organic sources of light

“Recordings of what?” I inquired. His smile faded. Again it seemed like he was listening to my voice retreating in the library. “She said you were smart,” he remarked, more to himself. I was not sure that was supposed to be a compliment or a reminder to himself. “Who said?” I cut in. I had the uncomfortable feeling of him looking at me again and I felt reprimanded without him saying a word. “Sir, please, who said that?” I rephrased my words.

“Never leave a question before it has been answered,” he advised me, not answering either one of my questions. He fell silent.  I stared at him, then lowered my glance, then looked up at him again. He could sit perfectly still, looking very much like the archetypical image of a blind man. It seemed to me, again, that I noticed more visual detail than one should notice. More than I could process. The crease of his pant legs, the way the fine wool fabric folded itself, the nuanced shadows in those folds. His white, chiseled hands, holding on to the walking cane even as he was sitting. And yet, despite or maybe because of the rich details  I had an increasingly hard time focusing on him. It was like reading a book when you are very tired already and you can’t focus on the words. You are still reading them mechanically but you do not get their meaning. He faded or rather he diminished in size. He diminished in size but gained in clarity. I wanted to protest. I had a million questions. He looked like an illustration, I thought, feeling very tired, like one of my mother’s illustrations, done in a myriad of very fine, sharp lines. And each of these lines was emanating a fine, very precise, white light.

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