Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Funny Little Things

On the table, there was a coloring book, a brass candle holder, a fortune cookie, a long sequined glove, a cupcake, and a crayon. I was briefly thrown by the line up, the coloring book and crayon at opposite ends, but in judging the total collection quickly realized the two weren't all that related. The arguments for their connection are of course worth noting...but not yet, perhaps.
     I started with the coloring book, thumbing through it. The first pages all filled in, but only in muted shades of gray. There followed them some blank, and the remainder were scribbled violently in reds and yellows, garish swirls and tempests across the page. I set it aside, numb to memory. I considered the brass piece only briefly, and thought of aborted plans for the west coast, cigarettes, and old records. There was a plaid shirt I'd expected to see here, but it's absence told me more about my past than holding or smelling the thing ever could have. I lightly wrapped my fingers around the fortune cookie and closed my eyes. In many ways, the hardest to decipher, to place. I seemed to feel my heartbeat more clearly then, and thought that surely would be appreciated. I squeezed the cookie in my hands, breaking it, and the pieces fell to the floor. From the crumbs in my palm I took the small slip of paper and read, 'Spirit > Past' I couldn't help but chuckle at the juxtaposition of a metaphysical lesson expressed mathematically. I knew then crumbling the cookie was but one stage, and the real essence was in the fortune itself, not the shell. I frowned though, as I was moving on, finding a strip of weathered old leather that I'd not noticed. No, it wasn't a simple issue of my overlooking it- the leather simply hadn't been there... had it? I held the leather, soft and worn, but still tough, and tried not to think about what it could mean, the relic's near invisibility, either truly, or simply to my own shortsightedness. I shuddered and set it back down. For the gaudy sequined glove, all I could manage was a small chuckle and rueful shake of my head. At a glance it was easy to see the thing was beautiful, but worn, and on closer examination, was sure to prove tattered and all but broken.
     The cupcake of course gave me pause. I stared at it a long time, the darling thing, pastel frostings and intricately iced cap. It broadcast sweetness and fun, but I knew this confection was as much salt as sugar, water and milk and butter substituted by tears and ocean and sweat. It would take a softer hand than mine to understand the thing, to value it. A refined palette for so delicate a treat, I've no doubt it would by some be considered a delicacy, but it was utterly unknowable to me.
     I held the crayon in my hand and looked back, to the end of the table, to the coloring book. I decided the connections were superficial, and spoke to my habits and tastes if anything. The wax itself of the crayon was multicolored, and it seemed it was tie-dyed cylinder wrapped in white paper, with no writing to explain the color's name. I set it back down. I stepped away. I stopped, and went back, putting the crayon in my pocket, and then left, leaving the light on, but closing the door softly as I went.

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