Saturday, 29 September 2018

Day 154: Interstices

Walking to a coffee shop before work, the September sun low in the sky, the sun shining through leaves that are turning red and bronze in the air that is empty and infused with the first brittleness of an autumn reaching out its clawed hands. The leaves cast complex shadows that dapple across the brick facades of the university buildings; beneath the buildings is a lattice of shadow on the ground stretched through an iron walkway's open interstices. Throngs of students jostle and wait. One brown leaf on the ground, two more, mushed under foot. A beggar crumpled against the wall of an express supermarket. Chinese students with face masks clenched over mouths.

In the coffee shop the lamplight is warm. The customers wear olive green and navy and black. They talk, type on laptops, cradle their phones. Coffee cups clatter. The din of conversation is pleasant. A group of female students in a cloud of cloying perfume debate about boys in their lectures, about who doesn't do the washing up in their houses, about how to edit Bitmoji avatars. The lampshades are opulent. The girders are polished metal. The tabletops worn varnished teak.

From the table of perfumed students, incongruously: "Is any of this real? Are we living in a dream world?"


Work is the screaming maw of an insatiable beast. All commotion. All noise. Swallowed for hours into the dark, not knowing which way is up, struggling to breathe.

On my break I pass another homeless man on my way to the shop. He is sat with his legs out, against the wall, shuffling this way and that. He is trying to get his behind onto a thin strip of cardboard, warmer (moderately) than the cold stone of the ground. The cardboard strip is so small. He's trying to find the placement that causes the least pain. Every option causes some pain.

I think about him as I walk on, and returning I offer him one of my cookies. He nods. I open the packet and hand him two. He tucks them into an inner fleece pocket. I don't know what to say so I leave.

The ground is hard. It is cold. The leaves are falling and they are red and bronze and brown.

Everything you have ever seen is made of universe. All matter is patterns moving at speed.

Know this. Sense this. Walk on.

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