Apart From, A Part Of
Emptiness. The emptiness had a texture. The man could feel the texture of the emptiness every time he visited. The silence and the darkness had a texture the man could feel. The man could embrace. That embraced the man.
The man dreamed of emptiness. The man often dreamed of the emptiness and its silence and its darkness. Its texture and its embrace. The man dreamed again of the emptiness and he wished to remain in the emptiness. But his dream always ended with a waking. Whenever he visited the emptiness in his dream, he knew his visit would end with a waking. About the time the man began to think he could remain in the emptiness without waking, he woke up.
The man woke up. Again.
The man wondered how many times he had woken up in his life. He wondered how many times he had woken up and how many times he had woken up from his dream of emptiness. From his embrace with emptiness. The man never remembered his longing for emptiness until long after he woke up.
The man remained in the place where he dreamed and woke up for some time. How long, he did not know. Not long enough for the darkness to turn to light.
The man lay thinking. The man lay in the darkness thinking about many things but nothing in particular. He was no longer in the emptiness. The darkness of morning was different than the darkness of emptiness. Its texture was different. Its silence was different.
The man lay thinking in the morning silence and the morning darkness. He could feel the place where he lay, and he could feel that the place where he lay did not embrace him. The man felt separate from the place where he lay. The texture of morning did not embrace him like the texture of emptiness did.
The man lay in the place where he had been embraced by emptiness but now lay separate from the texture of morning.
A part of. Apart from.
The man could feel he was a part of the emptiness, but he felt he was apart from the world of the morning. All the mornings of the world could not embrace him like the embrace of emptiness—of the peculiar texture of emptiness.
The man could feel the light. The man had risen before the sun for as long as he could remember, and he could feel when the dawn’s light appeared in the east as well as anyone with eyes could see it.
The man felt apart from the light. The man felt apart from the world of light. He wished he could feel as much a part of the light and the world of the light as he felt a part of the emptiness and the texture of the emptiness, but the man did not know how. The man wished he could feel embraced by the light and the light of the world—the world of the light—as well as he felt embraced by the emptiness, but no matter how much he wished it, it did not happen. So he wished even more intensely that he could remain in the embrace of emptiness forever. A part of emptiness instead of apart from the world of light.
The man lay in the place where he lay while he felt the light increasing in the east. He would rise soon and begin his day. But not yet. The man lay in the place where he lay and he felt that the woman was missing. The woman was not lying in the place where he lay.
She did not lay in the place where the man lay because the man did not have a woman. She did not exist. Or if she did, the man had not found her yet. As far as the man knew, the woman did not exist except as the empty longing he felt each morning when he woke up to the world of light and found the woman still missing. He felt her lying beside him, but when he looked at the place where she should be, she was not there. When he reached for her, she was not there.
The man did not feel the longing for the missing woman when he visited the emptiness. He only felt the longing when he woke up in the morning and found the woman missing.
The man wondered if the woman existed at all. Anywhere. The man wondered what she looked like. He wondered how tall she was and what color her hair. He wondered what she looked like naked and he wondered how erotic she was.
The man could feel the light continue to rise in the morning sky. Soon the sun would appear on the eastern horizon. Soon, but not yet.
The man felt apart from the woman. He felt apart from the object of his longing, and he felt apart from his longing as well. Nothing about the woman or his longing for the woman made him feel a part of the world of light. The woman and his longing for the woman only made him feel apart from the world of light. The woman and his longing for the woman made him long for the emptiness and the embrace of emptiness, but he would have to wait for night to embrace emptiness again. So the man longed all the more to embrace the missing woman.
The man embraced himself. The man embraced himself, and he forgot about the missing woman.
The man sat up. He sat up in the place where he had slept and had dreamed and had woken up. He sat up and tried to guess how soon the sun would appear over the eastern horizon. The man looked outside and saw that the sun would appear soon on the eastern horizon, but not yet.
The man thought about lying down again, but the place where he slept looked cold, and it was empty, so he went to the place where he cleaned himself, and he cleaned himself. The man cleaned himself as he always cleaned himself in the morning before sunrise. As he cleaned himself and as he prepared himself for another day of work.
The man did not think about anything while he cleaned himself. He cleaned himself as his routine dictated, not with any creative flourish. He cleaned himself and when he was clean, he put on his clothes.
The man thought nothing of his clothes. His clothes were his work clothes and he wore them as tools. He took care of them, but he did not think much about them. He just put them on.
The man had already accomplished four things that morning. He had woken up, he had forgotten about the missing woman, he had cleaned himself, and he had put on his clothes. And all before the sun had joined the world of light.
The day was a success if the man had completed those four things before the sun appeared. The man had no other measure of success. And having found his success so early in the day, the rest of the day would be easier to bear.
The man had mostly forgotten the emptiness and he had completely forgotten the missing woman and his longing for her by the time he left the place where he slept and entered the place where he prepared his food.
The man was hungry.
To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.