It all happened there, a place as insignificant as dust motes in a sunbeam. It all happened there, a photocopy of an image of a faint dream. There, we saw kingdoms raised and crumble into pits of sand. There, the breath of life and shudder of death. The beginning and the end.
I met Ann in some shitty bar on Fifth that doesn’t exist anymore. She was lonely, I was hopeful and we stumbled into sex and friendship, failure and friction. Ten years later I was cheating, she was crying, I was screaming, she was dying and I was feeling like a bigger asshole for staying when I wanted to leave and leaving when I wanted to stay. I held her hand as we heard the news and wished some other guy had taken her home. Then she looks up at me and I forget it all for a while.
A fragment of a story I’m fleshing out, delivered in microstory fashion…
Whenever she looked back on their relationship she realized she remembered it with warmth, a fondness. He always had a way of making her feel as if she were wrapped in a wool blanket. Even through the whiskey kisses and slurred words and besides; it’s not as though he was bad to her. He never hit her, never talked down to her. No, there were never any problems, except –
As far back as he could remember he had that little issue. He never realized he had a problem until one day his mother screamed bloody murder and dragged him in front of every doctor, specialist, priest and medicine man. It was never immediately apparent and explaining over the phone solved nothing. No, his malady was only evident to the keen eye, on a sunny day, or under a directed shine. Otherwise you couldn’t tell his shadow leaned into the light.
The first of my ‘microstories’ – 150 words or less
The sun slowly broke through the clouds as the last of the dew found its resting place among the town’s greenery. Gingerly, she took hold of his hand, wondering if today, this very sunrise, marked the beginning of the last relationship in her life. She ached for it to be so; ached to be rid of the hurt and heartache, the clubs and bars and dances and first kisses and last goodbyes. She looked up at him and smiled.
Holding her hand, he pulled her closer, nestled his face in her hair and breathed in her scent. He found her invigorating, a breath of fresh air in a stagnant city. Somehow, deep down, he knew she was the one. As the sun broke over the skyline, he pictured places to bury her body.
Together, they found birth by sunlight, belonging.