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Envelopes made their way into the waste paper basket, but even as she read the business jargon on the sheets they had contained her mind went off on an allegorical course. What was the purpose of it all? What was the significance of it? The life of the envelope, she thought, was a strange, rather sad thing. It guarded its letter from A to B. It was collected, sorted, done up in a bundle or a sack, thrown into a train, and carried for miles, re-sorted, delivered, and then, having finished the course, fought the good fight and run the straight race, it was crumpled and thrown into a waste paper basket, from where it might be salvaged and re-pulped to make a fresh envelope; re-incarnation, she thought? Or it might be burnt. But, according to Newtonian physics, its matter could neither be carried nor destroyed, it would pass, like a paper gnostic, back to the great ocean of all things, its carbon and hydrogen forming strange new gaseous products. She forced her attention back to the printed word, sorted the mail and took it to the respective departments where it belonged.
She hurried to the tiny bathroom and splashed rather than washed; flying upstairs again she dressed with breathless haste and flew through into the kitchenette of her minature flat. Cornflakes spilled into a Swedish-modern plastic bowl like coins from a perverted Mint. Milk drenched the gold, dissolving it into a miry bog of gooey, yellow white mud. Sugar descended like badly thrown artificial snow in a provincial pantomime. It sank as snowflakes sink into river banks where there is not quite enough frost to freeze ugly mud and provide a safe anchorage for the miniature white stars. Estelle's spoon dipped into the milk-sugar-grain sog and her even white teeth made some sort of pretence at catching the mouthfuls as they went through. Any relationship between the frenzied gulping and normal mastication was purely co-incidental.
The Girl From Tomorrow © R. Lionel Fanthorpe.
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