This Is A Story About People

Flickr / Chiara Cremaschi
Flickr / Chiara Cremaschi

Her eyes glowed in the light of the street lamp, sepia tones matching the mood, dead roses in her left hand. A long time ago, she had obtained the flowers, although she was unable to let go of them, as they had died weeks ago. When she received them, the weather placed her in a more frigid setting. A December chill entered the restaurant as someone opened the door to order Chinese. Gums salivating. Eyes focused. The man was fixed on the menu as if the menu had possessed him. Then, he became aware of her. Roses were in his left grip and he was ready to give them to her with every shattered piece of his being, as soon as he picked up a plate from the buffet. This was the first and the last time she would see him, he had to board the first train out of town to return toward his peace.

Weeks later, she could still smell him on her coat, feel his textured fingertips reaching toward the back of her mind as if he were reaching for the stars in a last attempt to show her the constellations. She knew, she always knew, in the back of her mind, that her eyes would be the planets inside of his galaxy that she would never be a part of. Tears fell from her eyes, as if her eyes were volcanoes, ready to erupt at any moment. On the side of the road, she lit another cigarette and inhaled the night that her lips met his, held the smoke in as long as she could, then exhaled all the memories they would never share. She crossed the street and went back in her apartment to sleep alone for another night.

Inside her apartment, she heated up a bag of popcorn. Kernels popped in the microwave and sounded like rain on an old, tin roof. They sounded slightly softer than the bombs being dropped over far away countries. Quickly, she gobbled down the popcorn and retreated to her bed, the only thing that could be there for her. Tossing and turning, she finally started to fall asleep, but it was interrupted by the thought bombs going off in her mind, all sorts of subjects and words, but always his face. It haunted her as though she had just seen a ghost, until she realized there was no ghost and it was just memories of that night.

Several hours had passed and she was still awake watching news reports about bombs dropping in far away countries. As a subtle reminder, she noted that, in one way or another, this bombing would somehow affect her life. Soon afterward, her electricity went out and she lost her news program. A bad storm was stirring outside her window, leaving her alone with all the thoughts she had gone to such large measures to avoid. Her hands were cold and shaky, like they were when she touched the door to enter the Chinese restaurant the first time she saw him. She reached out her hand to touch the door she had created in her mind, but, as soon as she pulled the handle, the door had turned to dust. All she could see, breathe, and feel was the dust of a night that would never happen again. It was not unlike the best moment in the world, being torn into bits from what was once every inch of one’s being. Tears filled her eyes again, after the feeling of lonely emptiness left the air.

An empty bottle of wine, some tissues, and a dried bouquet of roses were spread out on the carpet. There was an alarm blaring from a cell phone which had been clumsily placed on a shelf on the other side of the room, face down. She woke up on the couch to the sound of sunlight and recently restored electricity in her apartment. Over to the bookcase, she stumbled, turned off her alarm, gathered the remnants of the night before, and began her new day. Earth would continue to revolve on its axis around the sun with or without her, regardless of situations at hand, just as it had all the years before she had entered the world and all of its entailments.

She was awake. She was alive. She had to live each day as best she could. She was broken. She was devastation. She was beautiful. She smiled and stretched her arms as if she had been enveloped by the sun and all of its warmth. She was everything she should have been and everything she could not be, all in one. She was flowers at the end of a harsh Winter. She was the first sunshower at the beginning of Summer. She was miserable in the happiest way possible, and that was enough to keep her going. TC mark

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