31 May 2012

Casablanca Class

A dark hole appeared in the fabric of the ceiling as I passed. A dark, rectangular hole – more like an aperture that had been crafted by unseen hands than a hole that had appeared as if by force or by accident. The hole seemed to vibrate and call in a silent voice. It did not say “carrera,” as I had expected, but rather called a name I did not recognize, save for it being my own. My own name. A name I had never known. A name I had been given. My name.

The name seemed sweet and holy, yet I listened for only a moment. I paused, stepped forward, and then stopped. The aperture in the fabric of the ceiling led to something, I was sure, and it beckoned. Beckoned. It beckoned, but not forcefully in the least, and as I looked over my shoulder at the dark hole, it seemed to be more sad than ominous. My father had once encouraged me to look with cautious optimism toward such holes in the space-time continuum or in the fabric of reality, as he had once done this very thing while aboard a large naval vessel near a small atoll in the South Pacific. People were trying to kill one another in the distance, and a dark hole appeared above my father, who paused, and then listened to it while looking at it, likewise, over his shoulder.

I looked with cautious optimism at this hole, owing to my father's advice, and I tried to listen all the more closely as I stood motionless in the hallway. My father had heard the voice that day near the atoll, and he eventually took to heart the name spoken by his aperture. I decided that I, too, would stand quietly and listen, but as I did so the silent voice grew even more quiet – beyond silence and beyond longing, for I was beyond longing and the day was growing old. The voice repeated my name; it made a quiet 'pip' as if kissing the air; it was gone.

I turned full around to look at the dark hole, and saw nothing but the chipped-paint ceiling and the cobwebs and the dust mites and the dog hair and the pale, pale rot of time. I took my name in hand and walked beyond a small Pacific atoll – far, far beyond a small Pacific atoll.

And every day, for all eternity, I walk back across the water and strain to hear my father's name.

Don't you?

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