When you watch the sun rise in a strange apartment (where you did not plan to awaken) you watch nothing at all in the apartment move, just like in your own apartment. But why is it that things in your own apartment seem less still, seem to sway in your orbit, seem alive, and things in other people’s apartments watch you warily, quietly, seemingly inanimate?  If anything they only hover at incredible speeds, like hummingbirds.

The clock seemed to sit rigidly still, like a nervous student, and the painting whose corner I glimpsed through two doorways also sat still, the frozen image even more captured on its canvas than the night before. I threw off my covers as quietly as I could and padded over to the window and the street was also still, an absolute absence. The lonely night’s last sullen stare. I am addicted to early morning still lives, and the first scurryings of nobodies. Then from the window I saw my shoes, sitting, a pair, like two black birds next to the two neat kitchen chairs, just where I left them, and my book open on its spine, and two wine glasses on the coffeetable, just where they had been, looking sadder and wiser in the morning, like they wanted to be poured out.

I went into the bathroom, did my thing, threw water at my face and came out … I swear the apartment was just as quiet, waiting. Wanting me to get spooked. Two glasses, two shoes, like eyes of two different inanimate creatures left behind in the apocalypse of late-night talk.

You wake up there where you did not expect, and even your own tiptoeing accuses you: you have done something wrong. The whole body language of the moment is stealth, aftermath, even burglary. You lie in bed as best you can, thinking, I have beaten the system, I have broken the rules, I have done something I could not predict and told the world to go fly a kite … and … transgression-elation. It goes with morning whisper, gray light’s soothing hand—so much more austere than candles and night, sofas and wine.

I couldn’t get over the window and the grayblue light it was letting in, so plain, plain-spoken. That gray oncoming light which sometimes seems like reality’s printed rebuke. A weird luminescence, a glow emerging rather than a light trained upon the world. You say no I am here I have done something wonderfully unpredictable and the still apartment seems unaffected but you say again no I am here, look out, i am crazy, anything could happen, and people start to wake up next door and do the things they do every day of their lives, doors rattle and showers drain, sounds which are singing, boring refrains of versical lives, and still you say no I am wild I don’t belong to you, I broke the rules, and the vision out the window (the empty street) seems to be the world’s rules, the rhythms of motion of people in mass and the vision in the apartment seems clear, cold, plain, like ice water, rules of respect and place, but the third vision bursting inside you is disrespectful, a snotty kid whose arrogant careless smile is nonetheless not entirely irritating. You have broken whose rules? The world’s only partly; mainly, your own. You are so happy to disobey yourself, proud bleary rebel.

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Posted October 12, 2007 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Ah, how I miss that … I’ve broken the rules, now I can make my own rules, at least for an hour or two … maybe I didn’t break enough rules in my life.

    Should I start/continue now? Am I too old to break rules? Or would I break the hearts/lives of others if I started transgressing now-again?

  2. Alessandra
    Posted October 14, 2007 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    I’m curious as to what book you were reading and the subject depicted in the painting, if you wouldn’t mind enlightening me.

    The things in your own apartment probably seem less still from the flickering of all the memories attached to them that you must assemble to realize their forms.

    “For even if we have the sensation of being always enveloped in, surrounded by our own soul, still it does not seem a fixed and immovable prison; rather do we seem to be borne away with it, and perpetually struggling to transcend it, to break out into the world, with a perpetual discouragement as we hear endlessly around us that unvarying sound which is not an echo from without, but the resonance of a vibration from within.”

    (I apologize for the lack of connection between thoughts and quotes.)

  3. Ihnsouk
    Posted October 15, 2007 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    It was like looking at a painting when I started reading. I held that still picture in my mind hoping it would end with something shattering the stillness. That would have left me with a wonderful imaginary painting in my mind.

  4. Alessandra
    Posted October 15, 2007 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Ihnsouk, do you blog?

  5. Ihnsouk
    Posted October 16, 2007 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Alessandra, No I don’t. I just comment here and there.

  6. Alessandra
    Posted October 17, 2007 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Well I thought your post was a beautiful image. 🙂

  7. Ihnsouk
    Posted October 19, 2007 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Oh, I see. I just had to say that. After the initial paragraph, the picture was somehow getting dimmer as the writing progresses as if whitewash was being applied over the entire picture. I was sorry to see it merge into everyday nothingness as almost everything else.

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