and on.

A man is standing on the beach. He is not tall. Why would he be? A man on a beach is not necessarily a tall man, nor, for that matter, need he necessarily be a short man. He is just a man on a beach, standing. And something happens to him when he is standing. A woman approaches him, say, or a dog. We will go with the former. A woman approaches the man who is standing on the beach.

“Hello,” the woman says.

The man looks at her. He did not anticipate having to talk to a woman. This troubles him, probably, or perhaps it delights him. In any case, he responds:


“I was wondering,” she begins, but then cannot go any further for she had not in fact been wondering anything at all. “Never mind,” she says after a time.

The man nods his head. “I wonder…” he begins. Then, finally, “…too.”

The woman smiles. She likes the man – the way that he looks, his clothes, his hair, his teeth (though she hasn’t seen them, his teeth, but she assumes that were she to see them, were she to inspect them one by one, she’d probably, in all likelihood, like them). She tries to think of something to say. “Where were you before?” she asks.

The man looks at her but does not smile. She is pretty, he thinks, and then he turns his eyes
away. “I think I’d rather not say.”

“No,” she says, “I wouldn’t either.”

Then suddenly he decides that he would rather say. “I was not here.”

“Why not?” she asks.

But he doesn’t know.

Growing tired of trying to sustain a conversation, they invite another person to join them, a child, but the child refuses. Then they look at each other.

“What would you like to talk about?” one of them asks. But the other has no suggestions. “Should we part?” one asks. And the other readily concludes that yes, they should part. So these two, this man and this woman, part from each other having said nothing, or in any case not much worth noting, for neither is capable of thinking of a single thing that they might, were they to stand about and try, be able to talk about with the other. And that is how I feel sometimes with you, like I have absolutely nothing at all to talk about.

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