You know, don't you, what we're doing here? The evening laid out like a beach ball gone airless. We're watching the spectators in the bleachers. The one in the blue shirt says, "I knew, even as a child, that my mind was adding color to the moment." The one in red says, "In the dream, there was a child batting a ball back and forth. He was chanting that awful rhyme about time that eventually ends with the body making a metronome motion." By way of demonstration, he moves mechanically side to side while making a clicking noise. His friends look away. They all know how a metronome goes. You and I continue to watch because we have nothing better to do. We wait for the inevitable next: we know the crowd will rise to its feet when prompted and count— one-one-hundred, two-one-hundred, three-one-hundred—as if history were a sound that could pry apart an ever-widening abyss with a sea on the bottom. And it will go on like this. The crowd will quiet when the sea reaches us.
Copyright © 2010 by Mary Jo Bang. Used with permission of the author.