In the world of things some objects appear to be just passing through while others are anchored and coated in patina. The soul of patina - yes it has a soul, just look at it. The soul of patina is the unspeakable remnant of someone else’s memory. Patina is evidence of what’s been well used, lost and found, caught up in a feud, drowned in flood, scorched by love and covered with one too many passes of roach spray.
Left behind in the basement of my new old house is a Hoosier cabinet. It has a clever little wind-up clock set in its cabinet door. I wind. It cranks. It goes. Each part of the two parts, the tick and the tock, has a different sound. Behind the door is a ledger book stuck to the shelf from the weight of its own inertia and time itself.
Paper absorbs all matter, all scents. So before I even pick up this book its ink, the leather, the cotton, the glue are already drifting up and creeping around the inside of my nose. It’s filled with pencil scribblings of someone’s reckoning and the edges are all browned by grease and dirt from hands that touched everything a hand could touch. I find tucked inside a stamped ticket purchased to book passage from an old world to a new.
I take the cupboard apart and drag the pieces up the steps into the kitchen. Might be useful storage. I turn the drawers upside down and tap hard to shake loose the obvious dust and grit from the corners. I find the usual straight pin, penny, and red flat-head thumbtack stuck into the bottom of the drawer. I look for the piece of lead broken off of a wooden No.2 pencil. I love pencils. The shorter they are – the more endearing. The Hoosier is a forensic cesspool. I paint over all the clinging germs. No one will know they were there except me.
More encounters with After Things to come...