Alan P. Scott - Fictions

all tied up

Every time we meet, I tie a knot in the cord that stretches invisibly from you to me. Every time you leave, I tie another. All that you do and say finds its way onto this record, the string that never leaves my hands. I eat our meals together one-handed, tying knots with the other to record each moment. Even the verse I write to your memory goes onto the cords: the times we share in bed become the knots I tie in red, added to the thread that I pass between my fingers, touching every one but it's on you that my touch lingers.

When I awaken, as I often do, in the hours before sunrise, I find my fingers counting knots, busily reading our histories both together and apart as if they were telegrams sent from a frozen past. If I were to follow the bloody-handed god of the Conquistadors, the twine I hold would be a rosary, but I do not, and it is not, and the language I use for my memories is far more subtle than that of the church. The Inquisition will never translate our secrets. If captured, I will swallow our time to keep it safe; they will never unravel that mystery.

I will keep this string by my side all of my life, until even the simple knot by which it's tied to me gains significance. And though I know I must in the end grow old, I swear that I will do anything - anything - rather than become just another old man, playing with a smooth unbroken length of string.

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