She was declining at a rate inversly proportional to the acceleration of the Rapture. As It came into being, she began to fade. This brought her together with the whole thing but in a bad-settlement way on the wrongest of all terms. Everything felt idolatrous and monumental, the street lamps too solemn, her wintery city by the station informed, drunk, dazed, innocent, limping, crawling, insane, prejudiced, straight-backed, malicious, bountiful, fierce and greased with its own purposes and ramps, full of clueless moths. She had often wanted to get out of its way because it could be a rough bitch, too overblown and then heartless for stretches of days sometimes. Yet usualy she had its credentials and liked how she was never going to be sucked away from all private existence whilst in its free swaggering haul. But the dying came over her at a curve and left her in its unconscious clutch.
‘We can arrange something,’ she told herself with a sly wink. It was unlikely.
‘ Is that all you think?’ and laughed at herself.
‘I’m not shrinking from the extreme. It doesn’t follow that my ideas are where my interests are. Even if it was a waste of time in the long run, name me one thing that isn’t?’ she added.
‘Well , it seems both sides are the same – the ideas and the interests. Look, just because you were born doesn’t mean you have to turn out human. That’s just old-fashioned thinking and practically wrong besides. There ought to be all kinds,’ she said and felt like leaving it like that.
‘Time tends to make more difference than effort,’ she said.
‘ Lives feel better if watched discreetly,’ she added.
‘ It seems easier to die like a full human being than live like one, especially if you’re a woman.’
‘ Being dedicatedly single is the way you become who you want to marry.’
‘ I always keep a faint pitch of anger in me, everywhere and at all times, because it’s not supposed to be feminine, and I keep empathy as far down as I can too. Laughter’s best. And if the men’s shoes don’t fit, I cut their feet off. I probably am living the bits my mum didn't. I’m never grateful because it confuses growth with settling. Men get treated like intellectuals and women like women. And now I’m dead before sorting these annoyances,’ she said secretly, pleased for a minute that she had managed to say it whilst her face changed from sensual to sad, then austere.
She had always had a set of hard-worked ideas and lived with her beauty on rough terms. Because she never wanted her worth to be shouldered by her ravishing fleshy shapes. But from them came the compliments, sly efforts making out to be interested in other aspects of her. Declining as the Rapture Event expanded, she couldn’t exactly not mean something. After all, this was a cosmic event working up two scales of influence, so it seemed, one unspeakably big and the other as parochial as an individual’s petting diary.
How black has blood got to be to be black enough? All the elements have to be in place. There are shadows on the ground you’ll hang around for. And then of course there’s a shot of white lightening and a chick. There’s so much – maybe too much – to digest. Even if you identify the emotion, whether its discomfort or joy or sadness, you know it’s not going to be completely right. There’s always more than one thing going on. If you look over this particular street, for example, where her body is lying down, it doesn’t twist and turn but there’s a mood that does, and it pitches you forward when you’re there. Walking along it, it kind of turns you on your side without you dropping off, with a magical vibe, never solidified but nevertheless likely to make all kinds of askew stuff happen. That much she knew.
For starters her life isn’t slick. It's full of mistakes and accidents. It has to be like that, like little flowers that get bruised a lot, not all the time obviously, but with that as a built in expectation. So there’s some disturbance going to occur along the line of beauty too, and with that, whatever it was, a joy overrunning any pain you might additionally have. There are some ways and they have to be your own because only then will the weirdness not be so terrifying. It’s like when you know of other forces, forces rumbling on below the serenity of a life, the appearance of blue skies and so on, but then you also recognise that these other forces aren’t another world underneath or behind or whatever but is just the same serenity, the same force, but looked at from a different angle that’s yours and no one else’s. Wild pain and decay are just ways of proving that there are some worthwhile things and its worth finding them.
Quitting smokes won’t mean you’ll live forever but everyone should just start telling more jokes and be funnier. That’ll free them. Doesn’t matter if in some circumstances, out of no where, some frightening darkness comes lurching out of a side street wearing a uniform you thought was spectacularly horrifying, doesn’t matter because great horrors like that, they’re going to come, they’re always moving around, yelling for beer nuts or a better kind of mysticism or whatever, and that’s when you might understand the matter of the artist, the way all art does is refine the senselessness. We stopped dreaming in black and white when tv became coloured. What happened before noir ? Expanded consciousness and bliss were around. It was always a matter of looking for depth and for some, well, it’s black that has that real depth, more than colour, except for white and maybe jade, but then the mind kicks in and a lot of things that were sort of hidden now come out and in plain sight they’re seen, like voltage rates, coordinates, phone numbers, addresses, rooms, clocks, decoder rings, they cross over the way jokes, for example, become revealers of terrible and eternal truths connecting ourselves with horse play and giving us options to make better choices. Some of us learn our lives. Others get them as gifts. It’s never going to be a matter of returning them. Or refining them away from where we appear or reappear. What she would say: 'try something new.'
Where’s this coming from? Well, she’s been lying down all through the night since two in the morning. What a corpse knows is valid. But has limits too. When things get abstract then what good does it to say anything at all. But there it is. A body lies out in the grassy verge like it’s the one sentence in the Bible that will change everything. When you read that line you close the book and know everything you need to. Well, here she was, lying there now all cold and forlorn and who will say what it meant? It’s a very personal thing. A very delicate and sad thing in this case. Was she the kind of girl that you didn’t want your parents to know? Was she the kind of girl who would be a terrific teacher? A writer or fighter, maybe a whole set of dark and troubling things too. A confusion on the top of the way things are.
At a point in the evening, through the grey neurotic drizzle a scene that was both dogmatic and personal without the mitigation of Godly grace or Darwin’s either, just a last remnant of something buckling and mysterious, three guys hypnotised by their alcohol, vast and full of life, moving together like a huge wave, colossal, bright, full of zest and liveliness, and death too, climbing along the road as if climbing into the sky, a wonderfully terrifying dance as if they could hear bagpipes or something eerily visionary, they moved past her no more than six feet let’s say and they saw nothing, being present and here and not casting sidewise glances but instead beaming straight ahead as if some enchanting wonder beckoned from the golden future they could see. In other words their imaginations shot ahead. And then as they fade away Beethoven’s moonlight sonata pays out its inheritance, its time and sequences that settle down around the silences which nevertheless you don’t focus on, like you eat the doughnut and the hole but nevertheless nothing is nothing and something is something and you can always tell somewhere down the line, always. Or at least, that’s the great satisfactory hope that endears itself to us most.
But here on this street at this time it’s a scene of a special destruction, enough to make all such hope impotent, and we all know a street, like a home, is where things go wrong. Travel gets half its importance from fear but so too stillness that personifies immobility in the soul, where a lifeless square or avenue, one of those stone faced ones, where the doors and windows are shuttered like inert cubes of emotions beyond sorrow and the distractions taking Pascal, for one, away from God, that place has the terrible exaltation of long and calm inertness, a place where we make clever excuses and complain. These places hurt because they want to, and that curates obligations. Once you’ve convinced yourself you’re absurd then you’re too full of your own vanity. Vanity is where you seek your immortality in digestion.
Over and above the body, there’s so much noise. The universe makes the noise and you can’t understand where it’s coming from. She had developed some strange techniques. Sometimes they worked. Sometimes they didn’t. She had these machines, big when close up, but if you looked at them from far away then they’d fit under her bed. Their weight was like a whip.
And she would want to know this of everyone she ever met:
‘Ok, what’s their story?’
Read the complete novel 'The Ecstatic Silence' here.