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green sunsets. That’s what I’m saying.”
The teacher put his head in his hands and rubbed the temples.
“Green sunsets?”
“The difference between black people and white people is almost
nothing. But the eye is programmed to make a big deal out of it. So
the eye divides the world, divides people, divides countries. That’s
why we should only trust words. They free us from the eye and from
biology. Civil Wars are not only between men, but inside them.”
The teacher crossed his arms. “You are doing this on purpose,”
he said coldly. “Go to your seat.”
Yak failed the assignment.
The other students shunned him as they would any other
eccentric misfit, only he was too big to beat up. His mother
maintained that they were well-provided for. Why struggle to adapt?
He would never have to leave their perfect home. So he dropped out
of the system, severed his ties with civilization and spent his
adolescence in their capacious garden reading bibles, encyclopedias
and assorted old literature gleaned from posh neighborhood garage
sales. He wrote about chaste loves he would never pursue, journeys
to places he would never visit, and epic battles that would never
engage in. He wrote and wrote and wrote until the scrawled sheaves
surrounded and defined him like papier-mâché around a piñata. The
colorful and arbitrary worlds in his stories became more real for him
than the crepuscular civilization down the hill from his periwinkle
Not that he had any intention of publishing his work. That would
have been as absurd to him as publishing his life. He did not write for
an audience. He wrote because without writing, he would not exist.
His mother was not the recluse he was and so there were often
visitors at the house. One of the most frequent visitors was a
neighbor of theirs, a tall and imposing older man who came over
often for tea and conversation. Occasionally he visited with his wife,
but more often showed up alone. Reed Bunting expressed a constant
fascination with Yak, keeping abreast of his health and height,
marveling at the mighty river of words that poured from his pen.
It was because he had no children of his own, his mother told
him, that the man took such an interest. But Yak didn’t care one way
or the other. He was just another shadow in a dimensionless world
that could never live up to the one in his imagination.
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