I can hardly wait for the sun to go down. My heart pounds in my chest, despite how still I hold myself. My nails dig into the earth as I shunt the tension from my shoulders and arms into the ground. To control my breathing, I stare into the evening’s dome: a few bold and reckless stars are peeking just above my forehead, while a cold-fire smear of scarlet and violet still flare below my chin. Lovely as they are, I wish they’d go away…
Am I grinning? I’m grinning so hard as I suck the cool, sweet air of foliage into my nostrils. I can feel the muscles all over my teeth and jaw, rigid and excitable. Go away, you stupid sun!
All I can do is lie down. Terrible crunching happens when I do this, I can hear it and feel it. Trees shatter and splinter beneath my breasts and belly. The soil pushes away beneath my fat and skin but the rocky masses beneath don’t move, and these poke at me as I try to relax. This is one of the few ways I can relax, spreading myself out on the ground and communing with it. I turn my face away and rest my head upon the ground, and I can hear its contented humming, and it makes me hum. The earth is so endlessly happy, doing its job, just lying here as the living specks on it do their thing. It makes me happy to reconnect with it, but I can’t tonight. I have to flex my muscles and stop my bones from calling out to the stones, interrupting their conversation. I just want to relax, I don’t want to sleep.
Eventually the earth rolls happily away and the sun is blocked by its massive shoulder. Good! Great! With one last whooshing breath I push myself up. Tonnage of moist soil cakes off my belly and ribs, flaking away and crashing back to the ground. Well, I never asked it to stick to me in the first place! The noise is lovely to me but birds and deer and everything else go fleeing, skittish and fragile as they are.
I raise my head and grin at the city in the distance. Oh, it’s lovely, these clever little specks and their enduring hives. Age after age they create something new, some new philosophy, some new aesthetic to define the era. This time it seems to be shiny pillars to live in. I sigh and smile and crawl down from the mountainside toward their hive.
The night air flows coolly over my shoulders and spine. It’s a lovely night, with a full moon bright enough to see everything by. The joyous earth springs beneath my fingertips and palms and knees. I’m entering the network of little gray lines with specks of light, lines that spew out from the city and web across the countryside, lacing their living spaces together. They’re cute, it’s all cute on a magical night like this. I grin at them all as I pass, watching them disappear in the inky shadow of my body.
Go to sleep, specks.
I feel the heat from the city before I enter it. So much machinery, so many devices by these human specks, all burning and churning and turning against each other. Why do they need all this crap? It doesn’t make them happy: they work all their days to buy it, and then better crap comes out that they need to replace the old crap. And they buy this crap to block out the problems they can’t handle, and when they look up again the problems have gotten a thousand times worse, so back they go to laboring away to buy the latest crap again! It doesn’t make me feel bad at all, when I cup my palm like a wall and drag it from right to left in front of me. There, I’ve freed up the suffocating earth beneath their insane highways and stifling little buildings. You’re welcome.
There is one here in the city, there is one that I want…
The buildings are so close together! I bite my lip and turn my shoulders sideways, but I still scrape against the glistening walls. They sing quietly as they fall apart, sliding down my biceps like rain water. Oh, it’s a lovely sound! I have to do that again: I lean down and brush my soft, peachy cheek against a building, and it emits a groaning burp of abused steel, and then that lovely tinkling of windows and mirrors I enjoy so well.
But where is that one? He’s around here somewhere.
My shoulder rejoices in lifting up my arm, and my fingers spread to catch the earth ahead of me. Cars honk, alarms sound, people quietly scream at the tops of their itty-bitty lungs, and a portion of them go silent as I gently rest my palm upon their streets. And then my other hand, and then my knees, and in this fashion I slowly wedge myself into their inadequate city.
Where are you, where are you…
Now I have to be quiet. No more humming to myself, no more giggling every time a silly hive comes down. My shoulders roll and my head slowly sways in the humid city nighttime air, and I grin to myself. I’m close, I know that, I just don’t…
Ah. There. Yes, nice. I smile to my right, where there’s an old, blocky building in burnt orange and black. The new buildings are all mirrors and off-white stone, but this guy lives in an older building. Who cares why? I turn slightly and shove a new building out of my way with my hip. It doesn’t take much, just an affectionate nudge and the thing goes down, flowing over my bottom. Ticklish!
The old building almost glows in front of me. This is what I wanted.
I count the floors from top to bottom, then laugh and correct myself. I count them from bottom to top and when it feels right I stop. I plant my hands upon a dozen cars in front of the building, and I lick my lips as I lower my eyes to the correct floor, shoulders hunching, neck straining, my lovely long hair spilling like a waterfall.
There. There you are, your body glowing blue in front of your TV. You’re half asleep… no, there, you’re awake. Were you watching me on the TV? Well, now you see me out of your window. Yes, that’s me! Hi!
I raise one hand and gently flick at the building. A large burnt orange and black crater opens up in the wall, not far from where you lie sprawled. I smile at you, moonlight reflecting off my teeth, and I crook my finger and beckon you closer. You shake your head, and I laugh and laugh. I can get you any time I want, silly little man! But it’s better if you come to me.
And you do. You’re finding your legs, braced against your chair, and you slowly come to the edge of the wreckage, and faster than you believe I pluck you up between thumb and forefinger. And now that I have you, I stand up and walk out of the city, and who cares what’s in my way? You clasp your ears against the thunder of my footsteps, I know how loud they are to you, and I bring you back to my place. For keeps.
Photo by Kosta Bratsos on Unsplash
One thought on “Gently, Gently”
For keeps. Yes, for keeps.
This is such lovely writing. I find a part of me in her. There’s the sprawling on the Earth, feeling its language through my flesh and bones and the very tendrils of my mind, and then, after I’m done with that, using that same code to find a path to what I want the most. Is it that she gets distracted on her way to him, or that she’s simply admiring the scenery, redecorating as she rearranges the geography, the same way we hear the doorbell ring, and as we rush to open the door because we already know it’s someone we love, we pick up some remaining garment from the floor, or adjust the flowers in the vase, or fix our hair in front of the mirror?
Who knows? Either way, I love it when she looks for him, and knows exactly how to find him; and my favorite part is her allowing him to come to her, because it IS better that way. That way, it’s for keeps.
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