by Rachel Dillon
(Perth, WA, Australia)
Clutter all around. Papers piled high. Stacks on stacks. Books, even those in the bookcase, tumbling, leaning and relying on each other for support.
Tightly bound and protectively hiding their crumpled, tissue-thin, faded, moth eaten pages from the light, from judgement. Deep in the yellowy pages, the story, long forgotten, the author, long gone from consciousness. Years, decades have passed since an eye was cast over those words. The words he'd poured over. Carefully picked each one. Fearful of exposing too much then. And still. But he wrote.
At night, his mind, his head on his pillow, his body at rest, heart slowing, toward a kind of slumber, but his mind still going.
What would tomorrow bring? Would there be words? Enough words? The right words? Would he be let down? Would the clutter overwhelm him? Would he drown in the darkness? The musty tarnish of the walls where he confined himself, year after year, while others played and laughed joyously, just outside his window.
Below on the lawn, the sun shone relentlessly, but never into his room, never onto his page. His stories were wracked with solemn going nowhere-ness. He struggled with the pen now. Years of clenching had rendered his hand weak. He feared his mind had silently followed. His once hallowed scripts were distant, vague. Somewhere?
The phone was silent. His eyes stung with the isolation, the self made cell.
His clutter had become his only companion really. He refused to believe life was as simple as some seemed to be suggesting. But how could he comment. He was out of circulation now. His palms were clammy. The pen slipped again. His legs were numb, like always. His hair felt thin. He reached for a cap. He glimpsed colour and movement from beyond the window. He turned away.
A quiet knock. Four pm. Tea. Would burn his dry mouth. Always did. He never learned. Or he allowed it. Not sure. He was shocked. Dismayed. His face felt frozen. How long since it had smiled. What did that even feel like?
He could hear the laughter, the children screamed joyously.