Focus. Breathe. Here. Fuzzy wool strings. Lime green. Flayed solar flares encroaching empty space, like rabbit ears stumped. A loom undone. The Dardanelles. Where did that come from? Why now and here just before his interview?
He knew he’d obsess on this, on these, on that—the Dardanelles.
What was it? A battle, a strait, something from World War I?
He needed to be clear headed for his interview, the only serious follow-up during these difficult plague times. He really needed this job—but the Dardanelles would not stop plaguing him.
When the hell did I study World War I anyway? Was that in elementary school, or world history in the ninth grade? I certainly must have encountered it in Western Civ II in college. So many classes over the years where we started it out with heavy and thick tomes which we never got further than two-thirds of the way through. Lord, help me, what are the Dardanelles? What neural passages are misfiring in my head? I should be concentrating on my performance. Remember, play up the points of the portfolio’s diversification index, how you held over 200 million in— What? Why? The damned Dardanelles… those were months when he would choke me to the point of unconsciousness. And he beat me because I couldn’t pronounce Ypres correctly. God, those fucking burning welts. Who cares about the archduke? I don’t give a flying fuck about the breadth of the Ottoman Empire. What did I do to deserve the buckle-end belt beatings? What—Get it together. Focus. Here. Now. Breathe. You’re safe. The interview. The interview. Here. Now. Breathe. Deep. Center. Focus. Focus on that Ficus at reception. Breathe. Assets. 200 million. Diversified index. Emerging markets—Son of a bitch had a dreadful childhood, so he did the same for me? Dredged in civil dissimulation, but at home who got his fingers forced on the hot stove coils? Who had balloon hands and sloughed skin? Because of the Dardanelles. Ypres. The archduke. Focus. Here. Now. Breathe. You’re here, not there. It’s now, not then. Breathe. Focus.
“A grief-stricken square feels acutely trapezoidal.”
— Ida Vitale / Byobu