~ a short story

Over the bridge, she walked past the people and between the raindrops, missing them all.

Discolored wrappers flickered at her feet, fluttering between the slats of the bridge, falling to the racing flow of traffic below. Larks rested on the power lines above, silent. An appalling overcast summoned the day away and away. Warm tears fell onto her skin, dampening her further and further. From the sky, they carried the aura of purgatory with them.

She raced to nowhere no one knew. Hands in her jacket pockets, wrapping her body in a stilted, half-hearted embrace, she fiddled with the lent within. Lustrous black hair flowed down her shoulders like the falls of the world, beautiful and monstrous, hidden and unforgettable.

An acrid puke scented the city. Shifting lights and distant, blaring horns warded off any first phase of serenity. Cartoon chickens, grinning like villains, signed at the periphery. Swooshing symbols on panes of glass stretched into view, selling immaterial poisons of every flavor. An estranged, perfect geometry, with a place for every single weight and worry, wrapped these blocks. The others entered these tall boxes to transact and labor and shed themselves of their coils. Slowly, surely, dreadfully. Nothing nameless here, the steel abided only purposeful bends. The city screamed so constantly that it could no longer be heard.

…Death routines orchestrated an orchid of fallen souls that didn’t feel their fall and now live only in mucks and mires, unable to sight their predicament, anguishing with unfelt muscle memory that stirs further quicksandy descent…

She passed by with eyes down, on the cracks and seams of the concrete, stepping over them. Her boots were laced tightly for trekking. Nowhere she looked up to abided her; there could be no name for the maelstrom she carried. Every day she shed wisps of its raging, only for them to return and return, stronger and stronger.

Every moment was invulnerable; every one was her. That storm circled and floated beneath the surfaces of her soul. It crackled and sparked, undying, growing alongside her, mutating and melding to her heart’s incessant beating.

The rain kept falling.

She was quiet. Stronger than anyone knew. A convicted gaze met every obstacle with the grace of a champion. Her work kept her alive. She’d loved and lost, learned and lasted. Like a shade, she drifted from place to place; like a dancer, her moves were unselfconscious and gorgeous. Like a nomad, she lived on instinct, wandering through fogs she sought.

People saw her. How could they not? Beautiful beyond words. Some smiled; many fantasized. Though not for lack of trying, they could not meet her eyes. For they were away and away.

And yet, far was she from oblivious. She saw everything, too; every face was one she consciously avoided facing.

Over crosswalks and under ‘scraping shadows, the air stilled and the drops fell. The shuffling hordes pulsed in a din of cluttered vibration, pushing and pulling their own mass into an immortal, unchanging inertia.

They were an ocean of nobodies that she could not be bothered to bathe a quantum of her own consciousness with, marking even one of them as a somebody.

Under her regard, they were going nowhere.

Only she advanced. Only unto herself.

By and by, she made it to her destination. The grey day marked no discernible passage. She wore no watch; her phone was cracked and broken, purposefully forgotten on the nightstand beside her bed, unmade and still slowly chilling itself from her wake.

She was in the park; she stood before a tree. It sprawled with wrinkled trunk and falling vine. A great root to rival one of Ygg’s, she beckoned a smile before it, one like she might give to an old friend. That smile, with those lips and those eyes, was like a ray ripped from Source flame, bright and unstoppable, sublimely unsighted by any other conscious soul and amplified somehow for it.

She loosed her jacket and slipped from her shoes. Her toes hit the grass and sank into soil. With care, she folded and placed her clothes nearby. The ritual had begun. On hands and knees, in the shrouded sun of mid-morning, on the damp carpet of gleaming green, she prayed. Then, she leaned and hugged the base of the tree, ever unable to wrap her arms fully.

Eyes shut, she couldn’t know, and nor did she care, if anyone saw her now.

This was her place, her tree. Her life.

After all, it was only here that she could remember.

In silence, she stood and waited for a time untold. Remembering and reeling, never letting any of it land within her.

When she’d had enough, she put her past back down, turned from her gnarled nemesis, put those garments back on, and left the park, returning home by a different way.

Soon, the rain stopped and the sky began to clear. Nearing birdsong rang into her and she let herself breathe, at last. ~



n. the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it — whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness — which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land.