Saturday 13 January 2024

Royal sessions [9.30.1998]

I searched the dials for intelligence and found none. I stopped at the Chicago Press to pick up a letter and took the bandana off my head. One woman stared at my birds nest. She was old enough to have given birth to me. I stared back at her and noticed a touch of fear like she was worried the untamed mess might reach out and strangle her in this antique elevator which was no more than a cage in a shaft with shiny buttons smelling of oil and grease. There are many of these in the art district near north of Chicago. Here was an attendant sitting on a stool who operated the thing and I imagine whose secondary role was to watch over idiots or children tempted to extend limbs through the collapsible metal gates in the back and front. As we ascended he began fiddling with a small battery-powered radio searching for intelligence or a clear signal. Sometimes I get a feeling like elevator attendants are one with the elevators over which they preside. I know it's fucked up but I imagine they never have to leave, they have no appetites no urges no homes; that they occupy a time and space curled back on itself like an eyelash with super hold mascara: a complete circle, inseparable, unitive. I loved being in there with them and my birds nest. For a sacred moment my problems went away. The lady who could have given birth to me didn't ruin it with words. Her perfume was pungent and as offensive as my head. When I reached my floor I followed the signs in the hallways and everything went black and white. I'm in a Perry Mason episode. The frosted glass. The long quiet halls of oriental rug. The Times New Roman fonts. The antique lamps lighting the way. Film noir. A lady at a desk had my letter but it wasn't a letter. It's an architectural firm and a blueprint safely rolled inside a cardboard tube. Hazel eyes. A streak of gray in her brown hair styled around her round face. She smiles. They are not alike. I would have said this morning they are all alike but they are not. She saw something in me which I could not see in myself. A becoming? How mysterious. I did not dare ask because like many things it's better not to know. I prodded the truth and it did not yet hurt, not like the white lies. Not like the black coals that taught cats how to dance. I will hold on to this smile because it's the only one I'm going to get on this ten hour shift which will end far out past the suburbs on a deep stretch of highway, inhaling midwest farmland.   by #katyamills

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