. . . and it was raining and raining and raining and there was nothing anyone could do about it or in it.
It had begun to rain again.
The rain was coming down in sheets it seemed at one moment, in torrents the next, the gutters were awash, overflowing. When in sheets you could see the folds in the body of the rain like curtains in a breeze; then the skies opened and the strength of the falling rain broke the curtain and just poured like a gargantuan faucet. We had to close the window that looked out from the bedroom onto the mini courtyard below, the window facing east, as we have to make sure to close the curtains at night before sleep so the morning sun does not come blaring through like some kind of elephant trumpet flourish, yes, the morning sun like a stampede of elephants, if sight can equal sound , and not like the elephant stampedes you hear in movies, but the real ones you can hear on safari or from one of those nature shows documenting the ways of habitats far from here in New York. I am pretty sure I have heard some such flourish of elephants trumpeting their arrival or approach.
I see you reading a book I have read before. I feel as if you know something of me I haven’t wanted you to know. I don’t ask myself why you are in the room at this moment. It is unimportant why you are in the room–I want to stay, I want to remain still. The rain outside today is torrential. Rain outside a window in your life is not incidental. I read my life as I would a novel, as I do a film. I want to leave the room. I want new toast and coffee? After you finish the toast and tea I made for you after the toast and tea I had made for you.
Windows on the world, windows peering, windows looking out; I watch the people sitting below my bedroom window on the bench in the mini courtyard. I recall having written a piece about a room, my room, perhaps. I no longer remember if the piece began as a short story or an essay, whichever one does not matter now. What I am writing about is having written something I called “A Window,” a short piece I found among a collection of writings, and inasmuch as my first person narrative fiction has many of the same features of syntax, diction and voice that my essays have, it is difficult for me to discern just where this piece had its origins, in prose fiction or in expository prose non-fiction. This suggests that there might be something in writing we could call expository fiction?
I understand that these do not matter now, not for what I am focussing on herein, that is, the window I use to look out onto the world, a world, what world in what context with what populations and landscapes to fill it? The world is only what we see–what do I see? To see or not to see–what I understand is what I stand under whether or not I can see. Tiresias sees other than how I do, although I do in ways he cannot. And this is certainly not only what I see, but how much more could it be if seen the way I have been taught to see, and we have been taught to see, instructed in our seeing, grown accustomed to seeing what our eyes might tell us we do not see if we were to listen to our sight alone and apart from outside influences, every influence a kind of influenza? The world and myself are a symbiosis.
Am I to write on window-ness? This is more like it, what windows represent, and what this window in my room represents, or could represent, any window, yes; but my window, certainly; and what windows look out on, the scene, the view, the framing. What do I see when I look out my window? It is raining now. Rain outside a window in a movie is never incidental; nothing of all the images collectively adding up to something in the frame are incidental, not really, and if they are placed there without thought, without having decided before hand what their purpose will serve in the summation of the shot, then so much the worse or accidentally better for the makers of the film.
But how to, why to, when to, where to, what to. All of them not necessarily in this order–what order though? How to decide the order of the questions, we like to imagine that we must ask who, what, when, where, why and how–does how really come after why in some pre-notioned order of how to ask questions, we do though imagine that we must ask who what when where what . . . and then how and why not necessarily in that order, sub-orders within larger orders, set theory and theories of concentricity, what questions I will ask against the questions I should ask.
I made new toast. I poured more tea from freshly boiled water.
You say you have to go to the store; you don’t ask me if I want anything. I wait for you to come back. Infinite possibility is a kind of living death. One year later you still have not returned from the store. I imagine that everything I said to myself you too had said to yourself. I have begun to think of other things when I used to think of where you might be. I don’t think I will see you tomorrow; I don’t wonder anymore if I will.
I turned on the water for tea; I turned off the water for tea. I decided to make a pot of coffee instead. I put it on the stove. I looked out the kitchen window to the mid morning sun on the fire escape, shadows of the bars on the fence oblong across the platform. There was a bird’s nest atop the cable box outside on the wall that runs perpendicular to the wall my kitchen window is within, I heard the birds chirping–I hear them every morning I sit at the table in the kitchen to have my coffee. I remember the bull fights at Plaza de Torres in Madrid.
I see I will leave you in years many years from now. I don’t know when or if it will be in my lifetime. If we were together forever, you said, that would be torture, horror on horror, you said, eternally yours is better. I don’t know what this means to leave someone after one’s lifetime, my lifetime–will you leave me when we’re dead. I don’t know if I can take you after we are dead. To love someone beyond your death. Hamlet realizes too late? I think he always knew, was always in control of his method; yes, methinks there was method in my madness, all the way through, everywhere I feigned . . . to think or not to think, what seems to me, all thinking about keeping up appearances? What seems to me is what I think; thinking only ever about appearance, how to make about something more substantial is a puzzle . . . how I puzzle things out, solve one or another puzzle in my life in a magazine in a book on an exam.
I will think of you, watching the birds. I will think of you thinking of me, watching the birds . . . time future collides with time present and time present with time past, multi dimensional being, to see beginning and simultaneously is a godly vision.
I am thinking of you while I look at the birds and I am thinking of you setting your eyes on the birds, and I see you as I have before, with you are thinking, how you look while you think.
The birds are small, I see you watching birds in my mind, my mind now preoccupied with extensions, what my mind will permit me to consider, how much of what we are able to think has to have an infrastructure for the thinking to held up, we could say, matter accretes around gravitational centers, somebody once told be that gravity is the displacement of space and how bodies act and react in that warped environment–I’ve been in some pretty warped environments. I see us I imagine watching the bulls and the matadors on the sands.
I think of us. I think of how we have been, how we have acted toward each other, how we have been you and I and sometimes an entity apart from you or I, this something else, we . . . I am I and you are you and you and I are you and I but then we are we apart from yet a part of this you and I that stands differently for everyone toward everyone with everyone, no?
I think of the toast. I wonder what other visions I have held of you that I could have held for you for me, the where we are going, the where we have been, where we were going, to go or not to go, and the how long it will take us to get there when we do go. Everything seems to be taking forever to do.
Eternity is now, now is the only door onto eternity. Infinity is not eternity. You can’t get closer to the eternal by living forever, no closer than you are now. Forever is never reachable, no one can count as high as infinity. Infinite time, infinite space, either of these is not possible. The skies were clear and blue, deep blue, a jewel blue I heard me say in another incarnation I brought to the present in mind in my journal, the one I kept mostly in the mornings having coffee on Gran Via a few blocks from our hotel.
Possibilities cannot be infinite for anyone living in finite space or finite time. No. A person can, though, from his limited finite world, reach the eternal. Eternity is a transcendental reality that uncovers its pathway here, now, in this place at this moment where I am . . . I am here and I am there, here and there are mutual, reciprocal, interchangeable, connected.
I remember having left the room. I remember having gone to the kitchen. I remember having sat at the table. I remember having attended my toast and tea, your toast and tea, the toast I had made for you with the tea now lukewarm, and the toast cold and hard. I don’t like lukewarm tea. I hate lukewarm coffee. The cold toast I give to the birds that flock outside our window. No birds today on the fire escape platform outside the kitchen window. I think I want more coffee. I’ll go and make some with the espresso machine we bought how many years ago already has it been I cannot say at Macy’s. I remember having done all of these before having made new tea.
She liked tea, had tea often, drank tea in the afternoon or in the evening, not drinking coffee after morning . . . I never used to do this, drink coffee after the morning, but now, recently–what means recently, I mean, what is recent geologically and what is recent for the whole of a life and what is recent for this year, and what is recent for any term considered determined delineated; concentric circles reverberating into other concentric circles reverberating into yet other concentric circles, venn diagrams of concentric circles overlapping, one and another.
I am in the bedroom. I move forward from where I stand. I pause, I turn back, I walk back around to the window by your side of the bed. I remember our room this summer, a month ago almost already. I see me in position to look out the window of our room, past the balcony, out over the beach to the ocean. I watch the waves coming and going, a series of back and forth, undulant curve rising tumultuous fall to the shore then again out ocean seawater you used to say was what made you feel whole. I look to the sky gray in all directions, no rain, below the horizon I imagine it tucked. I hear you turn another page in the book I watch you reading. I look carefully to see if you see me. I remember you sitting the other day turning the pages of a fashion magazine in French. You cannot read French. You asked me to translate some passages. Some I could, others were very difficult– I couldn’t. I tried. I had moderate success. You did not seem very pleased. I said nothing more to you.
The skies gray in all directions to the horizon. I walk to the window. I want to close the window. You say, Don’t close the window. I turn away from the window. I walk to the other side of the bed, my side of the bed, the side of the bed next to the wall on the side of the building facing North-Northwest. You say you want to look out the window. I do not ask why you cannot do that with the window closed. You add to the discourse that the window is dirty and needs to be cleaned. I do not ask you why you do not clean the windows. You add without having been prompted that you plan to take the windows out of their frames and wash them this weekend. I ask you if you want me to help, and you say before I finish my offer of help that of course you want me to help.
How is it I could not understand you wanted to help me, only want to help me, you must wonder why I cannot get it, no I do not get that you only want to help and cannot help but imagine that you are either evil or not in control of some really fucked up way of thinking–evil to him who evil thinks, I remember and drop all this nonsense, as I then call it, about what it is you must be doing when you annoy the shit out of me, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
I hear the light pitter-pat of the rain on my air-conditioner in the bedroom window. . . it was torrential just a few minutes ago. The streets were awash. I like that word, ‘awash.’
You say you do not want to finish the tea when I ask you if you want more tea from the tea that I made for you in the pot we bought together at IKEA I don’t remember when. I do not ask you why you do not want more tea, or why you did not finish the tea I brought for you with the toast you also did not finish. I usually ask you if something is wrong; I do not do so this morning. I note this to myself, thinking to myself that I have been changed by you, by your persistent desire to know why I need to know all the time what the matter is.
I think I want to go to the kitchen to make new toast, have more coffee. I am always thinking of more coffee in the morning until I cannot have any more, until I am physically unable to bring the cup to my lips. I have had coffee this morning already. I always have several cups of espresso, black, no sugar, the regular coffee cup cups you hold by the hook, filled halfway up, maybe about two espresso cup sizes.
I watched a movie the other day, sometime last week, and in the movie the rain was pouring outside torrentially and in the movie you got the impression that the rain was not incidental, that rain in movies is never incidental, that rain in movies has the same interpretive value as it does in dreams, it is a purgation image, and that when you see rain in a movie, there is something being purged or cleansed or in need of cleansing and remains an irony in the film, that there is something the characters or a character is not getting at or getting to or not saying that he should, something that would amount to a catharsis, and that that is important and that that must be understood, nd probably is understood whether we put it into words or not, and that this might be universal everywhere the same, as human as is bread, as polygenetic too.
The weather in Madrid was beautiful, even the day it reached 119 F. No rain. I did not expect rain. I don’t remember from High School Spanish how much rain Madrid would get annually.
Like I have said, rain outside a window in a movie, like rain in a dream, is not incidental.
I do not recollect if I heard the bull’s, I must have heard them snort, I imagine that I cold that I did but I do not I am not able to recollect hearing them snort as they must have snorted on the sands in the arena which is like saying I was laying on the sands on the sand on the beach, no?
What else do I have in the way of expressing the conditions for rain, how it rains when it rains and what rain represents not in nature but in the scene, the mise-en-scene of rain, in a film, on film, in a book, a story where the rain figures symbolically? How to read rain?
I used to read my life the way you would a novel.
That was something else for the people in my life, living my life with others this way.
What I see, I have seen, I then can say I saw; I could then say, as I then said , that I had seen what I had; although, what I did see then was only what I had been taught to see when seeing is was more about closing one’s eyes than opening them.
I see you I saw you I will see again if I think of you, you are still vivid in my mind how I recollect you is still in details there will come a time I imagine when I will not be able to recollect you except vaguely, perhaps in silhouette or soft focus, so much of my life is in soft focus, out of focus photography is very close to how memory fades loses its sharpness.
The rain outside my window again today falling in torrents, sheets from the sky like sometimes I see sheets of water down the wall perpendicular to the wall with my bedroom window that used to be our bedroom window.
[. . .]
It had rained before; it was raining again.The rain continued.