Not being there

No, I wasn’t at the event.

I didn’t read the liberty news on the train, free of the clasping jaws of the usual day, instead of the meeting action list.

I didn’t pause to collect the badge of awkwardness that I wear in my eyes as well as crooked on my lapel.

The promotional bag wasn’t mine to fumble through and discard all but the memory stick that I could stand in the drawer like the terracotta army. So much storage, so little data when it’s all just ideas.

I didn’t wonder at the discomfort of the opening stand, butter in a cold pan.

I didn’t feel the dislocation of the division bell, called from an entangled conversation to my seat, the momentary disorientation.

I didn’t feel the acupuncture of slides, the linearity of the message, the scattering of bullets on a marble floor.

I didn’t tangle with the ubiquitous frustration of the escherian stairs, the eternal ascent towards something meaningful, a stepping off point in which I could settle.

I wasn’t called on to juggle my thoughts, reflections, plate, napkin and glass with the struggle of searching for those I know, or those I don’t. And I didn’t have to worry about eating horseradish by mistake.

I didn’t wonder if I had been held underwater for longer than my burning lungs and scrambling claustrophobia could handle, such was my need for breathable daylight.

I didn’t feel the creases slowly stitching into my face as the day grew colder, and as the call of the mythical early train emptied the room.

And my spine didn’t ache from shifting in ever decreasing circles in a chair design for a set square, counting the loss of feeling one disc at a time, until the ache pillowed the spoken word.

I didn’t drink too much wine on too much coffee on too much expectation, and wonder whether next year I would expect less, consume less, and listen more.

No, I wasn’t at the event.

Was it good?


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