• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 10

The Sister

She refused to come home. She said she would be ringing in her 18th birthday in the delicious silence of the overnight library.

(Reading Kafka does that to certain women who read him over the night & away from home. I know from fact of dream.)

I asked her if she wasn't billowing in her balloon yellow sweatshirt and shrinking into her skin-tight bells bottoms.

She said clothes didn't matter while reading. That one could even be in the nude, dressed only in god-given humanity as Gregor had been.

I didn't know what she was talking about so I thought of the noise a violin makes in the soul of man.

I shuddered as she proceeded to terminate the conversation and bid her wait. The trial before birthday wasn't yet over.

I asked her to describe the loneliness of the room (keeping that of the Kafkaesque away).

She said to the contrary. That far from being alone, she said the moon was reading over her shoulder. That as gratitude for allowing it to wax (or wane, she wasn't sure) without the usual melancholy, it floated down cumulus clouds nimbused in pastel pink and balmy blue.

So many hues of the moon, we both said in silence.

I asked her about the hardness of her bed, if her back wasn't already sore. She said both were better than Kafka's punishing prose.


The Sister

I asked her why she didn't come home. She said rote learning him by heart was part of growing up. I said you are about to sleep away from home. She said yes.

I asked her to not forget removing her boots when she got heavy. She said she felt light above the emerald floor.

I asked her about the birthday cake. She said she had served her hunger by drinking the peach juice that kept sliding off walls. She said that now she felt bulked up for the metamorphosis that lay before her like a night carpet.

I asked if she was afraid of going to sleep on her birthday in her bed and waking up something else the next day.

She said she didn't know I knew what she was reading. I said I didn't read books but that I could read dreams. She said I was travelling the royal road. I said I don't know what do you mean.

She said goodbye. She told me there was an empty stool in front of her. I told her that the next time she went not to stay the night.

She said okay. I hung up and switched off the lights.

I thought of thinking about all the vermin of the world and not neglecting myself in the process.

But I thought that thinking accomplishes nothing so I went off to sleep dreaming of and Gregor Samsa and my sister lying naked on a Prague pavement.