Saturday, December 28, 2013
The Teapot Moved (2)
When the teapot moved not once but twice, you realise that the first time it moved could not have been as imaginary as you had originally imagined, given the evidence of the second time. You have often been in situations with inanimate things moving where there is no obvious cause for the effect. All to do with mirrors, lights, angles, tiredness. Nothing supernatural or psychokinetic. Only you watching. But when it happens out of the blue, you often take a double-take. Did it really move? Probably not. It would take a ruler to measure any give or take in the situation. But if it moves as a result of you looking at it, even without you consciously willing it to move, it becomes obvious that there are strange happenings abroad. The darkness settled in early, despite the clocks going forward an hour the day before. You wonder if it's a clotted cloud formation, rather than the leading edge of night's blanket being used to make your bed, tucking you in as comfortably as possible so that premature sleep might explain any subsequent dreaming. And, surely, you thought, the act of seeing the teapot move on the tea-table before the dream started would surely make you wonder if you were dreaming that you were awake. The window was now blacker than if you had painted the glass with an opaque gloss stolen from a dead person's cupboard. Night was never that dark, was it? The bulb hanging from the kitchen ceiling didn't even swing. It was stock still. But it was dimming faster than the sun must have done in the last few minutes. Dimming, however, was not a movement as such; dimming was never as strange as an object like a teapot budging of its own volition. The stewed remains within settled into a coagulation of leaves and black space. There were exactly one thousand tealeaves and you wonder who had taken the trouble to count them into the teapot before pouring over the scalding water. It needed other eyes to see what was happening inside the pot, as yours were busy watching events from outside. One single abrupt jolt, and the first movement was complete. You only now needed – with the requisite suspense – to await the second movement ... except you were unaware that there was due to be a second movement, especially as you thought you had merely imagined the first one. You decided it was time for bed. You pray a thousand prayers to a God addressed as thou or thy or thee. You must have assessed the passing of time differently from its reality. And if time is misjudged, you were unsure that the time correcting itself might cause objects to move, as if you had moved the teapot during the period of time that had now been blocked or short-circuited so as abruptly to change dusk into night. You were now found to be in your bedroom, not the kitchen, pulling back the blanket ready for your body to be finally laid to rest. Steeped in sleep, infused with dream, cosied by darkness, motionlessly reaching out for a silent prayer that you ached to pray but couldn't. Wedged in by a sodden mass of dead insects which, even beyond a dream's unreason, were still alive and eager to become your single-minded stew of consciousness - a spout for a thousand thoughts or a thousand thous. Dead ... until I moved.