“Waves crashing on a beach always make me sleepy.”
He told me this once on a night long ago when a great silver orb hung in a starry black field. I rolled my eyes because he was always making these utterly useless statements.
“Do you pack your lunch or walk to work?” I sometimes wanted to ask him, hoping that it would be this useless times 100 sentence that would show him how his uttered words meant nothing to me or anyone.
Or maybe I’m just a big bitch, it’s possible, but I always think these words when sand grits between my toes and frothy waves crash against my ankles. Maybe that was his plan all along, to ensure that little bits of his garbage ended up in my mind. Then these crumpled bits would pop into my forethoughts and unfold themselves and I would be forced to think of him.
There are no stars this afternoon; I’d worry about this fair planet’s fate if they appeared as early as 2pm. That same silver orb is but a faint white blur behind white puffy clouds. Shells and fish bones and stones and frothy foam, all white. All white, but me. Inside me, instead is a thick, blurry darkness that comes from…
Where? I can’t say for sure. He may have had some useless phrase to utter were he here with me now. But he’s not and all I can do is walk paths up and down a strained and lonely beach and hope that my footprints remain when I head back. They don’t, and I don’t know why I bother to hope. Why it would matter one way or another if they were.
Is everything in life as useless as his stupid phrases? Maybe, or maybe I’m just being a bitch. Anything is possible, isn’t it?
So when I trip over a spiky seashell and catch myself with my palms I only have to laugh. Of course! My palms are scraped open from hard gritty sand and I now sport a stylish holey knee in a brand new pair of jeans. I turn and sit and brush myself carefully, favoring my bleeding palms. Gulls are flying overhead calling and careening. I brush at sand until I have revealed a seashell once home to some crustacean, but now tossed up onto this lonely strip of shore.
I listen to this shell. It is like shaking a developing Polaroid, a human imperative that really means nothing. A graceful, outward swoop of white shell reveals its shiny pink interior which is cool and gritty against my ear. I can hear my crashing ocean from both sides now, but in my right ear I hear a different ocean. In my right ear is an ocean that screams of my overhanging dark cloud. My thick blurry darkness, broadcast from a shining pink home, encased in white. Imagine that.
I wonder if he would have something clever to say about my fall, my bleeding palms and my torn pants. But I do know he would help me up and lead me home, make me tea when we get there and laugh with me all along our backtracked footsteps.
He is not a source for my blurry cloud, and his absence isn’t either. He won’t make it go away and he won’t make it worse. His stupid sayings make me laugh… most days. And those bits that he leaves crumpled in my mind? Not really garbage, I know I must leave plenty of my own with him and what one learns from others is never really garbage.
I pick myself up and tuck my toe-stubber under my arm. My footprints that show me how to get back home are gone, but I don’t need them. I already know which way to go.
what do you think the prompt was?? It was a little tough, but i am quite thankful for the 'find' feature in microsoft word because otherwise i would have been in massive fail mode. are you ready for it??
from elite writing prompts 10/22/2008:
Write a brief story in which you do not use the word "the" once.
hit ctrl f and give it a try. booyah.