Minding The Gaps


There she sat, looking more than a little out of place on the weathered old stool at the end of the Grill’s great bar. Her muted face was barely visible to any not determined to see her.

Even so, there she sat.

Staring.

Silent.

Still.

She was waiting for inspiration to strike her soul - or to strike her dead. Either way, something in her would surely change.

Then again, there she sat. Others walked by her with barely a notice. Sal, the bar tender, noticed. She wasn’t drinking. Yet she was taking up space.

Then again, the bar was nearly empty. But it wouldn’t be for long.

And there she sat.

Still.

Waiting.

Nothing.

Nothing but gaps in the fabric of time and space. Gaps in the fabric she had once so carefully knit to cover her inner world and keep it in balance. Holes, actually - black holes so big she could climb through them, if only she could climb through them. But alas, climbing wasn’t on her mind.

So there she sat.

Staring into the emptiness.

And she waited.

And while she waited, her mind wandered in and out of the gaps. It poked itself into pockets and around corners, looking for lost threads that might reconnect her to all the people and ideas that had disappeared from her life. People and ideas that had disappeared and left only holes . . . Gaps in her picture of the world . . . Gaps in what had once seemed so possible, given all her potential . . . Gaps in the cosmic fabric she wrapped around herself to stay warm in the dense chill of night.

Something about all the holes and the disappearing made her feel a little too vulnerable. And the vulnerability was almost stifling. So she pulled the subtle fabric ever more tightly over her shoulders.

And she sat.

And she waited.

And in the waiting, she listened for a sign. Surely she would hear inspiration as it rose through her - when it rose through her. It must. It used to be right where she needed it. She used to be able to count on it to lift her above the messiness of life’s uncertainties.

But that was when the fabric of her world was newer and ever so much more resilient. That was before the wearing of it, and the wearing out of it, created all those gaps. And gaps, being rather vacuous, transmitted far more echo than inspiration. And strain though she might for the sound of an answer, only moonlight and static reached her senses.

So there she sat, staring awkwardly at nothing in particular.

And she waited.

And she wondered if perhaps the gaps were not gaps at all, but only lapses in her imagination. Perhaps in letting go to make room for the present, she had lost touch with some important part of her past. But nothing from back then came to mind. Of course, it was hard to resurrect what she could not remember.

On the other hand, maybe the gaps were a sort of self-inflicted purgatory for lost memories - or for lost dreams. Maybe, if she just concentrated a little harder, she could re-inspire her imagination and fill in the gaps with stronger, more brilliantly colored threads. But why bother? Threads break. And colors fade, just like dreams. Just like memories.

So she sat.

And she stared.

And she waited.

And she wished with all her might that something magically inspired, something she would recognize as hers alone, might enter her inner world and shift it ever so slightly, if only for a moment. Or, forever.

Then again, maybe she was thinking too much. She did that on occasion.

Maybe if she just sat, and waited.

So there she sat.

Still.

Watching and waiting for inspiration to strike.

While, in another corner of her world, a corner she had long ago misplaced, inspiration anxiously paced the empty halls. It was waiting for a sign that she had started to awaken, and that the universe - that many-storied world that made its home in her, and she in it - could get back to unfolding.

Had he been smart, he would never have sat down next to her. But he wasn’t all that smart. And before he could tell her the first of his many lies, she opened her mind and swallowed him whole, daintily spitting his smarmy little pit into the folds of her napkin.