I’d been walking around, looking for something. I don’t quite know what, but by the time I actually stopped searching, night had arrived in earnest. True dark fell over me like a cloak to freeze my bones clean through. There were no people on this block. No soul but my own. It was odd—this solitary wild, where the evening chill continuously chased the hour. Bundles of gathered leaves and branches were haphazardly gathered on the far right side of the walkway. They were soggy; the leaves curled at the edges. If I didn’t already know that winter had gone, then I might’ve been fooled.
Lights from the houses that were lined up in neat rows around me all burnt out one-by-one, until all that remained was the streetlight standing sentinel thirty feet too far. That was okay though. I had a lighter and a hand to block the wind. A single flickering flame. Shakable, but familiar.
It was late now. Everybody had gone.
I thought that maybe it was time for me to go, too.
I met one of the gods of nothing today.
The gods of nothing are the deities of the barely there things that you notice in a moment of distraction, then forget in favor of more riveting objects and agendas. A few examples are the errant strings on an old sweater, 12:02 p.m., a useless staple, and the lines on your spoon that appear once it’s been dipped in cold coffee for too long.
You can speak to them, and sometimes they’ll listen. They tend to ignore you though because they know you’ll forget. And just between us, I don’t think they believe in people all that much, since people don’t believe in them. That’s okay though. I don’t think they’d appreciate wavering faith.
The god I spoke to today was the god in charge of my front door. The path leading there was covered in enough sunshine to shock me, so I asked him if he could perhaps send a cloud to provide a little more shade, while I locked up. He obliged only because I think it annoyed him, too.
I said thank you before I left, even though I knew he wouldn’t respond. It’s important to be polite.
I received a set of owl bookends today. I put them on a metal shelf that has no boards along the sides because the builders didn’t want to waste wood — possibly also because of style. I don’t know much about the art of furniture, but dark (preferably cherry-tinted) wood is expensive, while modern, minimalist designs aren’t, so I use them.
The owls don’t look particularly wise, but they do look as though they hold a lot of secrets, which might count as the same thing depending on your perspective. They bear the weight of all of the heavy hard covers that my other statues — the ravens, the phoenixes, and the krakens — can’t. When I’m seated off to the side, I can sometimes feel them sneaking glances at me. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them suddenly chirped something unexpected.
“We will return these books to you for a modest fee.”
I can imagine their laughter. Hoots and all. I wonder if they laughed the same way during their bubble-wrapped journey to my house? Did they bother the delivery man? I sincerely hope not. He’s stressed enough as it is.
But if they could really talk, I feel as though all they’d do is criticize my taste in furniture (which I’d defend because I’m skint), complain about the constantly shifting temperature, and tell over-inflated stories interspersed with bad jokes. The last one is the worst for me. Because what if I begin to like them?
I’ve begun fussing over the bird statues in my house again because they turned dusty while I had my back turned. It’s likely because I stopped whispering my secrets to them. The neglect is evident.
They used to be vibrant, you know. All majestic and forever terrifying. Because they needed to protect those secrets, to warn others away in the most threatening stance they could muster, but now they’re only sad. It’s okay though. I’ll make them bird-like again.
They can hide my new secrets with the old ones. Place them as deep inside of their painted-resin bodies as they could go. Tuck them under the recesses between their wings and the purposeful curve of their beaks. Some might compile them into the stone books that their creator perched them over and etch them between the pages, so that no one but them could see.
Hoarded and treasured and safe.
It’s 9 a.m., and I’ve just had another liberal helping of cake. It’s okay though because I haven’t slept yet, so the world isn’t technically new and ready to be reconquered by my boundless enthusiasm. The sun doesn’t do any wonders for those that haven’t rested.
Anyway, I came here to write about how astonishingly easy it is for a single thing to narrow my focus. Birds gather in my backyard every morning (for the nuts in the trees, the chilly lake water, and those seeds in the tiny house that I never clean because I didn’t want it there in the first place). They wear colorful, floofy coats. Sometimes they linger and sit together to enjoy a perfectly sunset-lit pool. The parliaments don’t come out until night with their new sounds and poofy wings — the true kings of the lake and the forest beyond.
Geese also occasionally pass through, especially during the summertime. They chase away everything. If an owl and a goose fought, who would emerge the winner? Owls are merciless predators built to hunt and kill… but geese are bastards with teeth on their tongues. Tough to say honestly.
I wonder if the smaller birds etch notes onto the trees to remind themselves of who they are (because it’s easy to forget) and what to do when the bigger, more terrifying birds come around. I’d like the ability to read them if they did. Maybe they have inside jokes.
I saw someone with a disarming smile, while I was having my morning coffee today. It was on tv (of course) because I don’t make a habit of leaving my house before 12pm if I can help it. No one wants to see a yawning, disheveled mess out on the streets. I don’t need a block full of eyes all holding onto me either. But that’s beside the point.
The point is, the tv people always have such nice grins. They’re so peppy. Here I am, trying to get my life together at 8am, and there they are… all awake and ready to make the tv words. Share your secrets, tv people.
That is all.