Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Winter, fall, summer, and suddenly spring again

Edna grew sleepy. The scene went blank before her eyes. She could hear, faintly at first, the mechanical hum of the projector. It went on faster and faster, spinning its reels—but at this point she could not make up her mind whether she was dreaming or not. There she was, lost in the middle of a strange story; her life, rewinded. 
It felt like evening, noon, morning, and suddenly night again; winter, fall, summer, and suddenly spring again. Edna touched her body. It seemed more agile, more slender. A change was upon her; she could sense it despite her drowsiness. She turned over. By some strange twist, she fancied that she was suddenly flat chested. 
Curiously, the sleepier she became—the more her body awakened. It ached with desire. She must have boxed up this feeling and now, it could no longer be denied. To her surprise, there was a certain tenderness in her nipples, such as she had not felt in a very long time—ever since her early teenage years, come to think of it.    
Edna could hear the sound, the maddening sound of celluloid sliding across and over itself; like air sucked in, whistling between the teeth. It made her head reel. Scenes raced through her mind in quick succession. This was no longer a game: She was helpless to stop this mad rush, a rush towards something unknown, towards the beginning. 
People came in and out of her life: Men, women, children, all of whom she had long forgotten. They were not the least bit embarrassed about walking in reverse, like circus acrobats on a tightrope. For the most part they managed to do it without bumping against each other or taking a fall. 
Like prunes in water, old men lost their wrinkles and gained back their plump skin. They spat out their medicines, and were instantly healed. They promised her love—love for eternity—but soon after, started to backpedal. Middle-aged women became young again, detaching themselves, in the process, from one boyfriend after another until even the first one backed away. Then they found themselves turning into wide-eyed virgins. 
Children became smaller. They forgot all their words, cried longer, the pitch of their voice rose higher and higher until finally slapped by a nurse; at which time—guided by an umbilical cord—they disappeared into a void, into their mother’s womb.    
The prospect of finding the end of life at the beginning seemed contradictory at first; but then, she figured, it was so much better than finding it at the proper end. It would be scary, either way—but when time draws near, you need all the help you can get. At least, as a baby you are cute, irresistibly so; which makes people want to take care of you. Not so when you are old. 
Edna slipped to the floor and cuddled herself. The machine kept on humming above her—but at this point she had no idea how to stop the thing. She turned her attention to that other sound, which echoed around the room: The beat, the wild beat of her heart. A heartbeat, reversed. 

Excerpt from Home

★ Inspired by poetry? ★

"This radiant book is an exploration of the bond between a daughter and father and the book overflows with some of the most eloquent poetic moments in print. HOME is an invitation, a very personal one, and should not be passed over." 
-Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Reviewer

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