I've been reading the stories of Linh Dinh and a woman whose name escapes me at the moment but probably begins with a “d” as well. Their prose is so lovely and rich and touching and it makes me want to create stories of my own.
I want to sit here in the university library cafe and make the person sitting across from me reading come to life. I want to give him the gift of fictional epiphany; or draw out a moment in his day that will explain him or give his otherwise pathetic life meaning.
He pauses momentarily to glance about him. Somehow he had the distinct feeling he was being watched . . . there was that sort of hovering, heavy air invading his space that made him feel slightly pushed at. His eyes darted about quickly: three women on laptops to the West; a girl writing to the South; another woman to the north looking suspiciously unoccupied. He watches her get up and adjust her clothing before she walks away.
Was it her?
He goes back to his reading, really only looking at the print on the page as he reassesses the air in his immediate atmosphere.
Glancing back over his right shoulder, he tells himself he's being ridiculous. Also, he thinks to himself, the person positioned South-East of me really oughta turn down his fucking music. It's a library, for fuck's sake. No one needs to have their headphones so loud that people approximately 22 feet away cannot only hear it but pin down the time signature, tempo and genre.
I fucking hate goddamn hip hop.
He returned to his reading, jotting down a few keywords as he skimmed the page: panopticon; adolescent peer orientation. He absently rubbed his left thumb against his scruffy upper lip—peer pressure.
He sat there looking completely ordinary in his thoughtless big-bird-yellow pullover fleece and Giants baseball cap. His hair was buzzed the same length all the way around; his face showed signs of having been shaved about 3 days ago. Maybe. He was a right-handed, 22-year-old child development major from Orange County—come all the way up here to escape the bros and hos and secretly mommy and daddy—just like 43% of the rest of the student population.
But why the Giants cap? Faded black, with a 4-inch by 2-inch ovular stain on the seam between the bill and the cap: this Giants cap made him comfortable.
He thoughtlessly adjusted it, quickly lifting it off of his head and replacing it exactly where it was before. There'ss nothing like a quick burst of fresh air on a slightly-sweaty head that is constantly hugged by a musty old security cap.
Really though, the hat made him feel like he could keep his thoughts in.
He looked to his left, accidentally making eye contact with the writing girl to the South.
Why is she looking at me?
His right ear started to ring—always a sure sign someone's talking about you . . . he stared blankly to to front.
How long has she been there?
I've been reading the stories of Linh Dinh and a woman whose name I still cannot remember. Their words put worlds in my head and make me want to make more. Record them so that other might glimpse into them with me. The sweet thing is the knowledge that we're all just interpretations of energy anyway. Thousands of worlds in a 4-inch by 2-inch ovular stain in the seam of a faded black Giants cap that is keeping the thoughts in the sweating head of a boy-man with bad taste in fleece pullovers.