Kafka in Cleveland

There is a moment in Kafka’s Trial where the main character opens the door to a room where he witnessed atrocities the day before.

Typically in the horror genre, the twist would be that there are no signs of what occurred the day before, only silence and darkness.

Instead, he finds that the atrocities are still only going on. He is not crazy, the world is crazy.

I remember how excited I was going to Hazel, which I thought for sure was haunted for the first time. Staying hours in the cafeteria, never having seen so much food, gorging myself on excess of every kind, not knowing there existed such things as mistakes or pain. That I could be a recipient of pain, a maker of mistakes, and most surprising of all, be someone who causes immense pain were things I hadn’t learned yet. Being so ready to leave, biding my time in hopelessness on the couch while you slept in the room. I will walk to the campus bookstore which I thought of as my Tiffany’s. I will breathe the dusty air in Harkness where I was solidified in her class. I will walk by 205, that hallowed space where I spent so much time, reading Kundera on the floor, practicing, loving music, honestly just wasting time, because I was just a kid, I had so much of it then. I will go to my favorite room where I would watch the sun rise on the walls at 7:15 when the school opened. Or I would watch it in Hazel in the upper corner, listening to the heater, reading everything is illuminated in the resplendent light during practice breaks. The first difficult and complex female friendships of my life, best friends today. My beautiful friend who loved to read. I can see her pea coat and her gloves and scarf and her hazel eyes. The first love, the first pain, the deep love, the secret passageway, that one moment I’ll try to express the rest of my life, losing my shit in the food co-op when I first realized that losing someone is something you experience over and over again every time you do something without them for the first time. I’ll walk by my old homes. The home I shared with girls across from the hall from my best friend. Chasing the sunlight in a car. The studio where I would pray on my knees alone in the night, and leave at 3 am to wander the streets because I didn’t care what happened to me. The studio where I quietly put my finger around the idea of being free. And the music, all the music I loved alone in the library, all the texts I read and studied and listened to. All the people who taught me, and played with me, and made me. All the magic of sound which, like every moment in life, happens only once and dissipates.

I have so much sadness when I think of my time there, and I think it’s because the door has been closed for the last 6 years. I’m about to open it.

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