A Last Knock

Received via post, two weeks after the publication of the last entry, addressed to Dr. Beatrice Alighieri, as requested of any information pertaining to Cat.  Handwriting is deliberate and careful, which generally results in a more trembling, less natural script.  This seems to be written, in short, by someone who does not write freehand with any regularity.  It is undated and in no other way superficially remarkable:


I saw the entire thing, and I knew there would be nothing in your box about this.  Because it hadn’t happened yet.  When all the things in the box happened.  This was after all that.  I spend a lot of time on those stairs, I know it’s true.  I’m not really watching out, though.  It’s just where I prefer to be.  So when I left for a minute, it was really only a minute.  It was hot that day, I always remember the hot days because there are fewer people on the street.  So you remember faces because there are less of them.  Especially when they aren’t faces you’re used to seeing.  I had to shut the door because there have been people trying to sneak in, which I don’t mind.  That’s the way it has always been.  But some other people who live here ask me why anyone is getting in when they don’t belong there if I sit there all the time anyway.  They don’t like when I say it’s because I don’t care and no one is getting hurt so why should I care?  So I shut the door, because I had to.  When I came back downstairs to open the door, there was someone there.  She looked like she had already knocked, because her hands were at her sides and she was looking at me like she expected me to open it.  I said hello and asked her if she was looking for someone.  I’m not actually a doorperson, but I didn’t really know what else to do.  I’m not very good at describing people so I’m not going to try.  I would probably have better luck drawing her, but I don’t think I’m going to do that either.  The point is, I could tell by her accent and the fact that she was wearing gloves that she was looking for Cat.  It couldn’t be anybody else, even with all the strange people that pass through here.  She sounded like she knew he wouldn’t be here, but she looked relieved when he wasn’t.  I expected her to be sad, but that just wasn’t how it was, and I know how to read faces.  I see enough of them to learn their language.

So I offered her a drink, which was why I went inside in the first place, and she said she could use something and to get paper and write down what she had to say.  I told her I wasn’t much for taking notes, and she said that would probably be better.  I had a little gin, I don’t know why I thought that would be better.  She gave me some money and had me get some kind of wine from the corner, which I didn’t think they would have, but they did.  And then we started talking.  

She told me to figure out who would tell Kosh’s story, and if no one was, then I had to.  I said I wasn’t much for remembering stories, I always changed the details and got to the exciting parts too fast, but she said that’s why I had to write it down.  Kosh is what she called Cat.  Unless she really wasn’t talking about Cat at all, but I think she must have been.  It sounded like him.  I tried to get the details right as best I could.  She said to take a minute to describe where we were and tell her what I wrote.  So this is what I wrote:

It’s sunny, hotter than yesterday.  I’m sitting on a stone step and the sidewalk is mostly clean because it rained three days ago and there have not been that many people on it.  The trees in the park are green and are almost high enough to block the sun.  I am wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts, and I am barefoot because I’m not going anywhere.  The woman who came to visit is tall with black hair is wearing a blue collared shirt and a black skirt.  We are drinking gin and wine.  I am nervous because I don’t really like to write.

She said that was fine.  She told me that cities were often safer than the country because there were more places to hide.  She said running in the country was scarier because usually you were either in the woods, where you could hurt yourself running, or you were in the open and could be seen more easily.  I said that seemed like a problem if you were hiding, but if you weren’t running from anything then the country sounded all right.  I didn’t think you would get shot or mugged or hassled by cops in the country.  She said all those things happened, it just depended on the country.  She asked me if I could think of five hiding places nearby that not many people knew about.  Of course I could!  I could name 20 if thought about it for a minute.  She said that was plenty.  We sat there for awhile and didn’t say anything, which I always like.  Sitting with another person without feeling like you have to say something until there is something to say.  I think that is when you learn who a person is.  When they are not talking.  Or not talking much.

Eventually she told me that love is a kind of separation.  You have to separate a part of yourself to show it to someone else.  It was a big risk, but there wasn’t any other choice, so you just did it.  She said that she and Kosh separated their whole lives and it created a lot of trouble, but it was worth it, because there wasn’t anything else to do.  If you had the opportunity to do it, you just had to do it.  And then she said that everything works towards destruction anyway.  I didn’t really want to interrupt her, but I told her that sounded pretty negative to me, and that I didn’t want to work toward destruction.  I didn’t really want to work at all, unless it was for something good.  She laughed, I think it was the only time she laughed while she was here.  She said, that was fine, I could work towards the destruction of something bad.  That was fine.  She asked me if I ever destroyed something bad.  All I could think of was the time we saw those cops smash up a squat because they knew the people weren’t in the country legally, so we went door to door and got all the sugar we could to funnel into their gas tank.  We had to pry it open with a little crowbar.  It was really tough, but that seemed worth destroying.  She said that was a perfect example, and that she did not need to give me any more advice.  

We sat for awhile longer.  I think it was a long time.  This time I felt like I had to say something, just to show her that I was listening.  I asked her if it was important.  I just knew she would ask me what was important, and I wouldn’t know, so I was just come up with something and then she would say something else.  But she didn’t.  She didn’t need to ask what was important, it was like she was waiting for that question.  She said it was important, all of it, but he had left, and that was a choice, and she had come, and that was a choice, but that there weren’t really any other choices to make, so it may as well have not been a choice at all.  I wrote that down.  It May As Well Have Not Been A Choice At All.  She asked for the paper and smiled at that.  That was all she had to say.  I asked her if she would look for him, and she stared off towards the water, she didn’t say anything else.  That was it.  She just drank the rest of her glass and I tried to do the same but it was sharp, it was hard to drink fast.  She saw me coughing and laughed, and turned the glass upside down and set it on the step next to me.  She touched my face and I think she might have whispered goodbye, but it might just be that I wanted her to.  She started walking south, and I said that Cat went north for sure, so she stopped and turned around, but I think she was just doing it for me.

That’s all I know.  I doesn’t make sense to me, but maybe you know more about it than I do.  We probably talked about some other things, but I doubt I’ll remember.  People just drop into my life anyway, this wasn’t that different.  I don’t think I’ll drink gin for awhile.

Thanks.  I guess destroy something bad?