Thursday, October 16, 2008


I do not want to see that wild hair again, yellowed like old elephant tusk. I do not want to see those thin fingers rake compulsively through it. How many times during that hour did that gesture flash by? As many times, perhaps, as I tried not to think about his sunken teeth, yellowed like his white hair, seen between lips also sunken and sere. As many times as I curbed a desire to leave. Now. Just get up, and go, nevermind my witness. As many times as I prayed for patience. As many times as my mind reached for replies that never reached my mouth, because of the river of words pouring from his pale lips.

He talked and talked, and never came to a point. He repeated the same words, the same phrases, entire paragraphs: contextualist, literalist, C.S. Lewis once said, That's like asking which side of the scissor is more important. Works. Pauline, Petrean, Your Communion says. If they had understood, Eat his flesh and drink his blood. The Third Council, the Nineth Council, in 310, in 321, in 68, not the Nineth Council, that was later. Peter II is the last book, not the Revelations, Revelations is not the last book. Chronologically.

His lips never rested. Even when no sound emerged, they gaped and stirred, unable to stem the flow of words for long. Words and words flooded out again, in that peculiar accent. I had to focus all my attention to catch those blurry-bordered words falling from his shriveled mouth, as his thin, thin hands repeated the same wild gestures, trying to remember, remember.

I would like not to remember. I do not want to see, even in my mind, that greasy white hair, or that faded denim jacket/shirt/pants. Especially, I do not want to see those crouching, blurred teeth, or those restless lips.

What I would like to see is the purpose of that hour. Please tell me, with clean white teeth in a mouth that does not reek of tobacco and that does not judge. Please tell me, and I will try to listen. I am good at listening, even when the speaker is not good at talking. Please.

No comments: