“Nan! I woke up from a dream where I was looking at the postcard you sent me, and the subject was missing.”
Her grandmother nodded. She often did now.
She knew she understood. They had standing appointments to meet in the narrowing corridors of her mind’s labyrinth. Because, just when it seemed they couldn’t get narrower, they would suddenly open to cavernous, multi faceted rooms of beauty, with the aura of home she had never known, and she wanted to be in there with her. It was captivating.
She had challenged her once to find the heart of the story. Especially in the biggest “rooms” or, heaven forbid, if she found herself in rooms of smoke and mirrors.
She looked at her with those eyes. From her childhood.
Every way she listened, there were endings.
This weight of pretense had to be shifted.
It was time to chord change them out of the cliché, and even though his music always made her dance, his shadows were not hers.
So she did what he didn’t expect. She brought the pig’s heart.
And they drank the wine…
pebbles in knees blood drips in degrees depending on motion and height of the trees in ways so undaunting and friendships unhaunting we packed up our bags and rode from the taunting within our own mind we pedalled the wind and the twist of the road from siblings unkind
golden the handshakes we never knew everyone did it so we did not too the secrets unfolded then refolded wrong and how we laughed later when hearing that song and promises broken before they were made the pastor’s son kindly spiked lemonade but we did ask nicely and he knew us from… a minor detail and life moved along and dancing all night our friendship stayed strong…
This was so not like the other door she had opened. This was better.
She had never appreciated their persuasiveness as much as she did now. She made a mental note to thank them after the recording.
Best game show ever.
She heard them! The chords of cogency. Crescendoing. Pulsating with hermeneutical harmonies that filled her with a sensation she hadn’t felt in years. The clarity descending in notes that burst her heart.
Her heart. That’s what she could feel!
She was right to leave.
And she didn’t just walk. She floated. On the weightless tears of Another.
He turned her back, from face down, and she left forever.
Right out of that grave.
It was the first time she had come back to his space. They walked into the room where he didn’t do much living and he showed her the place. On the wall. Where he strung up the different shades of pathos.
In the right order, of course.
She was more impressed than she thought she would be.
And now she was scared.
Scared that he knew right where to put her.
It was going to be a normal day. If it was the last thing they ever did. A normal day of picnicking in the sun, like normal families. On a sunny spring day. With a packed basket. And a blanket. And outside games. And other normal things that nobody they knew ever did. Because, well, they did time travel to get there.
And this was where they were going to meet her grandmother. She told them she had the secret to normal and she wanted them to have it. It would be in a little box. And normal people carried such things around. Although, she had never opened it herself. She was just going by what her mother had told her.
And sure enough, it was labelled “normal”.
On one side. The outside.
The other side, the inside, was a lot more than they ever did not expect.
“What was that word again? The one that was on his face?” I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW. “What was that time again? You know, when he was in that place?” Stop. Just stop. “And what was the song he played? The one from…?”
Her fingers recoiling, it slipped from her grasp.
The urgency was suffocating and all she heard was line
after line after line after line
of how not to do it.
How would they find it? She couldn’t remember the rules and every step she ran, she jumped two steps back in clarity. She hated that he got to the formula before she had, and now she was paying for it.
He decided to surprise her. The last thing she would expect from him. He knew it was against the rules, but he would take her back. To the beginning. The problem was, the only vivid outline was from their last fight. Why couldn’t he find the bridge? He had the formula after all…
He was right.
There was something exhaustibly hilarious about the situation. She just couldn’t remember what it was. After all, it had been a few days since the operation, and they assured her it would grow back. But she was the anomaly, wasn’t she? Was that the funny part?
She looked over to the bucket of words but it was almost empty. She sighed. Her sighing normally turned things inside out beautifully, but not this time. This time she stopped half way.
I never noticed that before, that ceiling, she thought to herself. All this time, she hadn’t noticed the fabric of her security. But she had never floated like this before. The current had always looked uncomfortable.
The boat rocked gently convincing her she was awake, although, now she couldn’t see. She was blinded by pin pricks of light that ferociously claimed the space around the notes.
By the time she reached the entrance/exit, her eyes burned with sight. And there he was. All the younger for the waiting.