Sunday, January 30, 2011

in peace

Sundays are for stories. So here's some fiction. 


She was a small child. Skinny. Too skinny, they said.

They used to laugh and tell her hold on or the wind will blow you away.

Fart, they said, and you'll -- disappear. 

She would stamp her foot and yell I won't but really, she believed them. She had nightmares about where she'd end up. Always dark spaces. Always cold places. Places not here and not really anywhere. Where she'd be nothing but a creak in the floor. Her mother held her when she cried at night and whispered in her ear. Hush, baby. It's not like that.

Nearly a century passed and she never blew away. When her soul rode that last breath out of her body, it drifted around for awhile, untethered, until it found a place to settle.

She's nowhere dark. Nowhere cold.

She rests in the bend behind your knee, where you tuck your hands when you're lying in bed and its particularly cold and you're particularly tired.

She curls in the patch of sun that moves across the couch and onto the floor and pulls you along with a warmth more comfortable than any cushion.

She hides in the cupped hollow between held hands. 

She climbs into the top of your inhale, where you're all filled up and needing nothing, into that instant before reflex kicks in and you let it all go.

She swirls in the shower's steam, thick and slow, before it condenses on the bathroom mirror.

But the very best place she's found to rest in peace is that safe, warm, two-hearts-beating space that only forms when a child's head settles onto a mother's shoulder.