Saturday, April 14, 2007

On the morning of the day that they became strangers, she had left him a note taped to the bathroom mirror. It said, "Hello you. If you don't have any other plans today, I taped that show about people that have been picked up by tornadoes and put back down somewhere else. Please don't move the bag of apples and the plastic army men off of the turntable--I have plans for them later. That unicorn in the living room is friendly; it just wanted to come in out of the rain. Please drink some milk, because I am worried about your bones, and I will see you for dinner tonight. Heart, me."

As she walked down the stairs she accidentally kicked herself in the ankle, leaving a little divot in the soft flesh right above the bone. And then at dinner something disconnected behind his eyes and what had been suddenly wasn't anymore.

It's the memory of that last note that thrums all of the nerves that make her skin cringe. She remembers deliberately getting lost in the woods behind her house as a child, picking her way across the roots of trees and turning the other way at every path until she was well and truly disconnected from her bearings. Only it turned out that lost wasn't where she wanted to be and when they found her cradled at the bottom of an oak the next day she looked up at them sheepishly and burst into tears. The thought of that last note makes her feel foolish in that same swollen eight-years-old way.

A break in the traffic brings a quiet that settles over her like dust on a wallowing sparrow. With a lack of other options she sits as still as she can, hoping that the stillness will seep through to her bones.

(Relatedly: a boy and a girl, a boy.)

No comments: