Noel is looking for something. He looks in a drawer beside the bread box. He looks in the closet with the cleaning supplies. He smells cleaning products. He looks in the drawers of a polished table. He looks in the closet with the recycling stuff. He goes to the closet in his bedroom and yanks at his sports coats. He looks in the pockets of his sports coats. He looks in the pocket of his jeans. He looks for other things with pockets. Noel fingers through his underwear drawer. He reveals condoms and a dildo and some change at the bottom of his drawer. He goes to the kitchen. He looks through Lili’s purse. He does not look in the purse, he looks away from the purse. Noel claws around inside of the purse and gets frustrated. He looks in the drawer beside the bread box again. He finds a pack of gum and puts a piece of gum in his mouth.
In the basement there are piles of boxes and all of the boxes have descriptive writing on them like SUMMER CLOTHES and ST.PATRICK’S DAY DECORATIONS. There is one box with no descriptive writing on it. The box that has no title is in a far corner of the basement. Noel knows everything inside of that box is useless. Or he thinks that. He knows he’s had a number of fruitless digging sessions in that box. Noel never really looks in there. That box is strange. Its purpose has actually been forgotten. There are things in that box, kind of important ones. Noel never digs there. He leaves the untitled box where it is. He searches every box in the basement but the untitled box.
Noel gives up looking.
He lays down. He gets up and has to pee but doesn’t. He eats two chocolate dipped granola bars. He doesn’t think about the thing he’s missing. He doesn’t think about anything really. He sometimes thinks about an Animal Collective tune. He sometimes thinks about not knowing how to gauge his emotional compass. He’s not sure if he is happy or if he is sad. He’s sure he’s feeling something. His heart has an unnatural weight to it. He does not know if the emotions he emits are positive or negative. He does not know if he has mood swings. He feels like he needs some kind of help. He thinks he is either afraid to ask for help or too normal to need help. He smiles when he listens to music. He cries when he listens to music. He watches shows and feels he is perceptive and able to track the emotional motivations and interactions of the characters on that show. He reads books and feels he understands their depths. He makes a funny expression on his face. He pictures a squiggly smile, something Charlie Brown might make.
Noel goes to the bathroom and pees. He sits when he pees. His Ipod Touch is next to the toilet. He picks it up and thumbs it and looks for new emails. He plays a game on his Ipod. He pees and then sits on the toilet for three minutes after he pees. When he finishes the game he checks his email again. He flushes the toilet. He puts down the Ipod and washes his hands. He uses soap and waits for the water to steam. He dries his hands really thoroughly. He does not look at himself in the mirror. He’s humming a song. He needs to get ready for work.
Noel is in his classroom. The clock on the wall is a ticking clock and it is 7:55 AM. Noel looks around and sees the floor is polished. The desks are clean. Books are in order. This feels like a serene place. The sun is coming up. The sky is blue and white. The windows of the classroom frame the arc of a field that is green. A bell rings.
Noel smiles to students as they enter. Here is Rich who is quiet and likes to smile. Here is Andrew who sits at the back and cries once a day. Here is Ginny, from Korea whose father is a known swinger. Chris comes in. Once Chris’s mother hit on Noel and Noel really recoiled because Chris’s mother is really ugly in the face. Here comes Harrison who is really poor. Jack comes in and says something right away like “Hey Noel” and Noel gets mad at Jack for not saying mister. Mary, Ashlynn, Taryn come in and sit together and look at pink pages in a puppy book and smile and laugh and keep all other girls away. George comes in and smiles at Noel and walks up to Noel and touches him in the belly with an open hand. George rubs his face on Noel’s hip and Noel pats George and George drools a bit from his mouth and then George’s caretaker comes in. Tamara enters and she’s skinny and wearing a short skirt and her hair looks oily and she looks just rough and her eyes know some kind of danger that Noel has never known. Here is Keegan who cuts things with scissors. Kaitlyn is a super-duper Christian and she fingers her cross when she sees Noel. David comes in and is crying and tells Noel that Mitch punched him. Mitch comes in and says he didn’t punch David. David says that Mitch is lying and Mitch tells David to “bring it” and Noel sends Mitch out of class as Rodney, Patrick and Phil enter. Phil is scared of Mitch and probably lets a little pinch of urine out into his Depends. Catharine comes in last. Catharine is Noel’s niece. She is a little girl with golden hair and lots of smiles and a hard working attitude. She is everything Noel could hope for in a student. Catharine is hard working, critical thinking and philanthropic. She is 9 and a half. She is a constant reminder of how perfect Noel’s sister is as a parent. Noel’s sister is perfect at everything. His sister makes her perfection shine in ugly ways. His sister wants the world to know she is great. Noel is missing four students today due to illness.
Noel is home. Lili is sleeping in bed. Noel looks at Lili’s hair. Her hair is shiny. He touches her hair and it is warm .Noel smells her hair by putting his nose into it. He smells her shampoo. Noel listens to the silence around him. There is no difference between an object and an event. Smelling Lili every night to fall asleep is an event. The matter that has formed to become Lili is part of a longer event. Everything is a process, nothing is an entity. Noel falls asleep.
Noel is looking for something when he wakes up. He looks in his jackets and his jeans and in the basket next to the breadbox. He looks in all the drawers in the kitchen. The coffee maker is struggling to make a pot of coffee. A tail of steam comes from each drop into the pot.