Flash Fiction: Flying

He was flying again. The cool air whipped his hair in all directions, never obscuring his sight, and below him, under the azure were the infinite fields dotted in shade of green, beige, and brown. He gripped the cool railing, rainbow patterned triangle guiding him to the next location.

The pressure of the wind varied as he banked left, wing going up and up, precise and patient, but never overeager, and he saw the sea in the distance uncut by bleakness, and bathed in white sunlight. He would have laughed.

But then he woke up in his tiny, unfurnished apartment, in the grey-dark purple of urban morning.

Dream Logic

Dream logic is uncannily appealing to me.

The night, a mountain, stars of literal diamond rolling up and down the length of something that looks between a river, and a field; the time is gelid, limpid, and pellucid. A shade of green that you don’t associate with air; the textures are all wrong.

You see the light at the end of the navy darkness across the way, and it calls to you. The swaying water takes on the quality of grass, and light fluctuates lux in the in-between.

Figures of egg and sveglia and pain collide on the edges of your periphery. A swooping eagle wings outspread watches you from afar. It has legs of a baby, and its eyes see beyond.

The night air swirls around you and the moon calls its demon red into the place between those two thoughts as wide as ginnungagap. Creatures lurk in those dark shadows with eyes the color of blood.

The eagle is inconsistent in its devotion. Its legs become familiar and a Raven joins its flight, judging it’s love for logic. The wind around them is just the sound of hope.

Three men watch them from below, in a wilderness of swirling darkness. But they are lit by rubies, sapphires, garnets, and guilt. The guilt is flame incarnate, burnished orange and regretful mauve play off their faces.

They know the eagle is a herald of order. But the Raven, well, that’s something else.

The Raven is the familiar that whispers in your ears about the seductive truths of beyond. It’s the subtle curvature of the earth that you seem to fall into from the horizon line. It sings a song of savory sorrow; but its song’s sweet sultriness is too much to bear.

Below the Raven, the men argue about god, life, and violence. They each assume their position is the correct one. They are men of learning, the turbans that sprout on their heads grow successively with the mounting arguments. Their rhetoric builds escher stair ways from the soft-silk and muslin of their turbans.

Suddenly, a loud bang. The smell of patchouli ruins the effect. Then the smell of sulfur.

Brimstone leads the men into a cavern of gravity-less meanderings. They continue arguing, each walking past the other through lopsided right angles. They don’t know what they know to be true; and their too smart to acknowledge what they feel to be right.

The eagle perches silently on the top stage left, just under the lights.

–Where are we?

–Who cares…

–It’s imperative that we figure out where we are

–Why can’t we just walk, and let it take us

–Your metaphors are too on the nose

–I’m not in control here.

–Control is an illusion

–There are plenty of illusions, but control is not one.

–Control is the ultimate illusion; it preys on the belief that we hold the wheels of destiny. We are ever a passenger.

Sprouting blossoms of crystal fall out of the person’s mouth. The indeterminate sex of his existence is no crime. The Raven’s eye is a black hole. Dali doesn’t know how he ended up in some mad modernist raving about nothing, and promptly leaves the scene

–Great, now I’ve included Dali, as if I wasn’t being obvious enough.

–I could have done Bunuel, I guess.

And then, a rumbling

The world becomes a singular point on the horizon. The Eagle Bursts into Flame, the Raven screams at the light, and all of the insignificance is pulled into focus.

Just as the dream is about to get good.

I wake up.

And there is nothing more disappointing than that.

Short Story: A Hotel on the Moon

The boy has been in his apartment all day, the weather won’t permit otherwise. He has a building case of cabin fever; damn the weather. He checks his watch again; it is well past dark out and he hasn’t gotten up in small, meaningless eternities. As he stretches and puts on his clothes, he debates the quality of this idea.

He needs to get out or he will snap. It’s also dangerously cold and painful and any other adjective he can link to hurt outside in the blizzard. Maybe it’s appropriate. He flinches, and picks at crusted tears on his eyes.

He grabs his key, and, after much deliberation, decides In the Aeroplane over the Sea, by Neutral Milk Hotel will accompany him on his excursion. He looks at his coats and decides — against his better judgment — for the light jacket that doesn’t zip. He feels masochistic. He closes the door to the drowsy, suffocating, warmth that he has been subject to all day and locks the door with a click. He crosses the tungsten Charon of his apartment’s front hall, thick and cloying.

Alia iacta est.

He opens the door to see the city is gone; in its place, the Moon.

“When you were young you were the king of carrot flowers…” the corrugation of acoustic chords wash over him as he marvels at the Moon’s surface: off-white, caps of shifting crystalline grains being pulled by an angry wind into the pitch black of airless night. He looks up at the sky, noting the brightness of the stars this evening. An unusual lux on this dark night of the soul.

Still on safe ground, he takes cautious steps onto the surface. He has to at least pretend that gravity exists.

He looks at the sky, feeling frictionless shoes accumulate moon-dust as he looks at dunes of glittering white up to his head, intimately – and uncomfortably — close. He slips as his shoes imprint their mark on the bitter cold dust. Neil Armstrong laughs in his head.

He looks up as he turns, the violent wind visible in clouds of moon-dust that ascend angrily into the pitch black sky. Fluorescent lamps illuminate the gusts, blowing like a jilted lover’s scorn. Smells do not waft in such bitter cold, and the world is sterile. Signs of earth nonetheless mar the beauty of the moon’s surface.

The boy decides not to linger. The moon is nice in the abstract, where you can romantically wonder at its simple beauty, craters forming apophenomenal shapes and people. When you’re there, though, the reality of its cold merciless solitude hits. There won’t be anyone out tonight: makes sense. It’s colder than even he is used to. His footing grows more assured as Mangum and Trumpets move him to the King of Carrot flowers part 1 to parts 2 & 3

“I love you Jesus Christ” Mangum sings loudly to the void, against his eardrums.

The boy shivers. That line has always made him uncomfortable. He has nothing against Jesus — nor does he necessarily disbelieve in him. But Mangum’s passionate voice – for Jesus, of all people – singing of such true love, so shamelessly, makes the boy twitch violently. How do you get away with something so…genuine, without hurting? Without want, or desire. How do you love so easily, so effortlessly? Is it even possible to love anyone thing that intensely?

As he climbs yet another dune of white powder, making sure not to slip and hurt himself, he nods: Yes.

He’s never made reciprocity’s acquaintance; it seems overrated to his mind anyway — like the moon; once you get past the beauty and mystique, it’s just another dull reality. He turns down a straight path where the dunes break for a moment into flatness. He tries not to flinch as the crystals of dust carried into the air swirl around him like daggers. No, reciprocity is overrated; not that he needed today’s failure to make it any more obvious.

He had fucked up again. So consumed with possibility that he failed to look at reality. Desperate for some girl’s love, who he didn’t even want anyway, just to feel less alone. She wasn’t the one. She was a distraction. He was a fool; and it still hurt.

Drums build to Part 3, and chaos reigns in the swirling wind; he appreciates Mangum’s bald assertion, even if it doesn’t feel true to him, and perhaps never will. An image passes through his mind; one he had forgotten, but shouldn’t have.

She is smiling at him; unerringly beautiful, calm, with a smile that would cause minor flooding from the ensuing melt. The details are irrelevant in the presence of such feeling. The spark of a crush long ago extinguished; a pleasant nothing he had enjoyed; but, for whatever reason, has decided to come back, and come back in force. He looks into her eyes, and she, his. A tender gaze that, for once, doesn’t make him terribly uncomfortable, He returns the gaze, trying to share in that warmth, he almost feels it spreading through him

Suddenly, as if in sync with the music, a gust blasts him directly in the face. The snow doesn’t care; the stars are distant…judging. The song ends with that longing — that need. The resonant overtones of the title track begin. He starts singing along, he knows the words too well.

“And one day we will die  and our ashes will fly  from the Aeroplane over the sea,  but for now we are young,  let us lay in the sun  and count every beautiful thing we can see…”

The boy looks around him, despite the vicious cutting wind, despite the apocalyptic dunes and overwhelming darkness that seems ready to consume the light at any moment. He feels a beauty sitting underneath the savagery. He breaks into a well-kept, flat, causeway from a wider swath snow. The song is cheerful, promises of a sunny day so diametric from where he currently stands that if he could, he would laugh.

“How strange it is, to be anything at all…”

Amen. The boy laments his choice of clothing. His neck is exposed, swollen red; his hands numb when they stay out of his pockets for too long. The numbness in his neck though, gains uncomfortably sharp clarity, blotting out his hands. He occasionally looks down to see his hands, angry red and swollen from cold.

He hasn’t dealt with this kind of cold in a longtime. Lacerating his face. A capricious, but consistent, gust picks up around him, blowing dust into him with a siren’s fury. He’s too far from his apartment to turn back just yet; he sighs as he realizes it would be smarter just to finish the album on the walk than try to rush back to his apartment. The wind slows him down. Fuck it.

He disregards the structures, houses, apartments, convenience stores, all closed and asleep around him. They’re shelter, warm, holding people in unintentional stasis. He wonders briefly if he is crazier than they are. Probably.

He is going to be sick tomorrow, he feels it. He again sighs at the lack of weightlessness on the moon. He thought it would feel….airy, but no, gravity is retained.

“Two Headed Boy” starts and he can’t help it, he’ll have to give it his all. He can never help singing with this track.

“…put on Sunday shoes,  and dance round the room to accordion keys,  with the needle that sings in your heart”

It’s at this moment the boy lets loose in silent double tracked mourning. He looks at those distant stars and sings loudly; he notes people on the moon, as he turns towards a busy street…odd. But then again, this is a night for oddity.

He wonders pointedly if the reason he always feels so strongly about this song is because he is the two headed boy. He has always felt like he was sitting a jar, watching the world move. The events of the last few days have done nothing to mollify him. If anything they have made it worse. He presses a finger to his nose, because he cannot feel it.

And the girl in the song, who is she? He opens his arms and strikes an apostatic pose as a particularly strong wind blows his coat open. The climax of the song beating against him bodily and the chaotic airless weight of the wind assaulting him, trying to destroy him.

He passes a pharmacy and takes a brief respite as the western waltz “The Fool” plays to his heart. It sounds like a dirge, as if the two headed boy has left the world against his will and is being marched into now. He glances over the hopeless job search in his mind, unsure what to do. Maybe he is a failure. Maybe not. Again that girl flashes into his mind. A Beatrice who he would rather be a Gemma Donati, or better, Nora Barnacle. Her memory is unrealistically vivid.

Horns drift to silence, and “Holland, 1945” marks a turning point and the boy realizes he must go back home.

He walks completely against the wind. Power chords, and drum fuzz blind the world to a painful metal clarity as his neck is torn by the gusts. Torn past redness and sore sorrow.

“The only girl I ever loved,  was born with roses in her eyes,
but then they buried her alive…”

Perhaps this snow would bury the world around him. One day he would wake up and he would be permanently imprisoned in a tomb of white; were there any other preferable ways to go out?

His old/new Beatrice dances with him in a slow, sensual — but not graphic — tango on the actual moon. They respond to the rhythms and frequencies of each other perfectly, harmonically. Indulging in weightless flights of fancy.

She wears a crown of flowers and leads the dance; weightless, their reactions graceful and infinite. He looks and sees rose petals in her irises. Or maybe he is just hoping that was the case. They bleed white as the song ended.

The wind wants his blood. Sacrificing his hands comfort, he holds his neck and presses his palm gently to it. He shudders at how cold it is, and how supple and tender against the calloused numb hands.

He slips into a trance as he walks back up the hill, on the return journey, and falls into the lilting drone of “Communist Daughter”.

“Semen stains the mountaintops”

An odd sensation of relaxation rolls through him, as he feels his vocal cords vibrate. He sings against his palm; a tactile beauty to the feeling of sound being produced. The wind will not have it. It drums apocalyptic. He crests another dune. Holding himself closely as the wind attacks him, tries to defeat him. Crush his obstinate refusal to stop.

The moon is angry. As he finally turns a corner to return home, just as “Oh Comely” begins. And a moment he has since resisted finally breaks. He stops. Far from home, but not far enough.

Life hits him: he is a failure, in every sense of the word. He falls into the sadness of the behemoth of a track and slows his pace as the wind begins to abate. He walks with the jagged pace of a drunk. The snow silently crunching; the moon-dust judging him. Why did he take this walk in the first place?

He turns back to familiar avenues but notes an alley he never paid any close attention to before. The cold has dropped further. He’s so numb, so beyond feeling, that he feels everything. His jacket is crusted with frost, and hard besides; Every skin cell screams for him to stop.

He walks, slumping slightly as the song dips into his despair, and stokes it.

Then he looks up.

That bright star is there, but its character had changed. It seems… happy, to see him.

“I know they buried, her body with others,  her sister and mother and 500 families,  and will she remember me, 50 years later, 
I wished I could save her in some sort of time machine”

He wants to cry for this sublime instant; at the beauty of it all. The world has become bright and crisp. He looks down. A bright light cast his shadow in terrifying clarity.

He looks at his shadow carefully, in high definition. It looks more real than he does, so crisp and precisely defined. He stares. Then he pushes on, he is almost back.

“Ghost” drifts by and he takes a wrong turn. The mountains close in on him and he turns back on to the main road. His heart pounds in his chest. He feels a flowing reverse tide, shifting his heart’s blood to warmth.

Beatrice is out there, she is happy and smiling. She probably isn’t aware he exists, but that doesn’t matter. He feels this…deep, warm, and utterly compelling love. It’s stupid, when he analyzes too closely. Someone who doesn’t give a shit, but he feels it anyway. He knows she might never become his Nora, she might forever remain Beatrice but it doesn’t matter. For once. She’s a memory, but She’s real. He forces himself to go back home.

“And now she knows, and now she knows she’ll never be AFRAID  to watch the morning paper blow, 
into a hole where no one can escape”

His apartment looms closer. He is stiff from the cold, and so is his jacket. The world of “Untitled” fills his mind with accordions and surreal singing bows. The hill to his apartment is a blur of speed. His movements matching the crescendo of the song.

He stops right outside his apartment as the sound cuts to a hum of finality. He opens the door and quickly rushes to his apartment as he falls into the dark of his unlit single. Closing his eyes, the hum picking up into a wail he stands dead center of his room, the warmth he had fought all day rolling into his body. If he was the two headed boy, then this girl is there somewhere. He begins to sing.

“Lady please hear this song that I sing,  in your heart there’s a spark that just sings  for a lover to bring, 
a child to your chest that could lay as you sleep, 
and love all you have left like your boy used to be, long ago wrapped in sheet warm and wet”

He stands straight, opening the aperture of his heart, his arms assuming a crucifix. He doesn’t need this pose, but it feels right. The crux of the song washes over him as does a beautiful inner light.

“And in my dreams you’re alive and your crying,  as your mouth moves in mine soft and sweet, 

rings of flowers round your eyes and I’LL LOVE YOU…”

he holds the note, feeling the truth of that statement at its deepest. He is in love, it will not be returned. The light and warmth fill him, almost to bursting as he lets loose on the final verse. He loves something, truly, passionately. Fuck it if she’s just a memory.

“And when we break, we’ll wait for our miracle,  god is a place where some holy spectacle lies, 
when we break, we’ll wait for our miracle, 
god is a place where you’ll wait for the rest of your life” 

He holds the note, then something tells him to be quiet.

He had returned from the moon, he had survived the pain and hurt and sad – failure —  and somewhere out there, he felt love for a girl who didn’t care, and probably didn’t want to, and he was OK.

For the first time he was ok. He listened to the final verse in the darkness, with a smile. It was all one big love song in the end. A horribly funny cliché.

“Two headed boy
She is all you could need
She will feed you tomato and
Radio wire
And retire to sheets safe and clean
But don’t hate her
When she gets up
To leave”

She would leave one day, but that was ok, for all he had was now anyway.

END

Short Fiction: Strangers, Part 1: Water

"The Next Stop is Walnut St." The too loud digital bass voice says. The pressure he applies mechanical , distantly, as he thinks about the bus-stop that doesn't. The air has the removed quality of a bathroom without all the charm. 
He keeps some mementos on teh dash,mostly for his sanity.Dread the ding before it arrives. 
DING, the crystal bell rings. 
Avoiding a shrug, he shifts his weight, feeling the accordion of his chair bounce motionlessly in slowdive movement to the glissando wheels. 
The large circular wheel, ridged for your displeasure, an inverted peace sign, warns him subconsciously at 10 and 2, judging him and his efforts. His height not helped by the large, soot asphalt pedals. 
The fog crept in at sunset;  that miasma, sludgy; adverbial; and a bit lazy. The bumps of the road ground to nothing. The route, always the same. 
His life has gone nowhere in this particular direction for long enough that he feels he should worry.. 
A girlfriend, too good for him, he figures, her picture not even available, waiting at home. The date runs an arc across his vision in carmine and crimson and bright red. 
Valentine's Day. 
He stares up at the counter to tell him his time-debt: 5.4 minutes late. He forces perspective from his back, keeping himself straight despite the dull throbbing and twitches up and down his spine. A twinge as he pulls the bus to brake. 
A muttered thank you.Close now. He silently mutters the litany of prayers, hoping he can drive straight to the end of the line without another stop.. 
He needs to buy something. 
His heart beats too loudly, aware of the otherwise robotic nature of his existence. The route is some maneuver he mastered too long ago. He once felt pride in his work...the kind that made getting up in the morning easy; His purpose dwindles with each passing moment. 
He's afraid of what happens when he comes home, and she finally decides he's no good for her. When she finally turns on this paltry sum of existence in favor of something more meaningful, more present. He flinches at the memory of the hours and missed dates; the need for money overwhelming the need to live. It eats his soul down to the bone. 
The shifting air pressure from the door opening keeps him awake, mercifully. He could be the walking dead, but he chooses not to. 
Fianally, after those eons that feel longer than the roman empire, the end arrives. Saccharine and asphalt in christmas lights no one has enough motivation to take down. They glisten like starlight on the tree. He turns the key and gets out. 
A queue of people lined up want to get on, they can wait. 
He walks over to the CVS; it's pharmacy-mecca promising at least the barest effort of affection. She has never wavered in her love for him. A fact that surprises him further, every passing day. He's just a bus driver. 
The blue uniform elicits looks as he walks in. His hair a bright sheen in the light, combed precisely. The aisles drift more monotonously than the closed road. He walks around, further, further. He stops at the bouquets. 
The flowers are gross. Or, at least, that's what he thinks. He hopes she won't mind too much. He shouldn't even be doing this. 
He finds roses, but finds them cliche. NO roses, anything but roses. No time to pick flowers. Orchids? no, they look like aliens. Finally, a mix of carnations, and tulips that looks at least moderately alive. . He grabs them. walking over to the register. 
His body shifts accordion motions as he waits for the register. The defeated looks, and blue uniform of the customer service removes any need for anger at these people doing their job. One advantage to driving the bus, he supposes. 
The woman gestures to him. Black, tired, like Odysseus for Ithaca; just wants to be home with her love; or maybe just wanting some sleep. The purple bags would indicate that. JOAN, the name tag says. 
He places the bouquet on the counter. He makes no attempt at conversation; keeping his head up is a challenge. 
--Girlfriend? 
He nods, not looking. 
--No roses?
--She says they're generic. 
--Did you just get off?
--Have a queue of people lined up, probably not happy. 
He can't bear to look in the cashier's eyes. It would require him to be human. To feel anything. He hears a ring, clack, and the ping of a register. The corrugated sound as it shuts.
--Happy Valentine's Day, sir 
He looks up. He hears the clink of change, he hasn't taken out his wallet. Joan nods, not even smiling. 
--Have a goodnight. 
--Thank you, he manages. 
He grabs the flowers. 
--Sir?
He turns around
--They'll die if you don't put them in water.  
He knows that, but he can only smile in response. 
--I'll keep that in mind. 
He walks out, the unwitnessed clarity of this moment, temporary and true, rushing to meet him in the chill February air. He rushes back to the bus, past the bemused passengers. Drops the bouquet on the dash. 
He doesn't know when these flowers will get water; but he knows they will; thats enough. A 
--Fin

Short Story #1: Stretch Marks

Stretch Marks

He still has not taken off his shirt in front of her, for reasons only he understands; but tonight is the night.

He is in the bathroom, the poor white light its own sterile darkness. It is that light that flatters nothing, too white to be real. It will look green in his memory. His eyes are focused intently ahead of him, though he can’t say, in particular, what he is looking at.

His face has gotten more attractive in the last year. This he knows. It is in the way people look at him. There is a quality of look – an avidity – that speaks to something just below the surface of his heart; somewhere between his aorta and the metaphysical, where people latch and take note. He does not yet believe that look is for him.

He stares into his eyes, insecure about the fact that he finds them beautiful. Beauty is not an adjective to which he applies any great deal of thought, at least when it is his own. He thinks of himself as functional; and even that is a challenge, on the best of days.

Moments flash, disappearing blacks that were once blue hyperlinks. Moments that will continue to exist in the scars of his consciousness. He rubs the line of his jaw slowly: there is a stubble he thoroughly dislikes about his face. But it has not yet grown long enough to consider shaving.

The thought of it makes his stomach roil, and all he can see is the slow rise and fall of his breath. This should be easier for him. He’s so cocky, generally. He fakes a good smile, watches the unattractive lines of his face move into an awkward configuration of momentary lapses in judgement. This smile is ugly. It always has been. There is nothing inviting; often when he doesn’t look in the mirror, avoids the narcissism that come so easily to him, he feels that maybe there is a warmth in his gaze. But that could never be true.

These refrains pass through him, unrestrained for now, but tired. A chorus he has heard in his heart one too many times. A pop-song that lost its savor when he met her.

She is contrary evidence. She has been contrary evidence to the act of his hatred as long as he has known her. The way she looks at him. There is that hunger that he sees in others; but with her, it’s never just hunger. People don’t warn you about that; that if you’re attractive people will look through you — but never at you — not in the way that matters. The way the shapes of your body – the taper of your waist, the movements of your fingers, the rise of your shoulders – will sculpt fantasies in other minds. He is too aware of himself to deny the pleasure it brings; and his own fantasies, when he watches other people whom he is attracted to admire his body. But he cannot bring himself to agree with it; she’s still an exception.

He is wearing his shirt right ow, under the bright lights. She flashes in his mind for a moment as a lapse in the hate he lavishes on himself.

She is not perfect: far from it. She can be loud, and she gets angry at him for silly reasons. She can be distant and hateful; her laugh is somewhere between adorable and a cackle, and he can never decide where his heart falls when he listens to it.

But she gave her heart to him, for whatever reason. She opened up, and the blossom flowered in an instant. The night of his own darkness was waning. He had come to understand some measure of self-love. He had realized he truth one day, both horrible and beautiful, that those moments where he lamented his worthlessness, like Continental dollars, had vanished. In its place, was a solidity, to which he was unaccustomed.

And then he had met this girl. Met her in the most trite, and meaningless of circumstances. He had met her, and resisted for a time; then, when it became evident that resistance was needless, let it flow.

She made him uncomfortable; but it was the uncomfort of being loved and returning it, rather than the pain of his youth. The failures; the suck. But he had still not taken off his shirt.

As he thought about the reasons, he might have laughed.

He had seen her shirtless, and the thoughts made him blush, as if someone were observing him. He laughed uncomfortably; she was imperfect in the best ways. The angle of her breasts were slightly off; her nipples had a depressed quality; the curve of her hips too broad; her smile had a particular crook that lit unevenly; she wasn’t an hourglass.

But that imperfection was glorious. It was as if someone had ordered those wrong lines, bad contours and imperfect shading – for they were not perfect – and made a work of art, reveling in its own glorious unrightness. He reveled in those beautiful crevices that you couldn’t find in perfection, because they were hers.

He stared in the mirror, sighed and took off his shirt: he reviewed his shame.

Stretch marks; angry red motes, gouged into his abdomen, stripes long jagged; like poorly healed dagger scars. They were of a tenor few could understand, let alone enjoy; a painful recognition of failure to control. When they sprouted, he had assumed they were a rash. Until he examined more carefully; and they did not go away. They stretched as his gut expanded, and reminded him daily of his battles with himself. That he had failed to control himself. A fear which spoke of another darkness.

He had confided in her these terrors. How in his youth he was diagnosed; how he would have intense moods, how he could flip like a switch: how he was damaged. They served as forceful, perpetual reminders that he was on the hairs edge of right; ok; that he was once not ok, that he was once broken…still broken.

And those scars hurt, more than the memories they conjured up.

She had taken it all with love. She understood. How could she? She may not be perfect, but she wasn’t broken. He looked at those scars, the battles they represented. He liked when she touched him.

But he knew it was important that she see; she hadn’t questioned when he didn’t take off his shirt. She didn’t mind. Her hands wandered freely, but it was ok. “Wait until you’re comfortable:. He wasn’t comfortable. He would never be comfortable with these things. But…

He would do it. He would do it. He felt the swell of his belly, greatly reduced by time, effort, and love. Someone who wasn’t him would know his shame. And they would judge him accordingly.

–You’re taking an awfully long time! She shouted.

He looked at his scars. He was imperfect; but so was she. She was ok with it. He didn’t know when he would be; but he knew he would, one day, in some far off way. The way he knew when he met her.

He gathered himself, looked at those angry red scars, and smiled for the first time at his own hypocrisy.

He opened the door, to share his imperfections with the universe in the next room.

Fin