A Mixture of stuff, for.
Its funny, he thought, how the little things can traverse the years. How old tumbleweeds can blow around your brain, sometimes unseen in the hubbub, but the only break in the silence of the dark hours. ‘Rustle, rustle’ in the twilight hours. Dated pictures and once typed words, ‘rustle, rustle.’
James hunched further over his laptop, the first slide open on the screen. It read ‘A Mixture of Stuff, for James.’ It was an old set of slides, and unlike an old book whose pages would be dog-eared and stained, it held no record of the hours James had spent pouring over it. It was indifferent, but the old graphs, pictures, and words meant more to James than any book ever could.
He did the usual and played the song. Music from years ago filtered out the tinny speakers, filling the room with a blissful melancholy. It was routine, rustle rustle, funeral music for a bygone age. The journal of falling in love, a story that felt unfinished, but the final chapters ripped away. There was something beautiful in that, if desperately sad. He supposed that the song was some eulogy, although it had been meant as a rebirth.
A kindness. Something admirable, a goodbye from the woman he once loved. Still loved. Tried not to love, rustle, abhorred, rustle, adored. He took a long drag from his cigarette and felt the smoke fill his lungs. The slight breathlessness felt poignant, real, a brief departure from his fantasy of melancholia and past pixels.
So he began again, each new slide a jocular aperture, an inside joke made before inside jokes could be, the innermost thoughts of a lost soul mate. Moronic, loved, silly but serious. He could almost feel the same catch in his throat that he had felt years ago, the mixture of laughter and light. He smiled, the cigarette dangling from his lips. It had begun to burn down to the hilt. The song hit the chorus, the keyboards and words of hope dancing with the prose on screen.
He paused for a moment. Her face was almost gone now, his mind pushing it deep down into those hard places, the ones whose angles were felt in the darkest moments. The sheer faces where one may spiral (rustle, rustle) and lose himself. He remembered snatches of her smile, her eyes, her laugh. He had paid more penance for his mistakes than lashes could split his back.
But still, the slides and the music were all that was left (rustle.)
The final slide once again, a silly graph. Weirdness vs interest, a self-effacing joke. But years later, the joke was not as funny. It was damn beautiful, molecules of love coming together (rustle) in a sea of randomness (rustle) now split (rustle) and each (rustle) passing moment driving him further away.
The song ended as the cigarette ebbed out, and he closed the screen. The world around him had seemed much darker since. And in the night his lighter flared, the silence once again filling his brain. Let a single tumbleweed, rustling in the opaque. Perhaps one day the weeds could meet again. Rustle (together.)
Every once in a while I like to write something different. Image courtesy of Flickr.