Accept/decline.

March 13, 2017

She erected a one-room house, a place with a very small footprint — it did not impose itself on anyone and went unnoticed in the main. The house felt very safe, as she could see every angle of the space by turning around in a circle. In fact, she could touch the beams that supported its four walls by simply holding out her arms.

Without any warning, seemingly from the wind, a gift arrived. Unbidden, a grant to enlarge the space was put into her hands, and she wondered if she should, if in fact, she could, accept it. Could she, she wondered, learn to live in a larger place? Would she like that? If she could not spy all the corners and all the roof and floor within her immediate sight, could she manage? If there was a hallway, and at the end of it, another room, that would mean she would have to walk some steps to visit the further reaches of where she lived. In such a scenario, it occurred to her, something might happen and she might not know, immediately, that it had. She could not see multiple rooms at the same time.

A knot formed in her throat. She felt afraid.

Something bad might happen, she reminded herself. If she used a chisel and hammer, if she set about knocking out a wall in this space, the elements could rush in. She might become cold, and intruders could intrude. Better to be safe, she thought. She put the gift outside the front door, attached a note: Return to Sender.

She turned around, and she turned around, surveying her little space and all it’s familiar shadows. All is well, she thought, in my little home. This is a sheltered place to be.

A knock at the door. She turns around and bumps into the knob, takes it and opens the door. There, on the porch, sits the gift. Her note is gone, and in it’s place is a large, shiny bow, ready to be unfurled anew.

###

 

 

 

Found love letter.*

March 1, 2017

The buildings have all exhaled their breath today, because you are not here.

All’s stale at school now, no terse vibrations shimmering up from the tiles, and my footsteps are leaden and without direction. The walls are only walls, and doors that just a few days ago could open to reveal you—they are now only doors and behind them, there lies not anything.

You are away, on a family vacation. Why does that hurt so personally? You have not deserted me here, but only left me to scrap about myself, trying to put back inside of me the aliveness you’ve untied. It is only that, when you left, you took all the air with you. There are no chances of glimpsing you in the hall, no possibility of a summons found under my door to meet you at day’s end. No way to reach you, I find the muscles I gloriously flexed have retracted in upon themselves. At your mercy, whatever strength I found in seducing your attentions rear on me and I am left small, unsure, as tremulous as I ever was.

So as it ever is, I wait, the basin of my stomach ripped in shreds. Subatomic particles of dread sift through these ripped shreds.

I become sick.

The electricity we had crackles and turns to ash, melting the floorboards below to burnt umber. I’m unfastened, adrift. No solidifying anchor at home, no shore to run aground where I live. How is it my power has grown hands, opened a window; how do I stay inside myself, not float away?

###

*  this was written in 1993, when I was 20 years old, and I gave it to a 19 year old boy who was my summer crush.