Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I don't know what this is called. I've been working on it for a fucking week and I have one page and I hate it. I'm putting it here to be rid of it:

He'd built the watch piece by piece meticulously for months. It was important to him, a delicate thing that he'd built from little bits of watches he'd found in the garbage, in the street, at yard sales. Other people’s watches that he'd find broken and wasted and he'd take them home and look at them under a lamp in his bedroom. They were beautifully intricate and small. Cogs and wheels, screws and bolts, all so small you could breathe them in. Lift the face and look back into time, when life was made from parts that moved with golden significance.

The watch was sterling silver with all gold inlays. It was kept in a mahogany box with red velvet lining and a broken lid. A fever dream had broken it, thrown it into the hallway in a panic. The box was placed next to him in bed, sometimes on the night stand, on occasion after stressful days, on his chest, the ticking lulling him to sleep. Comforting incessance. Steady. Tick and tock. Up and down.

He dreamed of the ocean. He is in a small red boat, rowing. There is someone sitting behind him, sighing. Shhhhh. The waves are frequent and choppy the sky is bright blue clear and shining. All alone in the middle of the ocean. Up and down. It'll just go on forever.

Sunsets are depressing, the sunrise is terrifying. At sunrise, there is nothing bigger than the rest of the day. Expansive and empty and terrifying. His watch makes a small, tinny ding at 6:28am. Three minutes before sunrise. Three hours before work. It takes him a while to move. He is often surprised at the size of his room. He remembers when he signed the lease, he wasn't sure if his things would fit. Too small. He'd move in the summer time. The room is perfect and, if anything, too big. His things are small, the room is giant. His watch throws an echo.

He has grown more and more confident that everyone in this building knows one another. The walk from his door to the revolving door in the lobby is a mile long and haunted. Muffled, far away sounds from every direction and behind every door. In the lobby, people are friendly and warm but think that he is frightening and small and shaky and dangerous, a rabid animal. Hold your children closer, whisper while you watch him, close and latch the door, the double bolt. Shiver shudder shake. The revolving door maintains a constant seal on his building, keeps the cold out and the gossip in. They are afraid of him, and he is afraid of them and there's not a lot to do about it.

Outside, the same people walk by him every day. Over the years, two people that used to walk along his route started walking together, they lived on the same street and would bump into each other at the bottom of the hill, then they lived in the same building, now they have a blue sedan and a pink baby seat. He wonders if they still know each other, if they tell the story of how they met, if their child will believe in things like this forever, if it will ruin life for her later. Wouldn't it have to? He would catch himself hoping that it would, and would try to walk faster and think of other things.

His office is housed in a skyscraper shaped like a knife; he sits at a desk shaped like a wound. Ergonomic and misshapen new age impracticality; a wavy red wood blob. He opens the face on his watch, and hangs it from its perch, a red felt T. He rests his hands on his keyboard, looks straight ahead and vanishes for ten hours.

The walk home is dark and quiet. He tries to time his steps to the ticking of his watch. He’s nearly home. He can’t wait for it to be over.