Chapter 2

A velvet black void. Vacuous, except for a prologue. And that prologue is everyone’s but mine. The knowledge of God. How knowing they are, my friends, my colleagues, my relatives. How insistently knowledgeable they are. I’m in a dream again. A park, a breezy day. The tops of trees, imagined in infra red, pale leaves, stark against an unnaturally black sky, the branches and leaves move in the heavy breeze as one, like balls of murmurating starlings. The view pans down, two dismounted cyclists are ambling through the park.

Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic

My bicycle’s freewheel hub emits a rhythmic clicking, drowning out all other noise. It’s not loud, it just has that particular frequency that demands my attention.

We, that is my best friend Bill and me, have elected to dismount our bikes on our training ride and walk them through the paved avenue of broad leafed chestnut trees of the park.

Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic

It’s weird how this sound just demands attention. It compels me to tune in. I’ve always had this compulsion, well not always. I recall the trigger moment as if it were yesterday. My sister’s metronome she used for her music lessons. The pale oak case, polished brass weight and chrome plated bar was a thing of beauty to me. It kept time, but not our time, it literally moved to a different beat. Its lazy beat was harmless, but there was one setting when the weight was about a third of the way up the bar. I tuned into that with a shiver... and ever since that moment, anything that hits the same frequency, switches something on inside my head. Often I would sneak into the music room to set it to that beat, just to stare at it waving upon the top of the piano. I was about twelve, I guess.

Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic... Tic

Twenty five years later and here I am, still obsessed. I wonder what it is? It’s not one second, it’s close, as clocks can nearly do it, but not quite.

 

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