A work in progress, possibly a seed for something bigger

She quivers and pops like a bead of water in a hot pan.

He cannot contain himself, his energies pouring forth without restraint.

She stops talking and wonders about the missing tiles, stacks of fingerprints, rugs of moth wings. How soft they feel under her feet…

He tells her tales of teenage adventures, mishaps and conquests, run-ins with the law.

She listens and learns, knitting together an idea of him inside her mind, a colorful spectacle, to store and ponder on in solitude.

He sees the whole story in his mind—beginning, middle, and end—and his delivery is deliberately paced, building suspense and teasing.

She asks question after question at each dramatic pause. He is patient, she is not. Frustrated, she quivers and tries to hide.

He takes her hand and brings her behind a small house, beyond the gnomes, and through the inkberry shrubs. The forest is a winter brown with no sign of life but the distant, invisible chirps of the early birds. She sees the fortress with its moats of colored fountain water.

“We could go anywhere,” she says.

“Where do you wanna go?”

He takes her flying over snow-capped mountains. She floats with a yellow parachute, gliding over the treetops; everything is visible, the patches of snow glaring white through the bare branches. She doesn’t see him, but she trusts he’s behind her. She lands on her feet on the crunchy leaves, the parachute settling around her in a pool of yellow.

She hears a crack. A wild boar emerges. Its eyes glow gold and blue, and she can’t breathe. The edges blur, and her body burns. Staring at its stiff, tan bristles rippling in movement, she reaches down and picks up a branch. The animal charges.

She wakes up on a cliff. He is not there. She doesn’t know where she is, but she is wrapped in his blue flannel shirt. His smell still lingers on its sleeve.

She pops, a bead of water…




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