The thing you couldn’t place. That feeling, unsure. A look, a gaze. Recognition. Maybe. That well in your heart. That spike in your pulse. A bite in the air. A chill at your side. That was me. Waiting to be seen. That was us. Lingering over a moment.
Night walking. Head hazy. The streets warped like an Escher picture. Yet my routefinder kicks in. My feet walk a path they’ve walked too many times before.
Third lamppost on the left, take the snicket Dark and narrow I snag on brambles falling free, skin torn, stinging. Head for the light, the other side. Stumble on loose paving stones down the steps to arrive on your street.
Quiet. Calm. Unchanged.
I sit on the pavement. Hug my knees tight. Here again.
Thinking back it seemed to last an age. My memory reel playing in slow motion. Recounting frame by frame an event that lasted less than ten seconds. That’s how long it took for the world to change. Just ten seconds. A fall, a dull thud and then silence. Heavy silence. Winded by inaction. I couldn’t get to you. Couldnd’t cry. Sirens wailed, a seagull screamed, an arm on my shoulder, steering away from the scene. Away from you.
Cold hands touch me. My heart races, skin dances, breath escapes. You are there to catch it. You are there.
We stood on top of the hill. The city lights glistened below. Like stars dropped from the skies.
Just moments from home yet a different world. Up here the moon shined fierce, the cold bit harder. The shadows screamed.
Up here the earth was strong.
Hushed whispers ran through the grass. Howling wind slapped our faces. Charcoal trees laughed in darkness. Gnarled branches scratched our skin.
Our soft flesh scraped and tattered, we became something else.
Eyes burned ebony whirlpools. Limbs stretched, wings emerged. We took flight into the night. Another shadow, another scream.
Satsuma skies bursting. Colours bright on a faded day. Soft clouds huddle. Making their plans. At a window a girl watches. Fingers pressed tight. Intent on the outside. Ignoring the blackness behind. Dark shadows, angry voices, bitter bites of sour words. Her face hugs the glass. Waiting. Hoping. For the first fall of snow.
Does your neck still burn from the rope I gave you. Do you think of me when you struggle to swallow. Your Adams Apple bobbing against what’s no longer there. Squeezing past the memory. The token I gave you to show I cared. Is it tucked in a draw, at the back with the socks. Beneath lining paper, pulled up at the corner. Do you reach to touch it. A repeated action you never let go. Grasping for nothing. Grasping at skin. Does your neck still burn. I wonder.
I got challenged to write a story including the word Rhinoceros
The rain drizzled half-heartedly. Soaking my jacket, without even trying. I was walking alone. I’m not sure when I let go of his hand. I think it was near the rhinoceros enclosure though it might have been before. I didn’t notice the loss. Didn’t notice his absence. I think I knew it was over. I turned to look back. He was stood reading about the rhino. Endangered. Extinct. Time for goodbye.
What started as a No turns to a maybe. Day after day that thought, that possibility weaves softly. Subtly crafting, carving a place. Now I’m here. Confused. Watching you. Butterflies dancing. Hand tapping. When did you become a Yes. When did you become it all.
Early morning. Waking up. A light in the window, reflects like the moon. For a moment I forget. Forget where I am, what time it is. Inside or outside. Night or day. For a moment anything is possible.