On the train I move at birdish speeds. I see buildings blur into living embers, points stretched into foreign conversation and foreign frames and the infinity of presence upon my sight. And the train too is looking, spawns a second set of eyes, mirrors me in its glass. My doppelgänger in the window glides in
Locked up in my home for the last several weeks, I am missing the banal ecstasies of waking up next to the person I care about. Touch is impossible at the moment, as is casual conversation and the simple pleasure of being in a room together, quietly enjoying their company. Romance is replaced by the dull ache of missing someone: their bed, body, and self. Touch and companionship are gentle necessities, often forgotten or neglected until everyone in the world is feeling forgotten and neglected, and then we’re reminded how much we need each other.
The house caught fire some time right before midnight, not officially celebratory, in or out of the city. The grass by the barn lit like matches, the light travelling down the brown strands now glowing gold, ending the fiery phrase with a black period.
Except for the light breeze everything is different from all she had ever known. The temperature, the humidity, that she cannot see the horizon, the colors and the way the light dances over the ground. She has never smelled anything like this before, but it is not unpleasant. It comes closest to a combination of heavy wet mud and the youngest grasses. Behind her she could still have seen the familiar blue sky, green water and yellow sand through the trees, in case she had looked back.
Would you like a sample? asked a woman in a uniform just past the store’s threshold, gesturing out a sample in a small white cup, similarly to how pills were handed out in prisons on TV shows. The rows of food reached nearly to the ceiling of the store, so high they required a forklift to be lowered down to the patrons. A child begged her mother for a sample of an unfrozen fried Wonton appetizer, which her mother steadfastly denied. Sure, Stacey said, accepting the small cup, finding it pleasantly crunchy with afternotes of carrot.
The year is 1743. Daniella Caracosa smelled piss, rat shit, and some fine perfume throughout her quarters aboard the Mindful Miscreant. She swayed from side to side on the bed, contemplating how she emerged here, in this place, instead of in Cordoba. She was to be royalty! She imagined the regal weddings, the ballrooms, the dresses! It was all she could have wanted. But now, her husband-to-be has placed a bounty on her head-
We were born in darkness and hunger, and that was all we ever knew. My brother said we were like axes lodged in stone, impotent objects frozen in unknown space. Silence overwhelms us. Wind is a silent phantom, ice a silent beast. Sometimes it crackles with anxiety, sometimes it groans with hunger. Sometimes it terrifies me.
She believed in Sundays. Neither God nor churches nor frozen family dinners, watching a rerun of America’s Funniest Home Videos circled around the television like seagulls to a piece of bread. No, she savored Sundays like a talisman that protected her from the unknowns of the upcoming week.