There was a belief that the wheel would last forever. The strongest design possible was, after all, the classic circular wheel that meant all forces around it played against each other before being able to focus any end force against the thing itself. Therefore, I stared at the person who showed me his design for a wheel and I could not believe it was a wheel at all. It seemed square but with levers along most of its exterior points, levers that changed position as the whole thing was pushed ... each lever levering the others with a series of internal pulleys and springs. I thought a real wheel would have been so much simpler – and I laughed.
And he laughed, too, as he produced from behind his back – like a conjuror – another thing he called a wheel...
“I am going to have another...” he intoned.
I expected him to continue the sentence. Another what? I signalled the question with a single glance. I was used to flirtatiously batting my eyelids and always getting what I wanted. But he remained silent, merely showing me another object and then another. As if they weren’t objects at all but speculative ‘anothers’, each ‘another’ complete in itself without another word following it to act as noun or descriptor.
Each ‘another’ was an invention. An invention of another invention. From would-be wheels, he progressed to was-once-upon-a-time musical instruments, and from those to never-could-have-been items of clothing. He even managed to produce a has-been. A ghost of an existence that took shape before my very eyes as he tugged pulleys, stretched out springs and opened hinges, its eyelids echoing my own with each tweak he gave it.
To come full circle, I watched his would-be bones refuse to fuse ... and he clunked to a halt on a hillock like a premonition of a modern stairway of stone steps.
I climbed them expecting each one to be the last. But there was always another.
Another last balcony.