The Hexacoto

Listening to the sound of one hand clapping

Outrunning the rain on a unicycle

unistormIt began in Williamsburg. “I know this is a weird question, but are you going to ride on that?” asked a fine folk working at the Meatball Shop, pointing at my unicycle. “Yes, I will be riding home on it,” I said. “Ooh, can we see you ride on that when you do?”

The skies were overcast and the clouds above were getting chummy with each other.

“I’ll sweeten the deal. Would you like some free cookies?” the lady said.

Who’d turn down free cookies? “Uh, sure,” I said, slightly taken aback.

So I waited a couple minutes more and received some delightful chocolate chip cookies. I ate one, gave my friend one, and took the last one in my hand and got ready to go. Half the staff came out to see me ride off triumphant with their cookies in hand. A couple drops of rain landed on my head. I hugged my friend goodbye, mounted awkwardly on my 29″ unicycle whilst trying not to drop the cookie. A car behind me honked angrily as I took some seconds to gain momentum.

The staff and my friend cheered. I was a celebrity! And then I took off. The cookie lasted the length of North 8th Street to North 9th Street.

And I commenced my six-mile dash back to Prospect-Lefferts.

I could see that the sun still shone warily from behind the consternation of the angry clouds some distance ahead, while behind me the rain was starting to become heavier and heavier. I was chasing the sun, pursued by the rain. Pedalling as fast as I could, I could feel the rain less and less. Down Union Ave I went until I hit Atlantic Ave. Curses, a red light! As I waited for light to change, the slow but steady clouds crept up and dropped its vindictive, wet victory over my attempt to outrun it. Green light! I sped off again, swerving the wretched potholes that comprise Brooklyn roads.

My legs were starting to burn and I started to sweat profusely from exertion. Down Brooklyn Ave, I had gained the lead on the rain clouds and only the slightest rain drops landed on me, but at this point where the rain failed to get me wet, I was doing a fine job of wetting myself with my own sweat; it was impossible to tell if I was wetter from the rain or from sweat.

I turned onto Nostrand Ave and continued down. The storm clouds yawed away and the sun came out to announce my victory. Yes! Score one for man, over Mother Nature. I reached home and hobbled up the stairs to gloat my sweaty, hard-earned victory.

The struggles of crafting an email response

“Dearest Jessica,” he began typing.

Dearest Jessica? What is this, writing an email to your aunt, thought Bobby. Too severe.

“Yo Jessie,” he corrected.

No. Too flippant. This isn’t high school, he agonised. Also, what if she hates being called “Jessie?” He had a friend Thomas who hated being called “Tommy.” But Thomas is a guy and Jessica is a girl. Maybe girls are more partial to things like that? Furthermore, Jessie could be a guy’s name; what if she thinks I think of her as a dude, thought Bobby. No, I certainly want to show her that I appreciate her as a girl, and am not merely dude-zoning her.

A single bead of sweat started to coalesce on his forehead.

“Hey Jessica,”

Much better. What has it been, twenty minutes? Two words so far. That’s pretty good progress, Bobby thought. What now?

“Thanks for your kind attention, I greatly appreciate it.”

Too formal, too needy. Delete, delete, delete. Geez, if only he hadn’t paid so much attention during English lessons when they were teaching him how to craft a proper response letter. Now he’s perpetually stuck in curmudgeon mode.

“You are beautiful. Words fail me as I try describe your beauty — time and again I have had to delete sentences because they were not satisfactory. I ache each time I see your face because my shyness, my inferiority precludes any attempt to strike up conversation. Like a sublime sunset, you shine and light up those around you, but inevitably unattainable and on the other side of the world.

But it is okay, I seek not your approval; only to let you know that you are beautiful.

But I will not lavish empty words of praise on you; I would not throw out “perfect” and “divine” because we are all human, and we are more than our physical assets. Your slight gap between your teeth, your slow, crooked smile rends my apart, but just as much so your affection for dogs, your commitment to helping your fellow mates.

I would love to get to know you more, but that is more than I dare hope for. After all, who am I to take up your time?

We might work in the same office, and I see you every day, but we never exchange more than the obligatory cordial smile and nod. I’ve never been more self-conscious every time you’re around me — at the lifts, at the cafeteria; I worry about whether I look presentable around you even more than when I look in the mirror.

I don’t know how to talk to you. I fear my mouth would open and silence would gush out — worse, maybe even something offensive. Thus the wistful smile, the upwards push for the lips by two reluctant cheeks, guarding that which may be terrible. I want to talk to you, but I don’t know how.

So I opt for the written word, safe behind the power of edits, backspace and spell-check.

Yours sincerely,

Bobby”

And with that, he trashed the draft, and took a wank, lubricated by his own tears.