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The Cortex Queue
whatever whenever
Upon the Water Tower
Floating her hand along Shawn’s cheek, Kate decided that it was time to experience a new set of occurrences in order to recreate the initial connection, the day upon the water tower where, out of the blue, a floppy haired individual peered over the edge and, startled by her presence, nearly headed back down the tower. The isolation prior to that day wove itself through the fabric of her routine and followed her up the cold rungs of the water tower ladder when she chose to spoil the impression and make it profound in self-isolation. It was not a bad feeling, no, peering out into the town and watching people milling about, not hearing their anger or happiness, was peaceful. Everybody had someplace to go and something to see and she was peering at them, as if from a rift in space-time continuum, another universe where time stood still and nobody can see her observing them. That day, the hot sun pierced the clouds and chilly undulations of wind caressed her bare arms. The impromptu appearance of Shawn’s head past the horizon of the water tower almost startled her and increased her immediate apprehension. Who was he and why was he here? For a second, she forgot that she was just another vat of behaviors, however unusual, that can exist in another person. She forgot that she was part of the world around her and not merely an observer. After Shawn ducked out of sight, her breath caught in her throat and she held it, almost believing that she mistook his hair for, perhaps, a piece of fabric wedged in the ladder that she overlooked before. She didn’t have time to dismiss it before he appeared again, curious, silent, but confident in his own way. Gazing at her over the edge, he climbed up and over the horizon and sat down a comfortable distance from the edge. His eyes never left hers and he just sat there, staring. Kate’s mind started churning, trying to understand why he was there when he should have been milling about the people below the tower. He seemed to understand her though and it vexed her slightly that he already knew something that she didn’t. She peeled the situation and slowly drove the wedges apart, piecing together that the likely outcome is innate and unlikely to be something that she outwardly observed. Dusting off self conscious thought, she finally understood that this was another observer. She was somewhat startled to realize how different from her he appeared. So unused to having a companion upon the tower was she that she also felt like she was projecting herself to observe her own behavior. This was not her though. His warm stoney eyes, unflinching but cautious, appeared amused. She realized that she must appear catatonic and should inquire about him.
“Do you come here often?”
“Often enough, never so late in the day. I work night shift but I couldn’t sleep today.”
She understood why she never saw him but was curious whether she can even apply her own reasoning for being atop the tower to him.
“Why do you come here?”
“It’s peaceful here and I’ve had a lot of time alone recently. I come here to separate myself from the world and leave negative emotions behind”
Kate knew then that he wasn’t hiding from the world like she was but recuperating. It wasn’t a completely novel idea but the manifestation of social separation intrigued her. Instead of treating her like an invader, he seemed drawn to her. In fact, he was sliding over so he could sit by her. The heat radiating from his body played with the wind chill and soothed her. A little startled, she realized that the proximity wasn’t irritating her or even unwelcome.
Who is he?
His full lips, so odd on a white guy projected a wry smile. It looked like the smile lived there. Sliding from his mouth she scanned his smooth skin and glanced over his outline, hunched over with his elbows resting on his calves. He seemed to be seeing something she couldn’t piece together, his face grew serious and his eyes started probing deeper, looking for something she didn’t know she was offering so openly. He gently reached out a held her arm, drawing her to him. She was no longer surrounded by a void but internalized by this person that was supposed to be a stranger. Her mind rebelled, the logic behind what was happening was absent, and she felt like she should guard herself. If this was any person that normally milled below the tower, she should not be feeling this. She grew stiff but the heat around her only seemed to increase and she could feel her body respond like they both swallowed strong magnets. Her feeble attempts to draw away and back to logic were either ignored or unrecognized by him. There was no room for the high wall she built around herself. He walked through it like it was a hologram and he was touching her. She should feel violated but she felt like she was surrounded by warm cotton and her body was responding.

Le Visage Inconnu
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