It Was Life

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It didn’t entirely make sense, of course. Then again, when did these kinds of things ever make sense? She stood, staring at the tree, cocking her head this way and that, as if the angle from which she looked at it would make any kind of difference.

The tree was somewhat naked; it’s branches shuddering against the wind. She understood. After all, it was only a few hours ago that she’d been in a similar, compromising position.

He’d struggled to fasten the buttons of his coat as she stood, bare and freezing, in front of the apartment windows. The curtains had been thrown back to let in the light, but it was too early and too cold for anyone to be out on the streets, so she didn’t reach for a sheet to cover herself. Instead she stood, knees knobbed together, arms tight across her breasts, her teeth chattering, as she watched him prepare to leave one last time.

“It’s just not right,” he’d said as he positioned his bright red stocking cap. She’d purchased it for him. It went against the rules, but she hadn’t really cared. And he’d worn it, clearly not caring much about the rules himself. “What we’re doing,” he added quietly as he strode slowly toward the door. His hand on the knob, he turned to look at her one last time, his eyes lingering on her soft stomach, as if that was the part of her he’d miss most. “It’s just not right.”

She’d known it wasn’t right. Affairs never were right, though, were they? Someone always knew. Someone found out or someone got hurt. She’d been there first, of course. That was how she justified it. She’d had him first. But she’d been young and immature and stupid and they’d broken. She’d never forgotten nor forgiven herself the mistakes that drove him away.

Then one day, as if fate were dealing her a hand, there he was in the coffee shop she’d frequented hundreds of times. She’d dealt with her demons by then. The ring had been in plain view. He didn’t make a show of trying to hide it nor did she made a show of pretending that it didn’t exist. A whisper. An exchange. Second chances always bring with them unparalleled bliss.

But then he was walking out of her life again. She’d let him go once. The second time felt harder, somehow. Before he could open the door she’d thrown her body into his, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. A kiss. A cry. His? Hers? An exit. It wasn’t dramatic. It was just life.

So she understood this tree, shuddering and naked, but still standing as strong as it was able. What choice did it have?

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Planting

plant

Shadows lay softly across the ground, begging quietly for warmer sun. Winter had been too long, plants left brown and dead, unsure of when their days could officially be considered “spring.” Gillian lay quietly among them, absorbing what little light she could get before the clouds from the north once again blanketed the sky. She wanted to stay here, silent, until a new day arrived. It had all been too much. Left alone with her thoughts, she couldn’t help but wonder where she’d be if everything had happened differently.

Breakable

Foundation

Why did everything she touch break? It was almost as if she loved it all too much. Perhaps she wasn’t supposed to care about the things she could hold in her hands so much as she did the experiences. Perhaps life was just trying to teach her a lesson. Still, as she gently ran her fingers over the foundation of the stable, it was hard to not take it personally. Effort had gone into her attainments including long hours and late nights. Wasn’t this supposed to be her experience, her escape? Had she just taken too long to realize it?

Naked

naked
There’s nothing quite like being naked first thing in the morning- especially when the wind is howling fast and hard from the north. Agnes stared hard at the tree as its branches swayed back and forth. She didn’t really know what she was doing anymore, but when she’d woken up this morning and he’d been gone, wind wailing against her windows she felt more vulnerable than she had in a long time. Sitting up, she’d wrapped a sheet around her nudity and began wandering through the apartment, hoping he’d left a note, an apology, a reason- but there was none.

Old Glory

flags

They waved in soft spoken glory against the overcast dawn. Two tidy rows of red, write, and blue trailing to the end of the walkway. They were easy to pass by without paying much notice, simply blending into the backdrop, raised atop nondescript white poles. Still they continued to fly, not at all bothered by rain and sleet, knowing that the time would come that they would not only be noticed, but needed. They were a beacon of hope. They were a sobering reminder that freedom often came at a cost, for freedom was never free.

 

 

 

Cheating Death

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He walked slowly around the metal rail before giving it a soft kick. Death had come for him again but he had cheated it. Still, it was a harrowing reminder that he was merely human- if only a very lucky one. The day before, he and some friends had decided to check out a long abandoned train station. Trains themselves continued to run through the area, but never stopped, having no one to pick up. The most reckless of all of them, Darren had climbed and swung his way up into the beams that still ran over the tracks. Stupidity or a need to stare death in the face again, he wasn’t sure, but he began to hop beam to beam just as a train came into his sights.

Ghosts

doorway

Brick and gravel that dated back to prewar was always a source of excitement for him. He pulled out his camera and began snapping photographs of the empty doorway, the broken glass panes and the packed dirt floor. He could practically feel the ghosts as they swirled around him- no one could have survived the blast that this home had been through. Outside, the naked crossbeams of the building next door were bathed in sunlight and dust, giving them an eerie copper glow, like blood that had been left to dry. A chill coursed through him at the thought and he began to pack his gear.