“The thing about Paradise—is that the rain?”
Very little motion originates in his left side anymore. As the rain slowly picks up its frequency against the window two feet from his head he shifts his seated weight, dragging his left side to the right by the exaggerated rotation of his right shoulder, which shoulder is attached via muted, muscular-psychic string to his left knee and the action carries his left leg onto his right. He sits almost femininely, head heavy and coming to rest in the open palm of his right arm, propped by the armrest of his Shaker style wooden chair.
The idea is tiring. He is momentarily relieved from the fatigue by the distraction of a whiff of propane; his affect doesn’t change but there’s a hint of eagerness in his voice:
“Self-defining words, Pentane: Five carbons, each joint by single bonds…12 hydrogens I think…too many electrons…and I don’t need to know any of that to smell it. I don’t even need to know its name. There’s a word for self-defining words—what is it?”
“I don’t know.” I did. I just would really like to leave.
“You do to know it.” He looks at the floor as he says this. “No, I know it: autological.”
In the years that I’ve known him I’ve learned that although most objective accounts tracking his dialogue would compute his point as “lost,” and/or define his narrative as “grossly wandering”—that maybe even in spite of his own awareness of how the objectifying world has conditioned the state of his cogitating, the man does get to his point.
“About that Paradise, the thing is in the rain.”
I stand from the couch, and stretch my arms ceiling-ward, which he notes from his visual periphery, and slowly an almost smug smile works onto his face.