Part Four; or, Obligated in Some Way [Flash Fiction]

I am sure you imagine that knowing what the weather was like should tell you something else you might need to know to understand–but why do you need to understand? Why do you need to believe you need to understand and that I am obligated in some way to fulfill your irrational desire, and it is a desire, no more reasonable for it being desirous in your mind than if you were to conclude that the poor should eat their babies to alleviate their hunger and the need to further feed babies they cannot feed. I helped carry the casket from the funeral home to the hearse, from the hearse in front of the church down the knave to the altar and then after the mass from the altar down the knave to the hearse that then took it to the cemetery. I, we, they, them, me myself–who am I to question who I was when I was there at that time–I am not able to step into the same river me twice, you know. I helped carry it at the cemetery to the grave, open yawning–the grave is the abyss, a representation of the abyss–the abyss must be transcendent–the grave is a physical space–there is metaphysical space, do not get me started. I think I can recollect throwing dirt onto the casket, lead-blue, again, the words, perhaps the only ones I recollect? I remember having said I could not count how many times–who am I today that I was yesterday? When am I again ever what I was, what I had been before was? What am I perpetually I am? Where am I or where am I going? From where have I come? Every one of us is a chimpanfuckinzee . . . I have said before how irrelevant it is to know someone’s name. The rose and all that sweetness, I agree with Juliet. I am sure if you called freshly laid dog shit a rose, it would not smell as sweet as Juliet’s rose. Who does not know this? I think I recall the day we buried her, the day I found out here in New York, the phone call, I dropped the phone receiver, my mother wanted to know what the hell I was doing dropping the phone from my hands to floor, the extra long cord we had to walk around talking on the phone before cordless phones. I do know that the world’s a stage, Jacques in As You Like It only paraphrasing Shakespeare’s Queen. Elizabeth’s pomp and circumstances were the greatest show of the age; statecraft is stagecraft. We princes are put on a stage for all the world to see–what then must we see? Elizabeth used prince and not princess, not simply a deferment to the custom of usage. Boys played the roles of women characters on the Elizabethan Stage–in the Elizabethan State, Elizabeth must have had to imagine a man playing herself on the stage of State. And what if I knew a young woman named Elizabeth, having met her just before her thirtieth birthday, a strange bird, I should say, the last time I saw her obliquely on my way to a restaurant, walking down a block, a hello coming from behind as she walked into a shop I presume for coffee, middle of the afternoon, near where she had been working when I knew her; and this was more than twenty years ago, then several years after having last seen her, I think–you do not really need the years, how many precisely, or the exact years on the calendar. I hadn’t thought about her for some time–how is it that anyone uses ‘some’ to mean a lot is beyond me–but I recently saw that she died–leukemia–how horrible. I was saddened, I guess. Yes, it made me sad that someone I knew had died before their time, and I do not know if I had felt as if I were lucky to be alive. I might have; it would be consistent with how I think.


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