An excerpt From "The Very First Summer of Rebecca Emmons," a novel by Anthony Rosania.
She thought it was in the mid-nineties at least. And she felt hot and she felt drowsy. She felt like a hollow gourd, and thought it would be nice to live to make it home so she could lie in a hammock strung between two elms in her yard, and sip pink lemonade and relax. Sleep would do her a world of good, in all the shadows. For she was for some reason very tired, as if she had run a very long arduous race. And perhaps she had.
She also, though she tried hard, suddenly remembered she had no idea what she had been doing downtown, how long she had been in the sun's beady overpowering glare, and it's playing hide and seek with reality and sanity, Or where she had been before that.
She hated that thought - reality and sanity - the opposites being delusion and insanity. The words which once had had a nice sound to them for her for some reason now smelled like dead flies and looked like huge, thick steel doors and walls with a million unbreakable brackets in them and no hinges on the doors or walls at all, at all.
She felt, if things would just rhyme, if she could live in a world of rhymes, she would feel better. Because she was not feeling well again.
If she could just perspire. That would be something. A person could die being in all this heat and not being able to perspire. She stepped onto the sidewalk across the street, dodging traffic at a green light, with horns blowing at her. As she stumbled across in front of them.
She felt lost, more than a little frightened, all the nice alienness of the recent past had deserted her. She did not know what had happened to her. Reality was a burden, and she wished it away.
She walked now by the housing project five blocks from town. Had she walked that far without knowing it?, where some black kids were in the community yard, tossing around a baseball, and she felt the skin on her left arm, and her left arm alone, dry, hot, but dry, like the skin of a baked orange, as now was the skin on her forehead when she pushed her hand against it; she felt somewhat let down when she removed her hand and her forehead stayed as it was.
She had thought it might fall off like old ceiling plaster. What had she been expecting otherwise? A door to open in it and her hand to be caught in it, and then cut off with the sharp door-blade? Had she expected her head to open by a button she would push in the center of her forehead, the top of her skull springing over to lay next to the side of her face?
The boys were noticing her. She wondered if she knew them. She was not comfortable in the presence of black people. Especially black boys. They frightened her by just being there.
One of the boys called something to her, but she was unable to make out his patois. She had learned the word "patois" in school last year, meaning language, and liked knowing it. It sounded so much better than some other words for some other things.
That was what her mother had always told her, remember, they can't help it. If one of them says something you can't understand, just pretend you're deaf and go about your business, they can't help it, their big lips and all and their poor upbringing.
So she walked on, her head down, and more than one boy yelled some not very kind things at her and she wanted to turn and apologize. The other boys were laughing and imitating her. Even so, she wanted to apologize for them, which made no sense. But how could she apologize for their being cinders in the way of her view of the sun? As though they owned it or something.
She had a sudden desire to blame the whole of her life on them.
She was hurt, blushing, and angry at herself. She had made her mind up from some time forward, when she would stop mollycoddling herself and stop thinking of herself as the Rose Princess.
The smaller we are, the smaller our concept of NOW must be. If my NOW is 5 feet, a man may have a NOW of 6 feet. More things can happen in his NOW than my NOW. An ant, on the other hand, has a NOW of less than an inch. It would take an ant several minutes to move within my NOW. I can watch the ant walk through my now. It seems very slow. To the ant, he may be running at an incredible pace. To another ant standing still, he may be flying by, because one ant will pass through another ant's NOW in less than a second. Interestingly enough, if we lay our head to the ground, and lessen our perception of our own NOW, the ant seems to move faster.
The relativity of time, as discussed by Einstein? It is in the palm of your hand.