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direction 27 September, 2006

Posted by silentpyjamas in chronicle of the crazy, little fictions, water tower.
1 comment so far

again. the sky was grey and clouded. right at the top of the water tower. well, as far up as she could see. the top was up there somewhere, jutting beyond the cloak of the angry sky. always cloudy there. always. it was night now, but even when the rest of the sky was a cheerful blue, there was a shadow over the water tower.

the elevator ride up was uneventful. she had long since given up trying to see what was on the floors before eddie’s apartment. whatever was there was unknowable to her. when she got out she kicked off her shoes, dropped her coat on the back of the couch. she wasn’t quite sure how she’d ended up there again. she thought she must have a reason for being there. thirst took her into the office kitchen where she grabbed a bottle of water whose label seemed wonderfully and frighteningly familiar to her. eddie appeared at her periphery, leaning against the door frame nearly jauntily, but the pose carried no feeling behind it.

“there are drinks in the apartment kitchen. why do you always just drink the bottled water in here?” she’d heard it a million times. and so there were, she knew it, she’d seen them. but that was his kitchen and no matter what he said to her, she could never feel quite at home there.

“you keep buying it.” she ambled her way to the bedroom and stood at the window. window was an understatement, this was a wall of glass. when she was’t feeling well she didn’t stand too close to it. the absence of visible things holding it in place made her nervous and dizzy sometimes.

he’d followed her to the bedroom, the only place in the tower she felt truly comfortable. it was an odd comfort, because she did not trust eddie chen and was certainly not in love with him. his hand found its way to the small of her back and she stiffened, eyes locked on the expanse of night that seemed neverending. “eddie chen, i need to go home.” eddie sighed.

the next morning she lay awake in eddie’s comfortable bed, vaguely wondering what his sheets were made of. she knew, but it seemed unreal, somehow. like a word in a language she’d never heard before. she wanted to call it something else. “feels like cotton” she said, and beside her eddie sleepily asked her what cotton was. she didn’t know either. “i dreamt about that little girl again.” eddie sat up and watched her slide out of bed and stand at the glass wall, staring outward as if she were searching for something. home, eddie guessed. she’d been all over the place looking for it and she couldn’t seem to locate it or give any specific details about its location. the cars, they dropped her off at the water tower when she was finished looking. he didn’t begrudge her that. he wondered if she realized where she was.

“i feel like i know her. like i love her.” she pressed her hands flat to the glass and eddie didn’t tell her to stop because he knew she would be defiant. the glass was so cool and smooth and solid right now. she wanted to fly from this tower and find the answers to all her questions. in these kinds of moods she didn’t care to answer eddie’s questions about the things she knew, so eddie said things he knew she would not reply to. “how can you love a little girl from a dream? is she from ‘home’?”

she didn’t say anything and eddie went to make breakfast. it didn’t matter to her, she wasn’t eating anything from there. she felt like persephone in the underworld, afraid to touch anything that that would bind her to eddie chen. anything that would make her answer his questions or feel calm at his touch. she didn’t care what anyone told her, she believed that there was something in her life that was out of the shadow of the monolithic structure she refused to call by its name and whose purpose she rejected understanding. she didn’t know what it was but she would find it.

“restless?” eddie didn’t even look up from the tray of breakfast he’d placed on the bed and was nibbling at. there was a tray on her side too but she ignored it. this was the pattern, this was how she resisted his vaguely unsettling familiarity with her. to the closet she went, wondering why she had so many clothes there and who bought them. she dressed in the bathroom, unlike eddie who changed clothes in front of her as if they were married or lived together. the most naked she’d been in front of him, as far as she knew, was in nightclothes. even the times she’d given in and had sex with him, she was never naked. she’d never be naked for eddie chen, because who was he anyway and why did he act as if everything was fine?

he took a sip of something that made her think of “coffee.” she thought he was up to something. “the car is already down there. can you come back before dark? i invited people to dinner and to see the tower, and i’d like you to join us.” she wished he would stop asking her.

“maybe i’ll find my way home today, eddie chen.” with that, she stepped into the elevator.


speckle 7 August, 2006

Posted by silentpyjamas in blather and claptrap, little fictions.
1 comment so far

(inspired by and dedicated to Stardust@Home)

the child was exploring. her eyes were so luminous in the slanted shaft of light from the window, the seemingly lackluster brown igniting and flickering with hints of amber and gold. now she was amazing, now she was magical and marvelous. wider they grew. her hand reached, so tiny with those little fat fingers. dimpled knuckles. still so delightfully a baby. one step, two steps, her entire body moving awkwardly, so many years away from the sure steps of a woman. there she was, with red red lips that were curved into the most innocent of smiles. all soft and warm and smell and gurgle, and so alive.

from here, they could not see the ground. they were out there, in space, floating in the world where nothing touched anything except violently. there was no love in space. there was plenty of blackness. they thought it was surreal, this cloak of endless dark. if they were to fall, where would they end up? how long would it take them to fall through nothing? that fear was deep in their bellies as they looked around and tried to remember they were trained for this, and that they were experts. this was nothing like below, where they would fall, even if to their deaths, into the welcoming arms of their home.

she didn’t know them, didn’t even know of them. she didn’t hear them chattering or laughing. she was busy now, her arm extending, so much like the arm of their craft out there, trying to touch something ephemeral. every bit the scientist they were. closer her hand moved to her goal, they too, closer. it seemed like forever in her world, in their minds. it was but a second.


her hand closed lightning-quick around it. gleeful, the sweetest peals of laughter. she closed her eyes and let her head fly backward and she laughed. she opened her hand, quickly, to see what she had caught. the now-terse voices in space were suddenly silent.

“talk to me. can you hear me? can you hear me?

the child stared into her palm. there, she found nothing. she twisted her lips for a moment in dismay, looked up. instantly she was lost again in the world of tiny floating dust motes.

out in the cold dark, the two astronauts were not panicking. they felt it, but they held it in, because it was their job. when they were pulled in, at the last moment, the man gasped frantically in his helmet, eyes wide with the fear that comes from the sight of death. it had loomed large in that place that was home-but-not-home, and he knew a relief like no other to hear the voices of his compatriots. the girl was silent, she had no time for fear, her eyes fixed on the velvet black blanket sprinkled with spheres and rocks and stars. her arm was stretched forward, fingers half-curled as she reached for one of them, one of the number of diamond speckles.

once her feet touched the earth again, they did not leave. she had touched heaven.