The fecund smell of dates assaults my nose as I make study of the night. Long robes of white against me, faint shelters against a deep sky, are wrapped across my knees. I am perched; my chin almost reaches over the railing of the balcony, swirling iron giving precious, and hard won, comfort to my face. Oscillation Tower, my home, sways in clashing fronts of falling and rising winds. This is the autumn-spring, an in between indistinguishable from all other in betweens. You remember the beauty of her face, you’ve enshrined it. The wind is blowing softly, softly, singing faint hymns against the skin of my cheek. I am perched; my eyes survey the city, as the nose basks in the rich rot of dates, and its streets which never end. In these regards I am perfect for the season, the spring-autumn, an accessory well worn for the mood, theme and setting of the climate.
I contemplate turning, for just a moment, but a loud noise from the street below re-holds my attention. A band of youngsters, drunk on an abundance of time, their social nerve ends fraught from an expected catharsis. Some of them wheel side to side, bottles clenched hard in whitening knuckles, an easy going, nervous energy to them. Others are fumbling in each other’s embraces, eager lips attempting to communicate the now, the urgency, the death that’s coming, the release that’s needed as a dike to stem it. You remember the awe of her hair, you’ve enshrined it. As they pass beneath my balcony, sound increasing, I draw a deep breath and take a hold of their scent. It fills me. It enriches me. It turns me into a part of the scene and a part of my memory drifts into it, summoned by familiar traces: trees, wind, humans, sweat, alcohol, dog shit, pavement, neon, sleep for most but not for all of us.
There is a Namer’s touch to them. One of them is related to her, the girl who with a touch and a soft spoken word has changed my life. You recognize her grace, you’ve enshrined it. Here, atop Oscillation Tower, the City in which she resides still escapes me. But her touch is on one of them; perhaps it’s the girl with the frayed pants, knees peeking like submarine eyes on stems, clutching at her other so brightly. With her firm, prehensile grasp she seems to make her realer, as if her kisses anoint personhood, as if her encompassing, needy love describes her objective boundaries like the sea describes a cliff and the woman in her arms exists more for being kissed by such lips. Definitely her touch on her; the power of reality is the power of Names, and in this City she is the source of syllables.
Kfevic. In a half stumble my ears processed the words as I turned, a green park all around. I was sure I was alone but there she was, enshrined in chopped up light. Smiling at me, lightly touching my elbow and saying “kfevic”. I had never heard the word before, not in all the blazing banks and dusty repositories of Oscillation House but I knew instantly what it meant. “Observer”. Supposedly detached, expectedly emphatic, pathetically imagining myself to be more than what I studied and humanely unable to resist sympathy. Observer. She spoke my being in a few moments and then pushed on, spices on her back and a destination on her mind, her knees in between the three and carrying the first closer to the second via the third. She named me and moved on, leaving me to stand in my own existence, splayed out in the fading light of a summer afternoon, as summer was dying.
It’s autumn-spring now and the coolrushofcoldwater that is existing hasn’t left me yet. I’m more present than before, the contours of my body not ending in a world I’d like to imagine as other. Instead, it’s all a blur and I realize that I’m faintly leaning over the balcony, wanting to join the extrovert bodies below me, wanting to scream wildly and dance and kiss. I draw back. You remember her touch, you’ve enshrined it. Deep breaths run across my esophagus, cooling my insides that would propel my outsides, cooling the kfevic resounding in my head, cooling the implications of being an observer that would use me to become realized. That would have me live out their story, that would have me live out my name. Harshly, I finally turn around, the sound of their revelry now fading down the street, the sound of my own breathing increasing around me. I shut the door of Oscillation House, leaving out the spring-autumn, leaving out the street, leaving out the rotten smell of dates. Bringing in myself and my existence and the power of a Name that’s burning inside me, as much as I would like to be rid of it. Back to the banks and the repositories, back to knowledge and the dissection of lineages, back to a bird’s eye view of a living map that won’t stop churning. Back to Oscillation House and the torpor of detached thought with the Name burning inside me as a contrast, an oscillation of being between what I am, who she says I am and how much I have no idea, not even a faint lead, of reconciliation.
I remember her voice. It has enshrined me.