A silver light,
A glimmer on
A place of dream
A hope for
A silver light,
A glimmer on
A place of dream
A hope for
She could swear the old house breathed at night. That the walls spoke.
It was the age of things, she thought.
She’d ask, but the next door neighbors gave off a distinct air of distance and her mother was too occupied with damp ceilings, leaky pipes, and bone-dry bank account. There were questions one did not bring up unless adults were in the right mindset, which was rare enough during calm times, let alone through times of grown-up strife.
So Sally kept her own counsel on the matter of whispers between bricks and words in languages that sounded just a step to the side of comprehensible. It had scared her at first to hear them, but when she set her heart to listen she came to realize that there was no malice in the voices. Or none that raised the hair on the back of her neck, which had to be good enough.
After some time, Sally thought of them as friends.
She had few besides.
A moldy suitcase in the attic spoke of travel and held the faint smells of smoke and grime and sweat. There were some clothes still in it: Petticoats holey with moth and yellowed with time; a faded dress that might have been dark blue or purple at the time; a pair of shoes with buttons, the leather wrinkled like the face of Grandam in her casket; some papers in ink-spotted writing that mice or something else gnawed on; a locket.
She fretted about the latter. She wanted to open it. She shuddered at the thought. She dared herself to do so. Hefted it. Stared at the latch. Could not bring herself to undo it. This felt more personal than the split drawers in the suitcase, with the faint brownish stains on them.
She left the locket closed. But she did find herself drawn to hold it. Dreamed of wearing it. Of the dark blue dress. Of bonnets and petticoats.
One morning, when no other dreams found space and her nights became filled with whispers, she decided to wear the locket on her necklace. The small, intricately carved metal heart felt cool against her chest. She hid it underneath her shirt.
Sally could hear her mother arguing on the phone with yet another contractor, voice shrill as she tried but could not quite keep desperate frustration out of her voice. Sally tiptoed down from the attic to the landing and slipped quietly out of the house to sit upon the stoop. The damp chilled her bottom, seeping through the fabric of her pants. She shuddered.
And it was no longer pants she wore, but skirts, dark blue, cascading around her knees and covering the indentation in the steps. Ancient, those.
The door of the adjoining house opened, and a butler poked his head, complete with white gloves and pocket watch.
“Good Morning, Miss Grenadine,” he bowed slightly in her direction.
She smiled, entranced by how neither her lips nor her eyes were her own.
“It will be a sunny one, once the mist burns off,” he said.
She nodded and plucked a petal off of her skirts. She did not quite trust her voice.
The butler bent to pick a newspaper off the stoop, tipped his head in her direction, and closed the door.
Her hand reached for the locket, which was hanging over ruffles and a row of tiny buttons. It felt warm.
“The longer you sit the further you will travel.”
She turned her head to the sound but saw no one. A crow perched on a stone across the next door’s stoop, beady eyes regarding her with something between expectation and reproach.
The bird did not open its beak but the words unfurled clearly in her mind. “Some things are better left unopened.”
The crow nodded, reading her mind. “But that does not mean keeping your eyes shut.”
She did not understand.
“Listen. Watch. Observe. Live on.”
Riddles. Crows were known for riddles. She shook her head and looked down at her knees to see a woolen skirt, knit stockings, an apron. Her arms in sleeves.
“Visit the past, but don’t forget to leave your own steps on the stairs,” the winged messenger noted, bobbed its head. Flew on.
“Sally?” Her mother’s voice sliced through the air.
The crow was gone. Her legs in sneakers on the step. The stairs the same.
She rose and eyed the door, the bowed indentation in the stones that led to it. Walked down to the pavement, turned, and pressed her feet into the tread.
She climbed. Making a path for someone from another time.
She spent the day swimming, buoyed by the swell and fall of waves, kissed by the spray of salt, caressed by playful bursts of wind as silvery bodies and slick flippers dipped and slid and spun beside her.
The sun warmed the top of her head, then the tip of her nose and the crests of her knees as she turned to rest and float and face it.
It was like living in a dream.
And it was. A dream.
The stained glass in the open door a portal to what was. The ventilator sighed. She could no longer swim.
I wake and turn my back on the clock and seek the comfort of the dream that is still floating like a bubble, already fragile, above my head. It pops and disappears and there is nothing but a vague sense of something lost. I wanted to go back into it … and yet the choice, when it was made in some subterranean neurological net within my mind, was that sleep was to escape.
The day to unfold.
Still, and throughout the mundane tasks of morning, small search-parties like tentative roots into hard-packed sand, send shoots into my consciousness to try and capture whiffs of the dream. A hope that perhaps a fleeting dandelion seed of recollection will find purchase and regrow a stalk.
A place of in-between. Perhaps a corner of my mind is still in slumber. Perhaps if I find it, I will come across the dream, robust in puffy bubble-hood, still tethered to my insides, waiting to be seen.
Sometimes writing helps.
I have too much to do.
I will ignore.
Will choose to sit and breathe and let my mind and fingers wander where they may, the sands of time, the depths of grief, the dawns of days, the fluttering delights, the warmth of recognition, the sorrows of injustice. Currents of discovery of what’s already there. A sea of tethered bubbles like a field of hot-air balloons, straining at the anchors to let loose.
I wrote of a blimp just the day before.
Was that the origin or the reaction to the imagery of bobbing thoughts and fullness so tangible it turns air into rising power? Was the blimp the source or the reflection of the fragility of any skin if pulled too tight, of the leaking deflation if seams are untended, the world upended as it spirals out of flight?
I write. I breathe.
I look pointedly away from the pink sticky notes and the open documents holding forms awaiting filling for a speaking engagement and another for an upcoming presentation and a list of emails needing a response.
I make a choice.
To chase a dandelion.
It has come to her before.
The message that had felt like lore
And made a home
Inside her core.
It ricocheted in her heart
Amidst the four walls
Of her soul.
Her spirit knew it,
She left her door open
In the slowest hour of the night
She came in robes
To weave the nearest future
She swished along the desert
Roads that only
It shall be.
You’ll find the path
To follow when you
For the d’Verse challenge: Harbinger
Image credit Gamze Bozkaya via Unsplash
“Hang on tight!” Mermee called
And she launched
And below her
My heart in my throat
As below me unfolded
Hope and fear, life remolded.
And I fell.
My dream’s spell.
For The MMLM Photo Challenge
As you breathe in the early (too early, today)
Pinking dawn of a fresh
May it catch on the ledge of a dream
That had your soul
In its sway.
For The Daily Post
History of the Bloomingdale area on Manhattan's Upper West Side
A creative miscellany of mythic fantasies
a weekly flash fiction prompt inspired by google maps
A community for writers to learn, grow, and connect.
To participate in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, create a Pingback to your post, or copy and paste the link to your post into the comments. And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other posts too!
Alternative haven for the Daily Post's mourners!
never judge a girl by her weight
original fiction, rhyme and photography
Taotalk is a forum for the discussion of both the academic and pragmatic aspects of dao and Daoism, with participants expressing themselves on Daoist writings and pragmatics from their unique perspectives. It serves as a community for Daoists, and those interested in Daoism, to gather and talk dao.
A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams
Life in progress
Straight up with a twist– Because life is too short to be subtle!
A man with dyslexia writing about this and that and everything else!
Better Living Through Beauty, Wisdom and Whimsey
Life in a flash - a weekly writing blog
Aroused by Arête, a meditating logophile