Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lovely in My Eyes

This was written in response to a prompt received from a self-proposed challenge. Prompt and challenge are at the end.

There was the basket as always. No matter how many times I did the washing, it never seemed to empty. I guess it’s a good thing. Means we’re all alive and kicking. But, still, I often felt it’d be nice if it’d disappear for a while or pass to someone else to do.

But if it’d passed for someone else to do, I’d’ve not seen her dancing that day.

I’d picked up the basket as always. It was my day for washing, so I was going about it, thoughts turning every which way as they often did. But there were always things on the stairs, enough that I always had to be careful, enough that I always had to pull my rambling thoughts in and focus. So I had been being careful. I’d pulled my thoughts from their wanderings and focused on the wood under my feet.

And because I was focusing, I heard her before I could see her. Lovely music made of pipes and lights, flutes and earth, such as I didn’t hear in this house. Who had left a radio on, I wondered; and what station was it, I wanted to know. I wanted to hear the music again.

But as I ventured further down, I could see colors, too, that didn’t belong in our boring laundry room. Green and gold and brown and black. Color and light and shadow twined and turned in ways I’d never seen them do, like they danced for the music on the radio that I must have.

There was no accounting for that, so I ducked down to look. Had someone brought something down and left it running on one of the machines? It was beautiful and I must know what it was, too.

But there, instead, was a small woman—an impossibly small woman—made of earth and light and green. Her feet were bare and her arms and her legs. Flowers and seeds were knotted in her hair. They moved and swayed to counter her light steps and high leaps. I never saw her eyes--she had them closed all the while, but never, not even once, struck anything in the cramped space.

I was afraid to move. She might go and then what would I do? But I couldn’t keep standing. It was like the basket, always there, pulled me down to the steps. I let the shadows hide me as skin rich as my garden and marked with the sun flashed, rose and fell. Her dress revealed nothing, though it could only have been made of air.

How long she danced, I don’t know. But I found myself slipping down one step, and then another. I had to be closer. I had to know her loveliness for myself. I had to feel that light made of gold and growth and shadows. So I kept slipping, slowly, a little closer to her and her music and her light and...and her, a creature made of life and secret things.

But when my foot touched the concrete she disappeared. Not even the mark of her feet, made black by poor housekeeping, marred the floor. Only the memory of her song, of her strong lines, her quick feet were rich in my mind.

What would I have done if I’d touched her anyway, I asked myself as I set the basket on the nearest machine. What would grungy, dirty me have done with something so lovely?

Ask her how that can be me, came the answer.

I’ve been trying.

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