Friday, July 19, 2013

All Stories Are Bottomless

They're all stories, but I just see a page, a paragraph, a single sentence. I guess that's how it is.

No, not the books, it's all these people here, the patrons, the library visitors. Some of these people I see a majority of the days I work, going for months, and years, and even getting on towards actual decades now. Some I see for a mere day, maybe once, ever, or maybe many times over the course of that one day. But whether by grand singular event or by deep pattern, many times a day i feel like I am peering suddenly into a single sentence, or maybe a paragraph of some huge novel. There's no way I ever get the whole story, that's never even possible, but so often I am getting telling random pieces, the start of a story somewhere, the middle, a suggestive hint, an atmospheric aside, a question, a stray ending. Sometimes I get a few more bits of the story, by luck or chance or confession along the way, but mostly I don't, and, anyway, extra bits are just a couple more tiny puzzle pieces in the scheme of some great mosaic, they might piece together, but show little of the great mural. There's always more. All stories are bottomless.

"Examples?" You say.

Examples, I say. Today.

Why does the man, who always sits there in the magazine section, staring at me (I think it's my paranoia and he's just very nearsighted), or peering with ferocious effort at a newspaper held bare inches from his eyes, why is a huge portion of his face and all his forehead suddenly covered in a lurid, magnificent rash? 

That eleven or twelve year old boy with the impeccable manners and poise that I always find ever so slightly heartbreaking in a child is in company with a very quiet seven or eight year old boy and is clearly taking care of him. I keep seeing the two of them. I saw them when they came up to the front desk five hours ago, I saw them three hours ago and an hour ago and they are still here, just the two of them, moving around the library, peacefully, quietly, steadfastly. No parents? Parked for the day. They look so different from each other. Are they even related? 

What about that woman, maybe in her thirties? Japanese? She is over in that area of the computers every day watching exactly the same sort of videos. How do I describe them: Asian TV shows with teen boy bands. There are lots of glitzy lights. Sometimes the teen boy bands are singing and dancing in a very choreographed way, sometimes they are talking with the host. Sometimes there are little highly produced concerts. Is it all one boy band, or hundreds of different ones? She is always there, always watching.

After seven hours a woman comes in for the two boys. She finds them under the stairs where the 11 year old is spinning the eight year old in a chair. Before she comes, while they're doing this, they look reservedly happy, like they are cautiously surprised to be happy. The woman comes and they leave right away with her. She is affectionate and warm to the eight year old and formal and distant with the 11 year old, like he's a second cousin with no one to care for him. Maybe she puts him up. He does a lot of child care, the dishes, yard work. I don't know.

The more I see, the more questions I have.

1 comment:

If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

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