Sunday, 12 June 2011

A Tangible Thing

Sitting at her desk, her hands hovering over the keys on the laptop, she tried to capture the moment when the glass slipped from her fingers, its fate decided by her sudden loss of feeling. She heard the crash, saw the utter disintegration of the goblet into a thousand pieces, like her heart in that moment. She tried to get it down...nothing came. Nothing that seemed able to hold all the things that she had felt...was still feeling. She closed her eyes, and let whatever came find its place on the screen.

Looking down, she saw the words, and saw how she should arrange them. Making quick work of them, she fashioned this:

The fragments all...
Let fall the glass that holds
The liquor of celebration's
Fake joy.

The hoarded dreams...
Release the gath'ring hope
That grows in swelling waves of red

She read it. It did not feel complete. It did not speak the full measure of her pain. It did not plumb the depths. But it was here now, committed to the air, to the screen, to the eye. A tangible thing, outside herself, that she could examine, like a coroner would a corpse. She resisted the urge to correct it, adjust it, fix it. It was what it had been born. She could not change its essence any more than she could change the moment it described. That, at least, was written in stone, and even if the stone shattered, its truth would remain.

Embracing it, she gathered the strength to let it go, and walked away...
Tags: mic


(The inspiration for this vignette is "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins. It is a poem of recognition of the power and beauty of God in nature.The poem is here --)

The cry startled her, where she stood on the cliff overlooking the wild ocean below. It was the falcon she had been seeing overhead the last few mornings on her walks. Its wild cries shook her, as they seemed to echo her own. She was inconsolable, and had taken to leaving the seaside cottage early, before anyone else was awake, so she could walk and bare her heart and weep.

The bird was beautiful as it swung and dipped and sailed through the air above her. She could almost feel his joy as he wheeled and banked and let the buoyant air lift him toward the sun. He was a prince of the air, riding high against the golden light of morning, the darling of the sun. She watched as it hovered overhead, holding steady against the wind off the ocean, and she wondered what it was watching, what it was stalking from the air.

She wished she could fly free as this creature of the air could. The power and beauty of the bird struck at her heart, and she wished she had that grace to soar above the boiling emotions that battered at her, like the waves beating on the rocks and the shore below. The bird swooped into action as she watched it, turning in a graceful glide like a skater on ice, the colors of the dawn a glorious backdrop for its performance.

She swallowed the tears that always sat behind her eyes, waiting to spill over. Beauty such as she had been witnessing these last few days reminded her of the clarity of the faith she seemed to have lost, as brilliant then as the sharpening light of morning around her now. That she foundered now on the hard places of despair and mistrust only heightened her pain, and made this bird's joy in living at once an affirmation of hope and a recognition of pain.

She turned away, back down toward the house, her face awash with the tears she could not hold back. These walks were her escape, her flight from the thoughts and feelings that plagued her nights and scarred her days. She needed to learn to hover, to ride the air above her troubles, to master the art of flight.


The sky was black, and she wondered if, for the first time, she would experience, and live through, a tornado. Forked lightning slashed through the blackness, illuminating the clouds like the sun. The crash of thunder shook the house, and she waited in trepidation for the sound of a roaring train to herald the event everyone in their area been warned to prepare for.

She tried to relax against the cushions of the old couch that they had brought down here, along with all the other throw-away stuff they hadn't had the heart to throw away. Like their marriage...she tried to think of other things, but in the loud quiet of the storm, which she could see through the tiny window high up, there was nothing else to do.

He stood at the other end of the long basement room watching her under lowered lids, as quiet as he always was. It no longer unnerved her as it used to do. After all their years together, she understood his silence...most of the time. She turned her eyes to the skies again, feeling the sharp brightness of the lightning slice through her eyeballs, and feeling the goosebumps feather along her arms as the thunder rumbled hoarsely. There was an electricity in the air that unsettled her, despite her love for storms.

She looked again, and found him stalking her with his eyes, and the shiver that ran through her this time was entirely unrelated to the storm outside the haven they had sought against it. They had thrown away so much these past few years, including intimacy, including love. All they seemed able to provide each other these days was a peaceful companionship, and pleasant affection. The wildness of the storm had her thinking about the past, their past...

She closed her eyes, and let herself remember, as the storm raged, the passion that had ignited between them the first time they had met, after a year of correspondence. It had been inevitable. She had known, even then, that nothing with this man would be tame, but she had not been prepared to be scorched, winded, rushed into heaven by his personality, his presence, his essence. Their first time together had been beyond anything she could have hoped for or dreamed of, or had ever expected. She could still feel it...

...the heat of his skin against her, the hard fingers raking her flesh, the thick thighs holding her, the thundering pulse of his heart. Their breath mingled harshly as they struggled to get closer to each other, grabbing and pulling and holding desperately, achingly. The taste of him -- spicy and tangy; the scent -- all musk and woods and aroused male; the sound of him, rusty and raw with lust, turned her on as nothing ever had before. He could have asked the impossible of her, and she would have given it to him...

She started as a particularly loud -- and apparently very near by -- clap of thunder shook the ground, and found him standing next to her, the scent of man -- aroused man -- wafting by her. Startled, she looked into his eyes, and fought for something to say. He smiled at her, the first time in more years than she could count that his smile reached his eyes. She felt his predatory focus, his desire, his intention.

"D'you think this is really a good idea, Chad?" Her voice was a shaky shadow of itself in the stormy air that rolled between them.

"Best one I've had in years!" he retorted immediately, bearing down on her with single-minded purpose.

She backed away. How long had it been since the last time they had made love, and not merely scratched a sexual itch? She didn't even know. Things had fallen apart long ago, and she didn't know if she even loved him anymore. She didn't want him to wake up a passion she wasn't sure she wanted to feel for a man she didn't love. does one feel passion for someone one doesn't love?

The wall under the little window stopped her retreat, and still he advanced, till he was firmly in her personal space, his thighs touching hers, his breath warming her face.

"D'you really want to run away, again, Fay, or do you want to let go for a change, and let this happen?"

The question whispered over her senses, fully alive and painfully alert to the heavy tension that arced between them now. He was speaking again.

"The first time there was a storm, too. That's how you ended up in my arms, remember? The thundercloud must have been right overhead, because the clap rattled the windows and you jumped so hard you almost fell. I caught you, we stared into each other eyes...and the rest, as they say is history."

Finally, though she hadn't realized how much she had been aching for it, he touched her, his hands sliding up and down her chilled arms, warming them, warming her.

"I'd like to repeat history, right here, right now. With you."

The sounds of her assent could still be heard when the storm had long passed, and they lay writhing upon the couch, skin on skin, harsh breaths and hot words thickening the air, matching the hard thrusts and eager parries of their hips. They were wild for each other, all the bottled up emotions and fears discarded before this passion they had always had...and had almost lost.