Norah Jones was playing, in the back of her head. Compulsively. As she was eating lunch by herself. By the glass wall. Staring at the pigeons outside, scores of them sitting on the asbestos roof opposite. She had told herself to look at the way the leaves quivered though. Like they were cold. It brought her peace, how the wind that couldn't be seen effected motion. How the cause was invisible and the effect, she could see, feel. Those leaves and the trees they belonged to, she loved. The way their boughs touched the glass wall. Flowerless and lush green in rain. They aroused her, like hardly anything did.
From when she was a little girl, she was prone to illness. Of the mild kind, of the virile kind. Hypermetropia. Otosclerosis. Rheumatism. Complex words, lent by other languages to English, scribbled in illegible handwriting by bespectacled doctors. It took her months to get the spelling right. And today, she was aging. Sooner than she would, had she been elsewhere. Anywhere else.
She felt the blood rushing to her head. Felt her temples warmed up. Sounds in her ears, both of them got loud until she could hear no more. As if, she was inside a factory. And then, like she was inside a machine. Her eyes, began burning. To begin with, they felt sore. But in the minute that followed, they burnt. She wanted to run to the mirror to check if they were red too. But her legs wouldn't move. A convulsion passed right through her body.
How that felt, to have her body invaded by so many external forces. All invisible. And yet, she felt every limb shaking, dysfunctional. She tried so much to focus on the leaves and their quivering, the breeze, the glass. Or the pigeons. There was, what looked like a crow circling the asbestos roof. It seemed to fly higher and higher, into the afternoon sun. Or was she merely sinking from her chair, and then into collapsing into the ground.