Sunday, December 23, 2007

Eleanor's Illness

So many months since Eleanor has been able to write! All this time I have visited her, and she has not been near her Machine, and cannot tell more about me. In my visits I have seen - oh, horrible things. A huge machine with a gaping mouth through which incurious people fed her, despite her fear and trembling. Terrible places, full of boxy machines that controlled her heartbeat or put their transparent, pointed snouts into her bloodstream, doing I know not what. For much of it she was in pain, and sometime early on I came to her just as she was lying on a hard cot, staring at a harsh light overhead with the silhouettes of people looking down all around. Just after that, she spiralled down into the dark and I lost her.

I have been frightened for her, watching this.

When she finally came home she was so sick that she vomited and lost her hair. Once I came when she sat, trembling, by the window, and watched your strange machines crawling by below - so like my Beetles! - too tired to do anything else. I saw her phantom in the glass of the window, pale and shadowed and too thin.

Then, for awhile when I came, she would be outside in the darkness, walking through the autumn evening: walking and walking, a warm hat pulled over her naked head. Her hair began to grow back, and she grew stronger, but still she did not go near her writing Machine.

Tonight, for the first time, I find her here, staring at the Machine. Outside, there are colored lights everywhere - some kind of Midwinter Festival? - and it is snowing. The hard streets of this place drizzle with light and movement, and there is a feeling in the air