1. The River


    Vines reach from a trellis which looms lovingly over all.

    Succumbing to the heavy somberness of the day, she sat herself by the leaden river at the place where it curved through the center of the city, wide and slow, the water hesitant as it passes beneath bridges, shrunken in the shadows of the tall buildings which line its banks, wide and slow on its weary way to the bay.

    The wind was strong that day and its repelling gusts caressed the surface of the river, sending rippled shivers up the water’s tingling spine in such a way that it appeared to be flowing backwards, back to its origins far away, a place which she imagined as being small and quiet, near nothing and removed from everything, though close by is a cabin, in a clearing within an evergreen forest, the air minted, sharp and clean, perfumed by the greenish blue tones of camphor and rosemary, her thin figure bent over the paper where she drew things just as she knew them to be.

    Here was a portrait of a child, out in the cold, banished from the house whilst inside his parents argued violently. He stood in the middle of the yard as a gentle snow fell onto the bare skin of his outstretched arms, his unshod toes tightening on the blades of grass which remained steadfast to where they pierced through the frozen soil. The shouting continued and he grew colder as he grew older, shivering now as the afternoon gave way to evening.

    She sat by the river and thought about what may come next—if there might be a possibility for a correction, if she would ever again feel less disturbed. She sensed that this place did not think kindly of her presence, or perhaps she simply was not suited for it, that herself as a conception had somehow become misaligned with all of that which presently encompassed her.

    They were dividing”, she concluded: She was not wanted here and thus she must be separated from it. She felt herself being removed and she found herself outside, standing there as an evening awoke, the world cast in a shaded blue which was interrupted only by the soft warmth behind the windows in the house which now stood before her, a flickering orange glow obscured only slightly by the falling snow.

    She turned back to the river and stepped into a small wooden boat which had been tied to a post near to where she had been seated, its chipped and peeling red paint giving it the appearance of a battered and abandoned thing, a thing with which she felt a certain empathy as she climbed in amongst two broken oars, the boat swaying eagerly beneath her, as if it were pleased to have been given purpose once more.

    After finding her balance, she fumbled with the simple knot which secured the boat, her fingers creaking and stubborn with cold. Once the boat was freed, she pushed away from the bank and out into the river, out to where the wind catches her, its gusts pulling her into their embrace. She is propelled away from there, against the flow of the river, the crests of waves breaking against the weight of her thoughts as she moves between them, up and away from there, tossed to and fro until a secluded solace is presented to her, the hidden air still and calm, a place which had been awaiting her with hushed breath.

    She steps from the small boat onto the shore and promptly feels the warmth of the welcoming soil beneath her toes. After pausing briefly to bask in the benevolence she senses emanating from this place, her eyes close as she tightens within the affectionate embrace of an unseen yet perceptible security. She opens her eyes and turns to see the boat slipping out from view into the darkness behind her, along a small stream which runs between her feet on its way towards something far off and forgotten.

    Before her the sun rises tall and strong from behind mountaintops, its new light spilling warmth into the valley, down where a clearing breaks itself free from the forest and a small cabin is revealed. The fondest feelings flood forth and a sensation of furtherance washes over her mind like turpentine; those prior miseries now dissolving into a future’s possibility. Without quarrel or question, she draws herself upon a path, the paper unfurling before her as she scrawls, herself skipping mirthfully with the dizziness of maypole merriment, unbridled by the frenzy of a hope reborn, herself desperately clutching to each peaceful moment as it passes, herself now herself as an entirely separated thing—a difference quite distinctive from all of that from which she had been so recently shorn.

  2. A Splintering


    A small house resides at the edge of a forest, perhaps.

    The silence of the morning is interrupted only by the soft patter of raindrops against the window, their gently pecked salutations adding a curvature of randomness to what had been so grim in its firm and straightened steadiness: These stubborn minutes forever traipsing into the ones before them as if all had been decided so precisely, so definitively, so recalcitrantly within a plot defined however long ago. Though now, with a disordered cloud looming not so far above, dripping patience upon the bewilderment found beneath it, Time itself discovers itself as having been rearranged, and thusly one peers dimly into that newfound vacancy provided by this delicate disruption with so many disused moments to spare.

    And there, within this tranquil pause, low down on the side of a house which teeters precariously on the edge of the memories of a hill near forgotten, is a small window, wider than tall, close to the ground, where one would have to kneel or crouch to peek through its pane, its face having remained cracked without notice for an eternity, a thinly haphazard line running sharply with confusion from one corner of the glass to another, this window ignored to the point of nonexistence, itself sealed shut by years of dust. It whispers to no one and has asked for nothing, though it is here that a world of its own was once discovered, contained and constrained in the space before this window, at that very place which up until now had never been given much consideration nor care.

    Before the window, placed inconspicuously between two inconsequential conifers which had grown tall with confidence—these dull evergreens reaching upwardly in an endless pursuit alongside the southern wall of the house—is a patch of earth where a solitary daffodil has come to be singularly resplendent, its trumpeted countenance providing a certain comfort to the window, a companion born of bulb and soil. The pairing of this flower and the window must become inseparable within any formulation of the world as it has come to be: The daffodil exists only if so does the window, and the window is equally bound to the fate of the flower. There is no possibility for a reality in which one has Been without the other having Been nearby, and it is undoubtable that they have remained this way up until today.

    Though the memory has grown dim and has been subsequently subsumed into the sea of Error which laps at the shores of Age and Decay, its details brittle and the bridges between its pieces having become perforated and disjointed. To set upon a path within this memory is to soon find oneself disoriented entirely, as if a single footstep might bring one into a moment miles away and years past, for what began as cast in daylight is suddenly found obscured by night, the memory having long since abandoned any attempt at mending its fraying hem and restitching its gaping seams, and within this fragmented place the daffodil finds itself wilting and alone, the poor flower having now realized that the window was always—with all the myriad pains of certainty—never actually a window at all.