A still-developing epistolary between by Emin Orhan and me. We take turns writing vignettes about fictitious versions of each other.
I (by Emin)
There were around 40 people in the room immersed with all their being in a bewildering, dizzying variety of rhythmic bodily activities: some up and down, up and down and then up and down again, some right and left, right and left and then right and left again, and some more complex: up and down, right and left, and then up and down again. Some of these activities necessitated the rhythmic movements of certain parts of the body only (two arms, or one arm, the opposite leg and the head for example). Some required wholesale rotations and distortions of the body. The whole room looked like an elaborate clockwork set in motion by some invisible yet infinitely powerful force. What was that force, wondered Alex, content with being part of something harmonious, as if vibrating mechanically in a limpid sea of celestial rhythmicity. He thought about his dog. The faintest shadow of a smile could be discerned in his clean-shaven face by an astute observer with an eagle’s eyes. Everybody in the room was extremely serious, staring fixedly with stony gazes of ice and granite at a steel horizon invisible, incomprehensible to finite, primitive minds of dust and mud, even as they continued in their rhythmic activities. It was as if the skipping of a single movement, a single extra breath between two ups (or between an up and a down for that matter) would disrupt the proper functioning of all the delicate laws of this fragile universe, tinker with the moral compass of the human race, or cause a genocide in some remote, godforsaken part of the world whose name Alex was sure ended with ‘stan’ or ‘ia’ or simply with ‘land’. His contorted face took the curious shape of a fantastic, long-extinct beast from a long-gone age, while he struggled with his rhythmic exercises. He realized that he was sweating profusely as he tried to remember the name of the girl he had met the other day at that very spot. Laura? Laurel? Lauren? Jackie?
II (by Alex)
In the few minutes before he had to open the doors to greet his early, regular customers, Emin sat down at his desk and drew a deep breath. He looked at a poster tacked to the wall by the door. It was a photograph of a small kitten, hanging from a tree limb. “Hang in there”, it said. “Friday’s coming.” Laurel had hung the poster there in an effort to “liven the place up”. Emin logged onto Facebook. Today was Kevin’s birthday. “Hope its a good one buddy”, Alex had written on Kevin’s wall. Emin considered Liking Alex’s comment, but thought the hostility of the gesture may be too transparent. He clicked to Alex’s profile, and saw a recent post outlining Alex’s weightlifting progress. He Liked it. This would be read as playfully sarcastic, and would be forgotten within minutes as Birthdays, Events, and Shared articles accumulated over his digital gesture like sand covering the husk of an unremarkable sea animal.