Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Babel


It was when he’d stopped listening to the music that she realised just how far he’d fallen. His eyes had lost their focus on the room and he’d stared straight through her increasingly desperate conversation.
She’d been propping him up for months without knowing it (not consciously anyway); negating his negatives with her own brand of optimism; a trait evolved as a daughter of defeated socialist revolutionaries from a time when positive change seemed possible.
When, some days previous, the feathers had first appeared in the entangled morning bed she had assumed that they’d escaped from the pillows, but that morning they had been too large and too complex for her to feel anything else than some part of her reality had been broken; torn to allow the night in.
The feathers were silvery, brittle, warm to touch and, when viewed up close, their edges had fractal-ed out, drawing her mind deeper and deeper into a spiral of complex and unpronounceable understanding until she’d had to tear her eyes away for fear of falling - forever.
He’d stopped speaking when she asked about the feathers; never uttered another word, just given her that wounded look that she’d come to hate over the years.
He’d sat down on the couch with the music playing load, his shoulders hunched, staring at the hands in his lap as if they were an opened book that promised to stitch together all of the broken thoughts that had haunted him since as far back as she could remember.
His isolation had been impenetrable; she’d sat beside him for hours, pretending that nothing was wrong; talking and talking; changing the music in an attempt to shake some response out of him.
Then he had lost focus on the room; on the music and on the person who’d shared more that half his life. He’d removed his shirt as if it were some alien and distasteful deposit on his body, exposing as he did so the mottled silver skin on his back.
Looking back on that day she still can’t remember committing the act that had left her crouched on his chest with that silvery liquid warm on her hands and his newly-formed wing crushed beneath the weight of both their bodies.
She runs the day through her mind, over and over, but she cannot find flaw in the sequence of events as she remembers it.
The medication that they pump through her brain changes nothing – it happened just like that.


6 comments:

Yodood said...

Change is apparent most to the static.

zoe said...

i am always so amazed by your magical ability with words. how much of a human you put into such a small space, awesome.
thank you!

JeffScape said...

Bravo. I'm not entirely certain of what I just read, but I love its tone and its flow, and (like with Yodood's work) am going to read it again.

Jon said...

memory is a strange thing, eh? like how i remember things i've seen in pictures as though i was there... how i would swear to remember people i've never met... but then... isn't this just as true and real as what "actually" happened?

Great magic and realism in this piece... nicely done!

Harlequin said...

marvelous.... a metamorphosis, real or imagined and what would it matter in the case of metamorphosis... gorgeous and magical ( I agree with Jon ) prose....and the image is just the right juxtapose.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Yodood: esp if you are not the butterfly :)

Zoe: Just like Vulcan (in The Adventures Baron Munchausen), who crushes lumps of coal into diamonds for his wife Venus?

JeffScape: Hopefully the ambiguity will allow you to read a story that appeals to you ;]

Jon: Yes! The photos of ourselves as young children, when viewed often over the years, supercede ouractual memories of that time.

Harlequin: Change, and the fear of change: perhaps one of the major drivers in our lives.