Ambiguity


Just as easily as one walks through a doorway and into another room, so did Jacob enter into a relationship with a young woman, whom he had met sometime at someplace. She arose out of non-being, arms wide, a yellow hat and a yellow coat—but with bright red shoes, providing both a contrast and a question. An exact date is impossible; sometime in the springtime, just before everything starts growing, when the birds sing from leafless trees and the grass is dead and brown.  Just as easily as one walks from one’s apartment to the space outside, Jacob crisscrossed a nearby park and watched the dim sun trying to raise itself higher in the sky.

Out of non-being arose a woman, slender, in a red coat that stretched down to her knees. She walked in front him and passed and, as he was sitting on a bench staring across a small pond, she disappeared back into the nothingness from which she arose. He had not glanced at her but had only noticed the red coat. A particular absence left in her wake; he waited for his own young woman, whom he had agreed to meet in the park.

“Jacob!”

He turned, and she walked, skipping almost in the same red shoes. She approached and stood in front of him, filling the whole of his vision.

“Hello!” he almost shouted.

Objects have a tendency to fill our being. Even in rather expansive moments, when, perhaps, we stare at the stars and wonder about the filaments in the nightsky, questioning what and why—though distraction is never far away. Indeed, the danger in such moments is that they leave us too quickly. A hole replaces them. Loss is felt. Even grief maybe, at one end of the spectrum.

They hugged.

Cecilia looked over Jacob’s shoulder and saw a pigeon eating something off the ground.

They stepped back from each other.

Between the two existed a certain harmony. Jacob recognized Cecilia and she recognized him. Out of this recognition both stood firm.

“You got the job?” Cecilia asked, looking Jacob in the eyes.

Involuntarily Jacob gazed passed the pond again.

“No, not yet. I still have another interview. I will. I’m confident.”

They walked arm in arm around the park.

Cecilia assumed that Jacob had already started his job. She was disappointed that he still had another interview. Feeling in her jacket pocket, she fumbled for a cigarette and lighter, then lit it, releasing herself from Jacob’s arm.

“Do you see that woman in front of us?” she asked.

“The one with the red coat?”

“Yes, that one. I saw her earlier. She was walking very strangely, almost with a limp. And her face was even worse. She had the strangest smile. Almost twisted, one side of her face was limp and the other turned up. Like a stroke victim.”

“I didn’t notice, but I did see her.”

Cecilia took a drag off her cigarette and blew out the smoke and expanded, evaporating into the air.

“All around these people find us. We’re surrounded by the surreal and the strange. Can’t you feel it? It’s spreading.”

Cecilia had inhaled her cigarette rather quickly, with a shaky hand. She glanced nervously around.

“I just see people. What’s so strange? Are you nervous?”

Jacob turned and looked around the park. An old couple sat silently on a bench, both hunched over; the man had a low-hanging hat and the woman curly gray hair that meandered in the breeze. She clutched a handbag.

“I don’t understand,” Jacob said.

“We’re not talkers,” she said.

Jacob looked at her; she refused to look back. The sun reached towards the apex of the sky (ultimately it will miss it, in the coming hour). Light suffused the air with a gray-white, though clear, haze.

Jacob remained silent. Some moments have a sense of foreboding, an awkwardness sometimes punctuated by anxiety and the desire to speak, act, or move. Suggestions can follow; usually the moment is surpassed by just such a suggestion: “Let’s go here.” Or perhaps “Care for a drink?” This moment, however, stretched into an abyss between the two. Silently the two looked at each other, neither really seeing each other and neither thinking about what was happening between them. Neither felt awkward or otherwise felt a need to change the situation. No goals. No plans. Nothing.

Finally Cecilia spoke, though not out of a desire to end the situation.

“You know I have something to tell you.”

“I know,” replied Jacob.

Jacob gazed at Cecilia with tenderness. Her shaky hands, her red shoes, and her yellow coat. She was young and short—almost a foot shorter than he was. Her eyes were black orbs, with a little brown around the edges of her pupils. Her cheeks were red; the tip of her nose turned downward.

“We’re not talkers,” she said again. And again, Jacob remained silent. A thin pause—and this one was the kind of pause that became awkward, a hole needing to be filled. Vast yet quick.

“I had an abortion yesterday,” she said. Her eyes flickered and she looked passed Jacob at the old couple on the bench. Jacob remained frozen. Her hands were still shaking.

“I didn’t know–” started Jacob, shocked.

“I didn’t tell you,” interrupted Cecilia.

Jacob breathed deep.

“We’re not talkers,” repeated Cecilia.

“What does that even mean, ‘We’re not talkers’? I don’t understand anything you’re saying.”

“There,” she said, pointing at the couple. “Can’t you see them?”

“I see them,” said Jacob, looking over but without understanding why.

“Everything, everyone, is so strange. The sounds are surreal. The air is off somehow. Even you…” she said, trailing off

She looked directly at him, face-to-face. Taking him in.

“I’m off?” asked Jacob. “What’s so strange? You had an abortion without telling me? What is going on with you?”

Cecilia kept her eyes on Jacob and fumbled for another cigarette. Never taking her eyes off him, she lit it and blew out a stream of smoke.

“Everything is so strange,” she said, her eyes sinking and falling into some abyss. “But,” she paused, tilting her head, “you’re the only thing that isn’t.”

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One Response to Ambiguity

  1. Hassie says:

    A watt range from 200 to 400 is needed if you want a brighter chandelier.
    Give more storage space to your room by getting new nightstands and bed tables.
    A handyman might not have the skill to do home improvements.

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