Abnormally, every once in a while, Valene would cast a glance his way. And then she would come to her senses. Everything would be all right again. When she caught herself doing that it was like the house adhered to her lungs and it contracted and expanded with her breathing. Space once more.
Valene: The inner and the outer are separated. Where they belong. You feel the gap. You know what is meant by that. Don't even try to pretend you don't understand. Each time the system slips just a little, there will be less tolerance. Mind your gestures. Mind your thoughts. The more room that is made for the gap the less room there will be for oversight and the less than perfect indifference. Erasing the clumsy and wasteful. Soon to be forever replaced by perpetual silence in a digitally controlled environment. No more contact with the structure. It will remain in the back of your head. That empty head of yours. You'll never be like them. Your far removed relatives of nature. Possessors of perfect instinct. You lost it thousands and thousands of years ago. Now you must go to the very end of the line. Time will never tell. Let them be your example. Role models. Ideal specimens. The genuine article. Come here to your love.
Valene sticks a long serving fork into a steak and places it carefully onto the dog's plate. She then generously scoops tuna onto the cat's plate. Both animals rush to their plates and begin fighting.
Valene: Your place settings are still too close together. Huh? Apologies.
She manages to separate the animals and moves their place settings further apart.
Valene: It's all your fault. How could you be so careless and let your attitude affect them? How many times does it need to be beaten into you that they are sensitive to the disorganized nervous systems of non-animals? When will you learn? It's like speaking to the wall. It's like speaking to every wall in every room that makes up every corner in this this house and getting the same lack of response. Lack of response. Leaves one exasperated and at one's wits end. Running out of questions to ask. Seem to be asking the same questions over and over. Getting old. They're getting old. The two of them. They get more bitter every day. Hard to miss. Before you know it, they'll drift apart. The space will grow. The gap will become obese and unfillable. You wouldn't even be capable of knowing what to do with that. You can't even be expected to comprehend things at this disintegrated stage. Just wait until the fragments start disappearing. They'll ride off on the lint in the sunlight. Then it'll be overcast more often than not. You'll be begging for their growling at your sorry ass. You'll regret your ignorance and insensitivity. You'll regret your vacillations. All that pathetic rolling over and giving in. All that bending of your back. Your condition. You did it to yourself. If you bend your back, they'll climb over it and keep you down. They'll keep you in a lower position. A smaller position. An obsequious position. A more compromising position. They'll hold you down in a lower position until your bent back breaks from the strain. You'll lay in some dark and neglected corner somewhere. The memory of standing up straight will be outside you. Outside you in a condemned and wrecked fence of torn vertebrae. Nothing for it, but to be chewed on by the dog. Your condition. Your condition. Pah! Likely story. Just as unbelievable as all the excuses and stories you've given for years. Glad they can't be recalled. Good for whatever is left of posterity that they will vanish never to be retold. The forgetting of them feels as invigorating as the sensation one has in one's hands from slapping your caved in face. The appropriate abode for you to retreat within your fallen frame of what no longer can be described. Or named. Or for that matter. No matter.
- Max Stoltenberg