17 October 2011

An Excerpt From A Letter To Hannah

It's just a few minutes past five-o-clock, and when it's sunny like today is I like to sit out on the front steps of my apartment where the setting sun is unblocked by buildings. I sit there and watch all the cars stack up on the streetall the people headed home from their long day at work. They all look rushedin a hurry to get home and be off the clock, maybe eat some dinner, call up a friend, or plop down in front of the tv. I'm already home. I've been here all day, by myself, alone.

I'm never quite sure which of us is happierme, already at home, off the clock, or them, headed there, on their way. Eh. Who cares but me? And who's to say who is happier? Who's to compare? And why is there any comparison? They have their lives, and I have mine. I have a typewriter waiting for me next to a cup of tea. That should be good enough for me.

I can look at anyone sitting there in their cars and imagine that they are rushing home to finally get the chance to sit at their own typewriters. I wonder what they might be rushing home to write? Are they working on a novel, or writing a letter to a friend like me? Are they fighting writer's block, or are they typing away franticallybursting with words and ideas for more words? Getting to it right awaytelling their loved ones, or roommates, don't bother me, I'm writing!

One of them is writing a story about their day at the office, trying to understand what just happened to them. Another is just sitting there feeling the plastic keys with his fingertips, wondering if he can ever get up the nerve to explain how they feel. To him they feel captivating.

And another is writing a suicide note, not because they want to commit suicide, but to show themselves the words that would be read if they were to be found dead tomorrow, or whenever, because it wouldn't really matter anyway because they would be dead and they wouldn't care about anything by then.

And another is more light-hearted in their approach. She runs home to write jokes, and while she writes them she imagines herself in front of a large studio audience saying just the right words to make them all laugh simultaneously while wondering simultaneously why they're all laughing. Later she will read what she wrote back to herself to see if her words work on her. When it's a success she will laugh herself to sleep. Unfortunately, when it's not, it has the opposite effect. She knows that it's a risk, but tonight she is feeling able to risk it.

And then there is me.

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