The Vantage at the Margin of Departure

I’ve attended every lecture in Homer Hall in the Spring of 2018. I sit at the professors’ desks in the mornings before they arrive, and I weep. I linger in the classrooms afterwards as the students file out. I weep then too, though no one spares me a glance. Their gazes glide over me. Sometimes I watch all of them with an intent indignation, galled at the sacrilege of their proceedings, which they pay no mind. They hold their sessions here. They hold their sessions here!

One evening as I stare through my penitential windows, the man wanders in and steps haggard upon the dais of his locus delicti. How ancient he seems now, lined and stooped by gravity’s arts, different than I recall. Sniveling thing, disgraced, arced, fallen. He looks worn and bereft of all the wanton naivety with which he conducted the experiment of my murder in 1996. Oh he would like to arrive after these years he’s experienced to my unknowable envy, on the grounds of my haunting and bask in absolution, oh no, no no no no, you bent old man, you will never have it.

In August 1977 I am a businessman called Yaşar Eroğlu sitting with my wife at an outdoor café in Istanbul. We are nearly having an argument, or rather I have chastised her bitterly at length for her unsuitable ambition, an education, and though she stews on the retort she’s bitten, I brook no further discussion. Oh I resent her absurdity and her liberality. She opens her mouth, I know she will embarrass me here in broad daylight, she will force me to quiet her. There are shouts suddenly, all of us in the café set down our utensils and gaze vigilantly to the intersection, for there is a taxi that appears as it drifts and veers and then launches down our street, towards us. We’ve time to react; there is a dawning awareness among us of what this drive-by portends, and there is an infinitesimal moment when my wife’s eyes meet mine and I could move to shield her. I do not, I turn away and fly from my seat, and there is even another man or woman I shove aside as the maelstrom of gunfire thunders, as people scream and glass shatters and the patio is chaos, and it does not matter anyways that I’ve tried to escape since there is such blinding pain in my skull suddenly, and there are the frozen seconds the synapses still spark and I understand the bullets are already through me.

In 1951 we live meekly on the island of Minamata in the wastes of the Nichitsu plant. We mourn our empire and spite the incursion of the Americans. My father is a fisherman, stoic and solemn as the pall over all our country in these times. Near the house my brother Hatsuo and I hear the most terrible mewling and yowling in the night. We investigate along the shore and discover a cat believing itself an arch-legged spider, pained and convulsive as it staggers. Hatsuo bids me drown the cat and put it from its misery, but I know his is really a morbid curiosity and cowardice that he can’t do it himself. He watches fascinated afterwards at the cat bobbing in the tide. I stare at my eight-years-old’s hands, searching, but it is that which rests within me, stained. For in the months that follow my limbs turn to flames, turn to phantoms. I shake and gesture madly, experience the world blearily and deaf, am contorted, dead by winter. Nor is Hatsuo spared, and after 1955 his timeless breeze passes gently by my Self that is never mapped on these planes.

My body is unearthed from the rubble of a collapsed chapel in Lübeck in 1942. Some wisp of myself looks upon my husband shutting his wife’s eyes, the rarest of glimpses seeming like a glitch in the cycle, when memory belongs to no body at the margin of departure. An ascent never comes but there is more than nothing, a vast continuity whose end is the beginning, is the Universe.

But if so my vantage now is such cyclic and deathly rumination. My reminiscing is deeply ugly, it is an obsessive investigation of demise, quagmire of chthonic cerebrality, pursuit of some karmic constant obscured by the peculiarity of human bias or a pattern such as must surely exist, it must, there must be some recognition to be had of a crucial facet for my soul’s sojourn some twenty years. Oh these same rooms, these same clothes, the cemented sameness. Why, why, why, how do I depart?