I invite you to ‘Escape’
We are even trapped by the word.
We’re all in the room together.
I have worn the carpet rough with my nervous feet. I occupy the old pine chair in the corner, poised at its accustomed angle. My body always seems mangled into a sitting position – for it never assembles naturally, relaxedly. Sitting is always accompanied by some scurrying motion, whether in writing or reading; there is always something frantic to it. Frantic is what underlines the artistry.
That is what the couple, entwined over the old bed, would say. The frame is of an ambiguous wood, too worn to identity the natural original. Similar could be said of the man’s face. He is only young, a student, though with an expression so oft masked by alcohol, it is in these occasional moments of release the sheath is peeled way. His partner seems half hunched, perhaps in the weighty acceptance of a vulnerable face, or perhaps a grimace. Her arms are bent under his, as she lies upon that same poor frame, looking up at him. A confusion of their roughly clothed bodies often occupies their space. Perhaps they are ‘typical students’.
It is somewhat like an announcement expected to fall from the slack mouth of the professor, leant awkwardly against the corner cupboard. His corduroys brush against the woodwork, have brushed a deep black bur in the colouring. It is a habit of his, leaning against the cupboard and looking out if the window – a secret indulgence he would never admit to. There he pictures himself walking across the pavement, clutching the hand of the woman from next door who he would give a hasty nod to every morning, instead of a briefcase in his hand, the biting pips of a plastic bag. There is a pre-cooked meal for two and a mass produced magazine. The professor then looks down at his feet, as if ashamed and that his shoes should reflect who he really is.
There is a woman on the floor searching too for who she really is. She lies just under the exposed light bulb – it is her confirmation of concentration if she can see her face, her eyes blinking back at her in the glass. Those occasional winks of light. Her chest rises and falls with a haunting prominence, to the extent that sometimes he thinks it is an omen. The noise, the puff, the rattle and inflation, deflation – then the cycle starts over. By lying, back flat against the floor for the evening hours, she was convinced it would get her through the last year of university.
I tried it for a while too. So did the stranger who sprayed beer on the blistering paintwork. He drops in sometimes, draped in more in androgyny than identity. Some believe he has perfected the art of indeterminacy well, when in reality he wants to watch television and eat badly-flavoured crisps and cry openly. Only, all that you would know is that he leaves a kind of solute of carbonated alcohol sprayed on the wall.
They all leave something in this room, this waiting space.
It is the company of the past as I sit, bent on the pine chair over the desk in my rented university bedroom. I wonder why people tell me I am working to build my future. There is already too much furniture.