Monday, May 29, 2006

Endings: The Midas Touch

Nowadays, he resides in the back of her head like a childhood memory, a flicker of familiarity that she associates with the nuances of new words, the occassional wind carrying with it the heady smell of strawberries, the faded photographs in her mind's eye. She allows herself to sink into the predictability of routine, retreating into a present that she no longer recognizes. Every second is a lifetime to her, every step an eternity. Sometimes, she stands at the sink, soapsuds decorating her too-thin wrists, long fingers grasping the rim of a forgotten plate. At full blast, the water drums against the stainless steel sink like an isolated storm, water pinwheeling clockwise down the drain. She forgets these things, just as she forgets the sound of his yawn as he stretches awake, the feel of his hand on her thigh - a light feather touch brushing against the most sensitive of skins. Sometimes, she simply spends her days watching the sunlight slant across the room, the long angle of light slowly transforming as it travels across the light wooden flooring of the bedroom.

Then there is the moment when she awakens and finds that her fingers are fading, retreating into herself, mere wisps of fingertips leaving a trail of gold-colored smoke where she moved her hands. Horrified, she tries to wipe away the smoke across the sheets, but she only leaves sparkling trails of liquid amber, luminescent as they catch the morning light. Smoke, she thinks to herself, marveling at the sound of her own voice in her head. So this is how it works, when you get what you want.

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