Scattered (III/III)

Posted on February 21, 2006 by Jenna

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It is difficult to say when a history ends. There is always one more story, one more truth, one more event.

From the moment of her birth, this question has nagged at Meredith:

How can I exist when I have no boundaries?

Meredith is like a rain. She pours out into the world and touches everything. On one day she is subtle; on another, she is a surging, threshing power.

She is an octopus that is thrown out.

A seagull scavenges it from the dump.

Mortimer Brown kills the seagull and feeds it to his daughter Emily in lieu of begging for scraps or yielding her to social services. The meat is not good; tainted by it, Emily begins to prophesy. Mortimer grows rich; others cease to prosper; and Emily is able to warn three people away from a six-car pileup. She cannot save the rest.

Meredith is the salt in the ground. It has already ruined one tomato and left the monster a little hungrier, a little weaker, a little more off balance.

Meredith is twisting. She twists in the currents of the world and three houses flood.

She struggles to move a hand and 1981 yields a good harvest.

She cannot disentangle herself from the world. There is no clear method for it. There is no action without consequences that she does not intend; and her mind is pounding in constant nauseating fear because she cannot find an edge to herself, because her thoughts—when not manifest in a tomato, or an octopus, or a rant of prophesy from some young girl’s lips—wander off into the immensity of her and she does not hear back from them.

“I am like God,” she thinks, once, and before she can recant the hubris of this that very thought dissolves and her mind fills with buzzing and flailing.

She sees the naiads in their streams and recognizes something in them.

The spider in the sky catches a bit of her in its web and says, “Lo, I will devour you.”

“It happens,” says Meredith.

The spider bites hold at one end and tries to suck out her internal organs but after two minutes of sucking it reels back, dizzy and bloated, and says, “You are very large.”

“I don’t know what to do about it,” Meredith confesses.

The spider shakes itself, once, twice.

It says: “You will run.”

The spider in the sky does not eat things that are very large. It is a spider and not a tick. It is already feeling kind of sick because of the Meredith it has eaten. So it tears her loose and drops her and then it goes back to the weaving.

For nine days the dawn is blue and green and pink and orange and red, and there is a taste of salt and octopus to it.

In 1986, a bit of Meredith coils away from the rest. It hides, shuddering, behind false walls of cognition that it forms around itself. It firewalls away the knowledge of itself and forms a body and becomes a her.

She says, “I am that which I have intended.”

This is the wrong answer to her question, and so she ceases to exist, but that is of little matter to her.

She runs.

This history ends against the lens’ jagged edge.