The Inconsolable (excerpt)



Having realised that there is nothing to attain, he was left with trying to avoid the unavoidable.

An utter failure of the intellect.

A feeling as if everything would collapse with each passing instant. But apparently nothing had changed. Though he suspected such was not the case.

Not seeing light, only obstructions.

It appeared that neither the world’s bitterness nor its joy had any effect upon the other.

Too much sadness and hate.

Striving for humility, each failure appeared to deepen it, mak­ing him more humble. Humility, it seemed, would not be attained until he had suffered utter defeat.


He knew she had a special place in her heart for the world. A place where even she could never go.

Realising that only two possibilities exist: either sink into oneself and be exiled from the world, or plunge into the world and be exiled from oneself. Still, he hesitated.

Having accepted those hours when one ought to do nothing.

No more angels, but the devils persist.

The time had come when his words would never again be bitter.

Trailing a finger through the sand.

Perhaps the secret lay in finding the discipline to remain undisciplined.

He found himself returning to a past he had never left.

Then there was, of course, the struggle to remain silent in the face of silence. Sole recourse?

Corporeal solitude.

The moon no more distant than the heart.

Never forgetting the necessity to nurture.

That morning, he awoke to discover that happiness had to be sacrificed in order to be happy. His joy, however, was brief.

Some days spent simply counting the leaves on the tree outside his win­dow.

He was used to assuming a certain dissatisfaction.

Always ready when asked, though few took advantage and only rarely. So left wanting.

He went down to the shore, seeking a horizon, to tumble off the edge of the world. Returned home smaller, more dense than ever.

A voice however distant.

He thought, “Obligations provide us our freedom.” Though he had none.

It didn’t seem to matter what he did, life appeared to be lived elsewhere.

One morning he got up intending to go for a walk. But first he made himself a cup of tea and sat down on the balcony to drink it. Later, while watching the sun­set, he was surprised to discover a cold cup of tea in his hand.

He remembered someone telling him, “You will never end up in the gutter alone. Unless, of course, that is where you want to be. But even then your friends would drag you out against your will.” Either way a sad fate.

Elegant… elegant… elegant… He kept repeating it, hoping.

Twirling the moon — perhaps not as non­sen­sical as it first appears.

Over the years, as the need for sleep diminished, the need for a kind word or ges­ture seemed to increase.

Helping a friend, he felt he had all the answers. But quickly realised that answers were not what was required. Suddenly his entire past was called into question.

One particularly damp day, he wondered whether anyone suspected he was still capable of a smile. Doubtful himself, he went in search of a mirror.

Perhaps there would come a time when forgetting would have little to do with the past and everything to do with the present.

Once again circumstances demanded that all his plans be discarded. And so another catastrophe diverted.

Having decided to bake a cake, he sat down and cried.

If anyone should have been, it was she. But she was far from broken.

When innocence had borne the worst, it proved to be the most resilient.

No longer knowing in which direction to look.

Admissions. To further or to lessen?

One morning, while looking out the window, surprised to discover — what? Which only deepened his shock.

No further conclusion to be drawn.

Sometimes the desire so great, with­drawal the only alternative.

Opening a book — the poorest of companions.

Trading their silences, they discovered they still had much to say.

Trivial routines carried out with the gravity of a ritual. Propitiating the void.

Finally realising that with demons, there is no negotiating, only banishment.

He went out several times with the intention of buying some milk, only to return empty-handed.

The greatest difficulties resided in the latent.

Unleashing heaven.

One afternoon was spent unwinding thread from its spool. That last turn—

Two empty coffee cups. Gently squeezing them, before he tossed them into the garbage.

The banal.

On his way out, he stood, his hand resting on the doorknob. The confines of a world a bit much to bear.

To trace the striations of a dream.

A tendency to set up one’s idols like bowl­ing pins.

Noticing that it was snowing outside, he bundled up, with each layer becoming less certain whether it was to protect himself from the elements or vice versa.

He spent an entire evening studying the slow fade of light upon a wall.

He still chased the pigeons from his balcony however.

Relying on the eraser more than the ink.

Word came that a friend was quite ill. For the next several days, painfully aware of each step. Until, without realising it, the world’s gravity gave way, once again, to a certain luminosity.

No longer needing to protect the self.

Redemption was there, at every turn.