The Way it Should Be

There was this: the incongruity of an old, twisted wrought iron fence deep in a wood. This surprised her at first, but she soon became accustomed to the oddness. The woods were wet and tiny pinpricks of light pierced the canopy of leaves that did not bend or sway, but otherwise stood dumb and silent, still as ghosts.

She pressed her feet deep into spongy earth, raking her long toes back and forth, coming up empty. Minute flicks of soft fur blew randomly, sticking to the moisture of her skin. She felt the burn of large topaz eyes, a disembodied stare from far away as if wanting something from her. Am I your mother? she thought.

She’d lost the ability to communicate in the conventional sense and, instead, inclined her large head this way, then that way. She picked up signals not yet sent and had replies formulated for questions not yet asked, just in case. She would learn how to convey meaning, she felt there was time. Better to listen, for now.

She clutched a stylized curlicue of iron and felt the chalky rust break into small pieces in her hand. They might have been gold. This could be the outskirts of Paris. Or London. Prague, maybe. A place where she imagined hard edges could easily be rounded and words designed to hurt could be parlayed into prayers without the veneer of fancy words.

The faded, crumbling wall paper was what she saw first, blurred and out of focus. The smudged window allowed the first weak rays of sun to penetrate. She rubbed her hands together and wondered at the chalky feel of her palms. Her large feet hit the cold, hard floor. The memory of a memory coaxed and cajoled her, mocking her forgetfulness and she reached above her head, but didn’t know why.

The old cat, stalked the warm spot where her head had just lain, leveled a stare, and envied her ability to dream about anyplace but here.


words: Michelle Reale, Philadelphia (more & more)
image: Swati Nair, India (birdy's world)

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BluePrintReview - issue 19 - Beyond the Silence