A stupid but convenient phrase

Slightly7

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Three months have passed since last I wrote of the circumstances which vary slightly, and, in that time I did my best to give them no thought. Overall my efforts to forget were quite effective and for many days my mind was not bothered with the investigations which had once so obsessed me. To you this may seem no great feat as I am sure any thought you had given to the subject left you immediately after reading my last entry, if that is, you ever read it. For this I envy you, to so easily pass the days without the weight of the unanswered questions that I alone did ask, and, as I realize now, am the only one who can answer, is a bliss that I only knew fleetingly, and now, I fear, will never know again.  My time of happy contentment ended abruptly when one evening while preparing to retire to my bed I picked up a recently discovered volume which due to its age, and the fact that it had been stored away for some time possessed an odor which was both reassuringly familiar and noxious to the senses. Opening the book randomly I came upon a story titled “The Oblong Box”, and, soon after beginning to read I was struck by the paragraph below.

 

“The morrow having arrived, I was going from my hotel to the wharf, when Captain Hardy met me and said that, “owing to circumstances” (a stupid but convenient phrase), “he rather thought the ‘Independence’ would not sail for a day or two, and that when all was ready, he would send up and let me know.” This I thought strange, for there was a stiff southerly breeze; but as “the circumstances” were not forthcoming, although I pumped for them with much perseverance, I had nothing to do but to return home and digest my impatience at leisure.”

 

This paragraph, specifically Captain Hardy’s “stupid but convenient phrase”, “owing to circumstances” brought back to me in an instant all of which I had forgotten of the investigations, and, like a spotlight blinded my eyes with the horrible image of that Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing which I had hoped to never see again. Then and there the madness once again overtook me and any sleep I had wished for to have that night never came, but instead I spent the dark and quiet hours wandering through the rooms of my private residence and at times frequently stood upon the large covered porch staring at the moon which was fuller and brighter than it had any right to be. Over and over I repeated those words, “owing to circumstances”, a stupid but convenient phrase maybe, but one that worked a dark magic upon me causing my imagination and memory to combine and send me spinning once more into the maze that though I hurriedly wandered its terrible halls as if around each corner would be an exit I knew as I had always known there was and never would be an end. And so, though the circumstances are not as of yet forthcoming, and although I pump for them with perseverance I too have nothing to do but to return and digest my impatience at leisure.

 

Slightly6
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