Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Definition of a Thief

Walter B., as he rummaged through Beatrice's blouse pockets, asked her carefully what the word "thief" meant. He had heard this word before. Once in the great field. And once in the kitchen. It felt like a word with great distance. For years it had already seemed too late to ask. But not with Beatrice. Not now. With Beatrice he could ask anything. Gently removing his hands, as he had once removed hers, Beatrice said, "it is an instance, Walter B., of carrying away something that is not yours to carry away. For example," she continued, "if I am carried away by an idea, this idea becomes for me a thief. I become nothing, in this instance, but a stolen object. I comb my hair and eat my breakfast only in the realm of this idea. To be a thief, Walter B., and this is the most important part, to be a thief means to be a person who is only able to be an existing idea if he or she carries away and then dwells in another. Do you understand?" she asked. But Walter B. had stopped listening. He was staring at Beatrice's mouth. As if he could reach inside it and pull out a long gray hair. Or an egg filled with red sugar.

-Sabrina Orah Mark