Monday, August 2, 2010

Meditations on Sorrow by Justin McAfee

***NOTE FOR REVIEWERS*** This is an experimental piece told entirely through setting in an attempt to elevate the object over the subject. What I want from reviewers is a way to further expand this piece and possibly reduce any confusion. The entire story is told from the reflection within a tear. Thanks!

Meditations on Sorrow

Along the lower concavity of her tear, the reflection of a spider web is seen.

There are fourteen strands spreading out from a center with a collection of concentric circles connecting these strands, within which are a variety of quadrilateral shapes. The innermost circle broke the pattern by hosting triangular shapes (each triangle having the same vertex as the next with the two outer-points being connected by the line of the quadrilateral following it). There are forty five quadrilaterals: 14 strands with roughly nine or eight or ten quadrilaterals within each row. Eighteen triangles are derived from the web; the center holding fourteen, plus four individual triangles randomly placed with the corners of the quadrilaterals.

The spider web is in the furthest corner of the room, where the north and west walls meet the ceiling. The strands of web stretching out from the core of the configuration are stuck to the walls and ceiling. Four strands connect to the northern wall, six strands to the eastern wall, and the remaining four to the ceiling. This uneven series of connections makes the web curve slightly outward from its own weight.

The walls are a dark wood which brings out the glowing silver of the fragile fibers. A light hanging in the center of the room reflects along the lowest most portion of the gossamer. A vent makes the mesh of shapes blow in the wind so that, it would seem, at any moment its destruction would occur. The vent protruded from the northern wall underneath a window. It had two sets of nine rectangular slits divided by a middle barrier. This reflected, in the very same manner, the division of the window into four equal squares, which were then divided by four smaller squares in order to create a total of sixteen frames.

In the window, a reflection of the opposite wall can be made out. The left side of the wall reveals a door which leads into the hallway. The door is of a solid, dark-stained wood with a shining brass doorknob. Situated almost six inches above the knob is the lock. The door can be opened by turning the knob either forty-five degrees to the left, or forty-five degrees to the right. The door closes with a thud.

The thud rattles a picture hanging on the wall to the left of the door. It is encased in a fine, decorative frame. The picture is of a woman standing alone in a room with a tear in her eye. She is in front of a window directly opposite the door and the faint shadow of a hand closing the door can be seen. It can be assumed by the rigidity and calluses that the hand belongs to an adult male. In the corner of the room is a spider web.

The spider web is an elaborate series of connected strands arranged in an almost kaleidoscopic sequence. It was constructed by a meticulous organism keen to detail and absent from the web. It is hidden somewhere in the cracks of the room.

The woman looks to the spider web, then to the window, and finally back to the door, now shut.

The artist pays particularly close attention to the way in which the light reflects off of her tear situated in the corner of her eye. His craftsmanship allows for the observer to play the scene out in their mind’s eye without straying from the canvas itself. The painting borders on life; even the spider’s presence can be felt in the hollow cracks of the room.

Air comes out of the lungs, through the trachea, and into the larynx causing a vibration in the vocal folds. A process of alternately trapping air and releasing it begins. Each release sends a little puff of air into the pharynx; each puff of air is the beginning of a sound wave. The sound wave is enhanced as it travels through the pharynx; by the time it leaves the mouth, it sounds like a voice. A voice that trails off within the room, filling the crevices and cracks and corners.

A door shuts. Silence. A spider wheels back. The empty web blows from the vent.

A tear falls from her cheek, the image vanishes.

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