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Wuthering Lows

Updated on March 5, 2014

9x-7i > 3(3x-7u)

My head was too comfortable in my hand to bother turning it. What's that jerky motion called, when your eyes shift focus to something else? A saccade, I think. I made a few of those—or maybe I didn't, I guess, I can't really say that I focused on anything. Why do I know that word, anyway? Where did I learn it? It's not like anyone uses it. Same thing with defenestrate, or aglet. You know what, maybe that's not even the word. Whatever they're called, I'm confident that I made them as my eyes wandered away from my paper, dropped from the desk, rolled across the floor and bounced against the window.

3(3x-7u) = 9x-21u

It must've been February. Even if I hadn't written the date—the fourteenth—on my paper, the window said it plainly. Everything about it was plain, really. Bland, and gray. Too gray. Didn't Lewis Black rant about that? February is too gray... something like that. It's a vague colour, a good one for a sky, I think. My eyes dropped back onto my paper, and I added a little bit to the soft graphite scratching that filled the room.

9x-7i > 9x-21u

I stared at it, mulling it over; at some point it got lost, misfiled, so to speak, in my head. The clouds were low, and the world was covered in fog. Purple Haze, all in my brain... I couldn't see far past the street, everything beyond was undefined. I looked at the answer I had just scrawled down and wondered if it was intentional.

The school year was coming to a close, and I felt lighter for it. The stream of homework had slowed to an ebb, a trickle, and would eventually evaporate. The lights were off—the sun provided plenty to go by—and the fan was on, as the cool wind outside didn't reach us in here. I lounged in my seat, appreciating the chilly sweep of the fan as it turned briefly in my direction. I smiled, an imperceptible, contented grin.

My eyes were drawn toward the window, and I effectively forgot about my surroundings: Even the chatter and buzz of nearby conversation was dulled to my ears. The blues and greens of the skies and trees looked impossibly vivid—what a great word—almost stylized, like a painting; and then it occurred to me that if Michaelangelo had been commissioned to paint the chapel at a much younger age, he may very well have been Sistine going on seventeen, and I felt impressively dumb and clever simultaneously.

I stared through the window, absentmindedly watching the tree branches sway to and fro in the breeze. I made another few whatever-they're-called with my eyes, watching it rock back and forth. Tap, tap, my fingers lightly joined in. The sky was a remarkable, a dark blue, the grass was chartreuse, colourful like someone spilled paint and let the art loose. I just rhymed some words and it wasn't even hard to, just let my mind compute connections like I'm R2, D2, how lucky I am to have this glass for me to see through, to have something kindly giving me the means to, check out the clean blue, to admire the green hues, the grass and leaves and whatever else the trees grew. I just keep rhyming these words; don't even mean to, I guess I'm just feeling inspired by this keen view, because honestly I'm doing this with ease you, don't believe me but I'm telling the pristine truth, because the scene I'm seeing's more appealing than the Sistine roof... well, ceiling.

Snow caked the window frame, and the glass was coated in frost. I could scarcely see out of them, but I could make out snowflakes against the gray sky in gentle descent. I like snow. Something was happening within the classroom, but I didn't hear it; at some point, I lost the very ability to. It's called selective attention. I think. I learned about it in Psychology. Well, we talked about it in Psychology. I doubt it was the first time I'd learned about it. I wonder if that qualifies as a boundary of human perception. I mean, the term is “selective,” which implies a certain amount of choice, but I'm not making the conscious decision to do it. Nobody does. We just... clock out. Even when we're paying attention, there's still so much we miss. Which shirt was I wearing yesterday? Who remembers what—I don't know—what colour of marker the teacher used on the board in their last class? Well, mine used pink. I only remember that because it was pale and faded and I couldn't make out most of the words. Now that is a boundary of human perception.

The wafting snowflakes grew bigger. I wanted to say snowballed, but that doesn't make any sense. The wind grew slightly upset, and the gentle drift became something more akin to a flurry, obscuring most everything. In fact, I doubt that was the first time anyone had learned about it. I was familiar with most everything we discussed in that class, so it's not unlikely that everyone else was, too. Or maybe I was just projecting—that's another thing we learned, or talked, about—my own experiences onto them. Some of them probably only took the class for the credits, and hadn't read anything at all about it prior. I wonder when I even read those articles. I don't remember sitting down and intentionally browsing for some psychological reading material. I mean, I bought that book, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. My backlog is getting far too cluttered.

Memory is also one of those boundaries, isn't it? The flurry outside had evolved into a blizzard. I mean, we can't even notice half the things that are going on around us—humans are effectively blind 2 hours a day, it's called saccadic suppression—is that the word?—and we pretty much block out everything else anyway—so how much can we really claim to remember? And our experiences are so limited anyways. I can only see things and interpret things with my eyes, and my brain—how can I know that others don't see things completely differently? Even the people in my memories, who experienced the same thing I did, saw it in another light. And so much of what they saw is blurred, so even if we tried to collaborate and remember exactly what happened on a given day, would we really be able to? Even if we all conceded that something happened, our memory is also very open to suggestion—I read that, somewhere, but of course I don't remember where—how could I? The tempest outside had effectively whited out the window, but I stared anyways. Class has to be over soon. Over the intercom they announced that the roads were too slick to drive on. I quite looked forward to the walk home.


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    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 

      5 years ago from New Delhi , India

      I notice a mistake in my comments above. Devon, please read it as my mind instead of my mad. I'm really sorry for the mistake so occurred.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 

      5 years ago from New Delhi , India

      Devon, this is a fantastic piece from you and you have described the goings on vis-vis our existence so artfully. I welcome to you on hubpages. I enjoyed and relished this hub from the deep recesses of my mad and heart. Well done. Voted up.


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