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                            . 
The Sum

by Paul Kesler

 

When you have descended the stone steps at the front of your house, that is one item. Unbeknownst to you, the effect is being calculated. The way the stone has been cut, whether the steps are one or two inches too high or too low, will affect not the steps, but the way they converse with your destiny.

On your way out the yard, the cracks in the patio will draw your attention. Straight or jagged, no matter. They'll be measured, the discourse of interaction noted. The phone wires, the insects that crawl at your feet, may participate --- marginal conspirators, surely, but nonetheless present.

At some point, about mid-evening, you will reach for a spot itching in the lower part of your back. You'll smile. Two more items that will not escape.

As you walk the streets, you'll look up, down, a dog will bark, you'll be startled by the sunset, arrested, momentarily, by the glare of a marquee. You'll laugh at a cartoon glimpsed from the newspaper of an old man in the park, contemplate the roll of a pretty girl's behind, flinch at a trolley's thunder. When you get to the station, the way the windows catch the moon as the train sails by, or toss its reflection through the rush and the wind -- all will be calculated.

By the time you return around midnight, many items will be seized upon, rendered, received --- pedestrians glimpsed, drivers passed, lights that have flashed, sounds that have ticked, droned, roared. Smells that have wafted, tastes savored. All sifted, measured --- tossed in the machine.

But this is not the game you thought it was. At some point, the items will blend, a concoction of circumstantial elements. What finishes you may be the film you watched when you were twelve years old, or the argument you had when you were 32, near the end of May. If the film had been four minutes shorter, you might have had another five years. The argument, had you avoided it, might have spared you the crash at 60.

There is no point pondering these matters. If you had started early enough, you might have learned the rules. It's too late now. You might as well get up tomorrow and breathe like you always do, not act as if fate is concerned.

It is not concerned.


to Paul  ~  to Moongate