Her eyes flit over the internal communiqué: two paragraphs of formulaic expressions resume the unswerving inconvenience – the nub. Her lips pout. Indeed she can feel them protruding, as the pink flesh turns through sullenness into a twist of contempt. What she holds in her hands is not the final word. Nonetheless, she knows it will come. The fatal draft will be sent. Of that there can be no doubt.
She has been blithely hoeing her way through routine, caught in a dense mist of elsewhere. Fogbound. And if from her impasse she has heard anything of the chatter about her, well, what she has seen, she has seen amiss. For months there has been talk. Not chatter, talk, serious talk, the kind that eventuates in action, the kind that upends lives without forewarning. But for the fog, she ought to have heard them, the bureau’s directors, ought to have heard them threading their industrious thoughts above her. The thread of words escapes the eye. Even though to hear is not enough, even though she knows this: for one must see, and more keenly still one must penetrate the veiling shadow of the unseen. Only then can one get a finger under the hem of words, only then can one begin to unstitch the thread, let slip this locution, that term, and finally unveil intention – the tremor of the ultimate fact; alas she has been too occupied elsewhere to care, and thus she has allowed the invisible hem of words to seal her fate, hers and others too.
Now the fog is about to condense. Of that there can be no doubt. And if she fails to peer down at her business-like feet, if she fails to consider where they might carry her, she will be swept away, overrun with panic, overcome, with no more than a lean paper cheque to mollify her body – a canvas of pasty white tones – durable like hessian, yet somewhat careworn under closer inspection, and growing fuzzy at the edges.
Her lips pout. Not a stir in the air about her. Wait, she must await the official word, the fatal draft.
The word trancher hovers above the desk.
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