Flavorology‎ > ‎Flavor in Space‎ > ‎

Chapter 45

Sometimes in the lonely black, words are sent out, long and slender, glistening in starlight.  They adhere to capsules, floating junk, ships, and people.   Strung together, they become lifelines, webs hanging, nearly invisible.

For some, these words are lies.  Crawling along in the dark, they pull themselves through space hand over hand, foot over foot, clinging desperately to the web.

I found myself feeling my way across one of these webs.  At the center the lines and patterns became a mesh, a mat, a sack, a blanket and there, lying at the center was a human being, a beating heart.  The rhythm of the beating matched my own and, seduced by a kindred human spirit, I rested there, with my legs, hands, and back on that webbed blanket, sinking in.  I tried to move but my legs were sluggish, my hands were entangled.  The more I struggled, the more the I sank in, sticky web looping around my chest and neck, now slimy and glistening.

Now I cut myself free, and I'm falling.  Back to my own world, back to the surface.

I land in this old garden.  I sit in the half dark of the night on this old wooden balcony, black and smooth from generations of feet.

The sky is all grey and orange.  Patter of rain falls into this gloom.  When I came here first almost a year ago, I moved the rocks of the garden a bit.  It was an old patch of mud and trees before, a back yard, an unused spot for the collection of broken roof tiles, planters, shells, rusty sheet metal, and half rotten wooden boards.  I moved the stones to open up a channel for a river, a small piece of an endlessly flowing river.  White water rushing soundlessly under the house, under the neighbors houses, slipping around rocks, boulders, stepping stones, mountains, ferns, and the old hairy palm tree that was once crawling with caterpillars.  The soundless river slips by it all, and then on under the next house where the old servant lives and cooks delicious smells every evening.  The river plunges down under screens and reed blinds.  It flows over the bones of dead, hastily buried after the plague.  The white river rushes by, endlessly cleaning the bones in the mud and gravel and the gloom and the half dark.

I long to leave my little perch and dive into the foam, dip under the surface, and learn the forbidden secrets.  But I know, now my place is here on the old causeway, sitting in the garden, listening to the rain.

From the web in the dark above, my friend sends down a line.  She climbs down to dangle on the silver tendril, on haunches.  I don't notice her until she calls my name.  Her eyes are wide, her face is innocent and she says she was scared, alone in the dark.

From my gloom I look across at those starlit eyes and I know that sitting here in the garden is not nearly as scary as climbing back into that web.

I draw some soundless white water and wash the glistening slime from my insides and out .  I know I will have to bathe many more times.  The guck of one web easily becomes a catalyst for more, spun from my own saliva coated words.