The Present

by Kevin Johnson Murillo

I watch the room by candlelight. The sounds are gone. Only echoes of shadows are left on the blinds to keep out the light from inside the room. Occasional footsteps outside the room in the hall connecting it to other rooms. I hope not to encounter any of those beasts tonight. It’s my only wish to be left alone here, with the candle, a sheet of paper, a plume, and whatever wretched thoughts drip from my mind onto the paper. There isn’t, I’m afraid to say, much to report as of late. Circumstances have driven me to this lonely place, circumstances so complex I can’t begin to relate them. That as far as the past goes. The present: anguish. There is no future. What I have in store for myself is more of this dangling over the whiteness that is left on the page. If I were to ever reach the end of it, I would expire at once. This would be a better fate than to encounter one of the beasts outside, either those that project the shades of shadows, or those that drift knocking their feet on the wood of the hallway outside. To be done with it. But it’s not time yet. It could never be time. Only the drip of ink on this blank and empty space can free me from the tortures I can imagine. Only drip drip drip can release me from having to imagine what would be done to me. And to escape this condition, sometimes I reflect on what was. Had things been different, maybe, perhaps, it could be said that maybe, perhaps I wouldn’t be in this room if things hadn’t happened the way they did, if I, for instance, hadn’t gotten on that train on October 13, 1959, on my way to —it doesn’t matter where. If I had decided to stay at the train station, watching the birds flutter by, maybe then. Or if I’d actually caught a fish when I went fishing with my friends some time in the early 30’s, that could have made a difference. But it’s no use lamenting the past. All we have is the present, they say. Well, considering my future could be stuffed in the clutches of one of those animals, maybe the present is really a gift.

The Present

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