Were it not for life, which hit her quite surprisingly and inconveniently, M would have never realized her shrouded existence could lead to something. Anything. As if days had meaning beyond the allotted twenty-four hours. Or that the sun was also rising from the blue for her.
Thank you. But M was happy with her invisible existence.
If nothing ever mattered, or if what mattered could be described by her as not being such, then she was ok with the passing of days. You see, M realised early on that she was a number amongst many. And not any special number, like for instance, 8. That number did have meaning for M. 8 is the number of times she thought about things. 8 is the times she checked whether the door was closed at night. She might have opened it herself at try number 8; but by 8, she would have thought about it enough times for it to not matter. Open or closed, if something had to happen, it would anyways.
So yes, M was a number, but not 8. 8 is infinite and knows that it is. Other numbers don’t and that’s what makes them of no matter. She was one of the rest. She knew but she was still a blind number like the rest. It’s easier to be no one forever, rather than struggle to be someone for a little while. She almost laughed at the effort others made in this regard. Fools.
M lived alone. Back when she turned 8, blew her 8 black candles, nodded to her 8 guests and collected her 8 adjectives, she realized she had everything and after 8 trails of thought, decided that, yes, nothing mattered.
So when at twenty, she checked the door to her apartment, and found, at the 8th try, that it was open, she still went to sleep. Even if the sirens glared too bright, raised voices barked, swearing bounced and windows broke, she still closed her eyes. At 8, when cracks of light sifted through the thorn blackened net of the ventilator shaft, she would awake. And soon enough, it would be 8 again, and she would sleep. For infinity is long, and she had to be well-trained in the art of patient existence.
But once, before the first light broke through, something else broke in. And it was uncomfortable but she still had the upper hand. For you see, she was not there and he was trying too hard. Too much effort for a second of euphoric filth. When the 8th thrust was something of the past, when the coarse hand no longer added an unneeded barrier to her sounds and when hurried heavy footsteps did a round in her empty space and slammed the cold grey door, she simply stared.
When M had turned 9; when no candles were blown and there were neither guests nor adjectives, a being had found her in a corner of the school yard, next to the 8 sprawled in inky residue on the far end wall. She counted 8 blows, then stopped. Each blow was knowledge to the core, the first 8 were enough for her to know. With every blow a thought and that day she won. Pain is fleeting, infinity’s not.
When at 8 the silently loud night gave way to the first shards of light, she got up. Her eyes had been open from the first sound of that course step. The first movement almost reminded her of pain, the red stains almost caught her eye. But 8 thoughts later, it did not matter, and she tried the door another 8 times. This time, the 8 brought a close, and it remained so, for the bed is where she stayed.
As days passed, and as floating to her numb cloud proved heavier, the 8th month came. Blanketed in her faded flowery quilt, she left what had become her lair of wait. The earth had also shrouded itself. White snow deeply tainted with grubby grey. Impure, limited, expecting warm rays to return to its original state. Unlike the individual flakes that attached to their sort, she could reach her infinity earlier than constrained snow.
Life had caught up with M, but M could not tackle life. It jumped on her surprisingly and inconveniently. She could no longer wait patiently for her own infinity. The infinite oblivion which she so craved had to be struggled for. Her last steps attest to this. Exhausted and withdrawn, her insides crumbling piece by piece she extended her hand and felt; felt the air, empty and cold.
One thump, one splash, two bodies to add to the rest.
M and her unborn. They washed up on Pier 8 early at dawn.
Gone’s her invisibility. Because that’s what the newsboy blared.
Featured Image: The Rape of Persephone, Versailles