Tuesday, June 22, 2010


For a few moments he wanted to stay in bed and linger over the numbers, roll them around his mouth, chew them with as much ease and relaxed satisfaction as a sneaky child munching candy on the sly, far from the stern gaze his rigid parents. (Who among us does not want to ease into, and endure, such moments for as long as possible?) However, as clearly as the numbers tasted to him -- as startlingly fresh and vital as cold river water on a hot summer's eve -- clear, too, was the realization that the world was waiting. Out there. For him. Something to see and taste around every corner.

Within seconds after this realization Brody was up, showered, dressed and out the door, almost in a single bounce of joy and glee and simple possibility. He wondered if this was how the most content of rabbits must feel as they hippity-hopped their short little lives away amidst a forest of grass and green. Today's day was a beautiful day -- sunny and vibrant. The city was still quiet, as it should be at five after five on a Sunday morning. The occasional red newspaper delivery truck rounded a corner every few moments as Broday walked along, wandering nowhere. As he studied the stack of rope-bound newspapers that hurtled through the air, he wondered if the newsprint, too, seen from a distance, would have a certain tangible taste. If numbers could open up a world of delectable possibilities, perhaps letters, too, had their own intrinsic nourishment?

Brody stopped at the corner of 15th and Haverly, a few blocks up from his apartment, suddenly struck by a thought that was both tantalizing and more than a little stunning. (He was 'stunned' often, Brody was.) What if it all went away? Even now, with the fresh air feeling good and clean as it cleansed out his sleep-struck throat, he realized that he hadn't tasted any numbers for a good two, three minutes. He shut his eyes and tried to get a grip on fifteen, a grasp of twenty-six, a little nibble of ninety-two. Nothing. Not even an aftertaste. (Or was it more like a foretaste?) Perhaps those rocking moments of only a few minutes ago (had it been so short a span?) were merely the remnants of the certainty that one acquires only after the deepest and truest sleep. The world's problems have been solved, the atom has been split, the Torah decoded and comprehened once and for all. The pillow, in that weirdly magnificent realm where sleep ends and awakeness starts to intrude, is the garden on which one plants the fruit of eternal knowledge. Until you lift your head and open your eyes.

Had he taken himself for a ride?