Tuesday 16 March 2010 She sat in the bathroom with the door open. He was a room away. "Come here," she called. And again. And slowly, again. "Come here." The wall hangings dared not interrupt. The floors of hard oak allowed the memories of home to hide inside them, a rare nod to a needed emotional silence. She sent her voice into the hallway, into the only illuminated corridor in the old house at dusk, to tiptoe to the next room and tap her friend on his broken shoulders.
"Come here," it leaned to him timidly to say, "come be." The weight of its whispy digits crumbled him, collapsing the collar to the stomach. Her voice shuddered when it saw him ache and turned back to her for guidance. "Come," she mouthed to her voice, and turning, it gathered its courage and to the man made audible her request. Riding the lift of her insistance he raised his face. His eyes were the blank places in space, the nothing between the stars. In a world described by the majesty of its illuminations, a vast landscape of fires that dominate the pens of poets, his were less the burning marvels of heaven and more the dark holes of oblivion turning silently powerful about themselves. Her voice stood nervously in front of him, sensing the bodies which had once burned in magnificence where these voids now spun. Her voice put an inquisitive finger to its lip, chewed a fingernail anxiously, and tried once more, still gentler, "come." It was just enough. He leaned on his knees and pressed himself upward. Treading through silence he was the marching spectacle, pitied and loved by the quiet composition of his home. The wooden floors, usually unable to resist whispering to one another when such a walk was made, dared not make a squeak. The wisdom in the walls presided over all inanimacy, insisting every audible distraction be left to the discretion of the living. When he reached the bathroom and turned the corner of its doorway, one step across its porous border, the mirror requested to close itself up. Reflecting such pain is a task no entity should take up, it insisted misty-eyed. But it could not do such a thing as close, and so he saw himself, reflecting. Her voice tiptoed in front of him, returning to her. "Come," came from the floor. He knelt, feet away from her crossed legs, and commenced a thristy crawl to the shores of her peaceful sea. Her rage against the Earth that stole his fire stormed inside her head and her eyes rained to the floor. The dark holes upon his face clasped themsevles shut as he crawled, unready, unsure of anything at all, untrusting of the light. The woman's cheeks shriveled into wrinkles as hope left her face for the approaching soul. She straightened her arms in front her, pointing her fingers to the ceiling and flattening her palms to his face. In the pockets of her hands pooled all her willingness to heal life before it left for good. "Ignite, ignite," was her poem, pressed against the nothingness between the stars. The Moment invaded his darkness and evicted the tyrant of his abyss. She hugged his cheeks with her hands. And they saw each other. Lights calling into lights, one persisting for and within the other. One hand left him, her courage taking it to the tub. There it found a faucet, the waterfall installed inside. The bath drew itself up, and her hands, inch by inch, begged the shirt from his back. She dipped the sponge deep and a subtle splash became the first sound of their creation. She reached to his neck, bowed his head, and rested her fist on his shoulder. She wiped the bend of its blade, the grooves of his spine, the fringe of his hair. "We start with the yoke of the world," she told her friend, shuddering the both of them. Her hands dripped sliding to his chest and rode the turn of his neck, "and then we take the wounds they throw." She moved her sponge the length of each arm holding them tight, sending the water's warmth between every hair and blemish. She brough an ocean to the drought upon his knuckles, promised to flush the sorrow from his fingers. Invisible impacts made tiny waves in the flood on the floor and their clothes began to soak. She pulled each fiber from its place on her friend and for herself did the same and running this little-beaten path they escaped the constraint of their second skins. She dipped the sponge and told him of the coming pain, of the filth she wanted to rinse from him. To his eyes and the bend of his nose she raised her cleansing hands and stole the poisons of his torture. He folded and wailed, remembered fully the acquaintance of his solitude and the darkness of that space. Into the floor into the fake and manufactured he wanted to run. "Back to the assuring numbness let me go, back, back." "Be here," could've been her words, "be outside of it all." But her words could not follow where he had ventured. And so she washed him. The youth of his stomach and the bravery of his sex, the broken pads of his weary feet she held within the lullaby of her hands. If she could have reached inside, to scrub the sepsis from his blood she would have. She abandoned no piece of him, she welcomed his every inch. The dark house offered no messiah, no cohort of the Chosen, only these two souls together on the floor. Beside the hallway, that lone lit corridor, she witnessed him finish his fall, finding the sudden stop that kills. She filled the sponge and kissed it and crushed its contents above his head. To the unfindable perfection he lifted his chin and every thread and tiny river that surged down his face carried his anguish somewhere different. She removed and returned him. She was human for him, naked and unhidden, she undressed her mortal presence, returning him purely to the elevations which soar above loneliness. jep 16 march 2010
Hey erik! I really enjoyed this. I think I see a bit of a theme in your works of human beings taking care of/washing/healing the physical bodies of others. I am thinking of the first scene in Over Our Heads at the moment. Washing/cleaning another person is such beautifully humble act. It is humbling for both people involved--both participants are vulnerable. There is something about it that is graceful and elegant as well. Just described all of that and much more with this peice. I hope I will get to learn more about these characters in time.ReplyDelete
I think you have and really innate understanding of the human body and its functions. I wonder if it is partly a result of your biology background. You are very precise when you describe the human body.ReplyDelete