Things that start with “once upon a time…”

Now suddenly the yard chairs look empty, the sky looks empty,
The sky looks vast and empty.

-Donald Justice, “Psalm and Lament”

Chasing the dream before it runs away:
It is the dirt under the nail: the tiny speck of dust from where a pearl is formed inside an oyster. There are wonders that happen in the aisles of a bookstore. It’s a different experience from the aisles of a library. The fresh titles in a bookstore’s shelves create dreams while the latter only bring to mind theories and research. I, the writer, thrive on dreams: they are the fuel to my aeroplane wings. In the aisles of the bookstore, I have visions of finding the weeping girl around the corner. I would see her actions unfolding with a “once upon a time…” then, it continues with images untranslated into words in the mind: she would cry, and as these tears fell upon the ground, the would spread like ink blobs in the space she was in. These inky forms would grow, becoming words, pictures, indecipherable symbols, spirals and curves, filling the bare space around her. But, these creations didn’t become part of a world of her own, instead, they were ephereal, temporary fancies that broke once she was taken out of her space. Indeed, all of these she created were all like the water flowers created by raindrops falling on concrete that grow then die at a blink of an eye.

Not wanting to disturb the peace of creation there, I walk away, letting the weeping girl dream in peace. I know her name. I’ve seen her many times already. She’s my missing Ulalume, still trapped in her dream world, unable to come to reality at the moment. I would have reached out to take her away, but deep inside, I refuse to. She is better left in peace for now. The time will come when she will stop living in moments between a bookstore’s bookshelves or the misty water-stained windows of a house during the rain. Eventually, she will be brought to reality, to see things other than inky tears and blank white spaces.

I know she wants to, too. Don’t you, Ulalume?

There is no answer from the misty windows I see. Maybe she had decided to sleep for now. Figures, it really is quite late now.

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