The Sweat of the Brow (49)

I could walk to the edge of town and summon a pod. Head to Bilbao. Out of the silence. Back to the world. I want to. I want to be able to walk that far. I don’t think I can.

I take a room at the village guest-house. Quiet or not they don’t have trouble taking my money. A boy takes up my bags and takes his leave. I take off my shoes. I get off my feet.

I wake up before dawn. I’m used to that. I make myself stretch, do my ‘tired tai chi. The bed has four posts of golden wood and a light quilt with dawn’s first light just beginning to fall.

I take out the painting I bought. It’s Quietware through and through. Sam always turned her nose from quiet art. I’m easier to please. I’m glad I made it mine.

I look at the box with the old oak tree. It’s nothing special. I’ll take it home and stick it in a closet. I look at the box with the broom-plant. It’s nothing special. I’ll take it home and give it to Katie, and be done.

I wonder what she wants with it. Or those who contracted her, why they want it theirs. Why they couldn’t have tipped fifty to some networked Basque vol to grab it, wrap It, drop it in a port. I pick it up, rotate it in my hands. I wonder if it’s a rare artifact, a museum piece, a piece of history, a worthy work of art. But it’s not. It just is not. It’s a nice little box. I’d give it to my little niece if she wasn’t seventy-five.

I wonder if I should open it. Of course I should. Should I?

I’m not paid to satisfy my curiosity. But I wasn’t told otherwise. Should it have gone without saying? Should everything not compulsory be forbidden?

Is this a test?

Isn’t everything?

Just because there’s a test doesn’t mean it can be passed – or failed. Whatever I do, I’ sure Katie will know. And then record and keep in mind for the future.

It’s easy to be paranoid when you’ve been told that everyone’s out to get you.

I’m curious for its own sake. But it’s for my sake I should act. I’m the one carrying the box. I’m the one carrying it across the world. If it’s cash or a kidney or a twelve-string guitar it doesn’t mean that much to me. But it might. It just might. How can I know?

I think I’ll just open it before I can overthink the matter any more.

I put the box on my lap. I hope it will be locked. It isn’t. A little latch pops. The cover rises.

I’m glad I opened it.

Then I’m not.

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~ by davekov on 3 September 2012.

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