The flowers are creeping up against the dirty windows. The windows are dirty inside and out, you can run a finger through the muck. You look away from the window, back to your book, you crawl mind-first back in to this thing that someone else has made, this wordy structure. Reading, you bite in to the soft cake and it doesn’t make a sound – nor do the crumbs that fall on your jumper.
Just which activities are there, you wonder, that don’t involve reading?
You can’t remember the last time you did anything that didn’t involve communicating, or being communicated to, using the written word. Or maybe sometimes communicating (or being communicated to) via the spoken word, but what is the spoken word but the written word read out loud?
Even when you are writing you are actually reading. You watch the words appearing on the page, barely glancing at the hands that are hitting the keys or moving the pen, though they are in front of you so you can still see that they keep on moving. Sometimes it seems the words just appear at the exact same time as you are thinking them, and that seems like a neat trick, a thrilling skill when you stop to think about it – though stopping to think about it throws you off balance, and you have to stop until you are not thinking about it.
You take another bite of the soft cake and again it doesn’t make a sound. You try to type without making a sound, but the keyboard is not made of cake so it isn’t silent. Reading something sounds of nothing. An email is quieter than a phone call.
The phone rings and it distracts you from your reading – you answer it but there is no script from which to read so you just have to make it up as you go. Once these words are said, they stick, it is not possible to go back and delete and rearrange and revise. But then they disappear, popping out of existence as soon as they have left your mouth.
You read things you find interesting, but everything seems interesting, you wonder if you have a bug or a mite or a parasite, something that has made you malfunction in this way. But a direct enemy of this is your powers of concentration, or what seems to be a lack of them. Maybe you have another bug or mite or parasite, and this one is in direct competition with the bug or mite or parasite that is making you take an interest in so many things. You’re basically a walking war zone.
Even when you put away any reading materials and writing materials, and there is no one around to talk to and no radio or television on which to listen to people talking… when you are just alone with your own thoughts, these still come out as words, words you are thinking and reading with your mind.
The flowers are creeping up against the window. You take another bite of the soft cake and it makes no sound, except for the absence of sound that forms the words that make a sound in your brain, the confirmation that it makes ‘no sound.’