She runs! And we hug,
I missed yous are dutifully exchanged.
“How was the drive?” It was good, good.
Her dark velvet pleats are a shade deeper than my corduroy, I notice.
“Yours?” Great, good.
I wonder, where the deep circles came from. She wonders where the pink in my cheeks has gone to. I grasp her hand a little tighter. We’re both doing well, we establish. She’s been busy, I’ve been getting on fine. The parents are well.
I break the silence of cheery banter.
“Sorry.” Yeah, she acknowledges. Neither missed the other. Neither wanted to meet.
I open up the black umbrella. She pulls down the black veil. Modern; inevitably chic.
6 Word Memoir: After all, I still want more.
6 Word Story: She sprouted wings, tore them off.
We stood at the gates, hands curled around the flaking bars, faces pressed to the rails, peering through. A long strip of grass, running down to the wall at the far end. Flanking it on either side, two rows of tombs, the walls built up with great stone blocks. Iron-guarded. We wondered why this one place was locked and bolted. The graves were old, but the padlock was new. I lifted it idly, finding it heavy, and cold to the touch.
The weather was pleasant – a lull of sunshine in between temperamental bouts of rain. We had passed several parties, the guides pouring forth their facts in English, Spanish, the tourists listening rapt, or with their attention wandering. But this part of the graveyard was still. Maybe there was nothing of note here, or perhaps the tours would pass by later. The noise of cars from outside the walls was muffled and sounded far away. It felt as though no-one else existed. Like the graveyard and the city had emptied.
A wind rose, a cold wind, all of a sudden. The walls channelled the air, funnelling the gust towards us, around us. The wind had leapt up from inside the tombs and was rushing out, like some portal had opened into another dimension, and its cold, dry air was being sucked out by the light and sunshine of our own world. Sliced into strips by the iron bars, the wind swept around us, whispering in our ears, rustling our hair, then dying away. A tangible ethereality. For a brief moment, I felt we had been removed from time.
You’ve got to keep up. Like, know what’s happening. So that when things change, you’re not caught out. That’s the worst thing. It reminds me in an abstract way of being a monkey, hanging with the other monkeys, being free and easy. I’m acting the fool and then suddenly I’m out of the canopy, in the howling grassland, glimpsed in the starlight by whatever monsters are there. And terror just rushes down on me. It’s like, if I take my mind off my surroundings for a second, if I drift out of the conversation, I’m totally naked, out in the open and prone. It’s a real fear.
Like…what if I can’t keep up with everything. Like, I’m too tired or something. Worried about something else. And all that intricate stuff that I’m keeping on top of, that’s gonna just become a blur, or a wall, like static on a screen. Like all the lines of focus that I weave through my mind are all just going to lead to a dead end, screens just showing static.
I don’t know. I guess I’m just…worried. About losing touch, or something. It feels like…fighting sleep. I’m afraid of dying, pretty much, I guess. But I don’t know if that fear is helping me stay alive, or it’s adding to the…confusion…but. What can I do.