Friday, February 6, 2009

Sisyphus, In Love



They let their boots talk.

All that crunching snow, with crusts of ice above and below. Too sheeted to be molded into balls, or snow boulders. It gnawed on the calves and hamstrings after awhile. But it was a good burn. Matching the heat inside her lungs. Each lungful living large outside the lips, before dissolving away. The same for him. Maybe their breaths would meet in the silk of blue light, she thought, and dance beneath the pines.

His strides were longer than hers, and she struggled to keep up.

She watched the way he attacked the hill, and smiled against her scarf. The red of his ears poked from beneath his black hat. She had whispered things into those ears last night. They had been red then, too. But she liked seeing him away from her now. On his own. Just a little ahead. Almost unconsciously so. His instinct for solitude bound her closer to him.

She knew he would eventually turn. If only to tease her about being slow. Her pace dragged slightly. Pulling his string, if just a tug.

“You coming, or what?” he said.

He grinned back at her, and she stuck out her tongue. Feeling twelve again.

So alive.

“You’re too fast!” she said.

“Never.”

He set the sled on the summit of the hill, and waited for her to sit. Once she did, he squeezed in behind.

She leaned into his chest. Resting elbows on thighs. Sinking into his body heat.

She felt his arms wrap around, and heard the wind begin to whistle as they tipped toward gravity’s pull. His chin bobbled against her shoulder. Her eyes teared from the frigid blast. A blizzard of laughter blew between them as they scraped up more momentum. Halfway down, she unleashed a scream that frightened the crows. A murder exploded from the tree limbs, dropping their ice daggers, but the sled outran them.

As they weaved between the evergreens, she remembered her Ethan Frome. And briefly closed her eyes.

“What do you think?” he asked, when they finally touched bottom.

Voice sucked dry, she could only squeeze his knee. He nodded and helped her to her feet.

They let their boots talk. As they headed, once more, for the clouds.


20 comments:

sawan said...

o m g.. that was beautiful!! and quite romantic :) cupids are doing the magic :P

Aine said...

Oh!! This took my breath away. Makes me want to go sledding again. :)

I love the observation she made when seeing him ahead of her. I've often had such moments with those I love-- seeing them almost a you would see a stranger, as separate from yourself, for just a fleeting glimpse. It's a wonderful feeling that follows that.

Jennifer said...

Sarah, I have been complaining, to anyone who will listen, about how tired I am of our Boston winter and with this lovely story you have me summoning my words back. :)

Sarah Hina said...

Sawan, thank you so much! It is the season for cupid to pull the arrow from his quiver. And fire at will. ;)

Aine, any hills nearby? :)

I know what you mean about those moments. There is a distance, and a rush of emotion that follows in its wake. It's almost a privilege to have that perspective. To see with different eyes. Something expands.

Jennifer, I'm so glad!! As a long-time, reluctant participant in winter (read, whiner), I can empathize with your anticipation for spring. But there is still beauty to be harnessed from those white hills. :)

Karen said...

Oh, Sarah! You have created a whole world here! Your eye for detail is incredible and it makes your stories totally believable.

Having a day like this could almost make me like the snow again!

J.C. Montgomery said...

As I read this I felt as if I were listening to a song. I love how you make your narratives so lyrical - I seem to always lose myself in their rhythm.

Catvibe said...

Sarah, this is such a delight to read! I could feel it, minute by minute as it was happening. I love your 'murder' of crows, making me think both of my one of my favorite books, 'An exaltation of larks', and of K.'s most recent poem. Crows...silly birds that they are. You are such a great writer, I can just feel myself there in the eyes of the characters.

jason evans said...

A glowing vignette, especially once it leapt into the wind, just like the sled.

Relationships unspoken. Like a dance of thoughts never meant to be told. :)

Sarah Hina said...

Karen, me too! :) Thank you for the kind words. This vignette felt a bit like a downhill ride. ;)

J.C., that's a joy to hear. Thank you. :) I can't think of a more meaningful compliment than for you to hear a song in something I wrote.

Cat, there was a murder of crows when I took this (solitary) walk in the snow! Being quite outspoken, too. We need some spring birds, and soon...

Thank you for being swept away by the story. :) Maybe the myth of Sisyphus is just that. A myth. Walking repeatedly up that hill doesn't seem so bad, like this. ;)

Jason, I did try to emphasize a certain degree of solitude, even in their togetherness. But yes, those thoughts will stretch, and dance.

Thank you! :)

the walking man said...

Once again Sarah, you have made wish I could love winter. Alas it will never be.

David Cranmer said...

Extraordinary as usual and I like the Ethan Frome line that is included... I have been writing some flash fiction in this vein and you have encouraged me to take another look at my unfinished piece and get it out there. Thanks.

Sarah Hina said...

Walking Man, I'll tell you a secret. (For me, neither ;)).

David, I'm glad you liked the Wharton mention. That story has stayed with me since high school.

And I'm excited that I inspired you to get something in shape and send it out! Maybe I'll get to see it someday? :)

Ello said...

I love the way you opened and closed this piece. Beautiful. Really beautiful. And the photo is so spectacular!

Linda S. Socha said...

This is really very nicely put together. What I like about your writing....I feel as if I can step in....and participate!
Linda

Chris Eldin said...

Beautiful!!! Oh, I really love this one. And the photo, from over here in the desert which I loathe, makes my heart ache. I can feel the snow with your words! Thanks for this unexpected and most welcome gift.
:-)

Sarah Hina said...

Ello, thank you! :) For the photo, too. That was an interesting landscape to walk through...all that ice. Almost other-worldly.

Linda, that's a lovely thing to say! Thank you. :) If you felt that sense of communion and immediacy, then I've done my job with this one.

Chris, I wish I could export some snowy pines to you, my friend!! And a sled ride through them. ;) Thank you, Chris, as always. Your comments always make me smile. :)

Bob said...

Really beautiful... makes one ache to know that kind of connection with someone else... just a perfect piece of writing.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

This was pure enjoyment to read and envision. I love the scenes you create with your words. This was so sweet and romantic. All the things you mention here, are the things I like about sledding. Epecially the body heat! - ;D

Very finely written!

Sarah Hina said...

Bob, thank you so much for your warm words. And yes, such connections are worth climbing hills for. Heck, even mountains. :)

K, the sad fact is that I haven't gone sledding in a long, long time. Too long. But in writing this scene, I could feel some of that wind on my cheeks. :)

And I agree about the body heat. Definitely. :P Thank you for your kindness, K!

gel(Emerald Eyes) said...

Hi S,
I'm here via Kaye's, Cat's, and Vesper;s blog working my way through K's blogroll, because there is a wealth of superb writers to savor.

Beginning and ending with this personificatioin tickler of "they let their boots talk" is expertly traversed throughout your FF. I sighed while reading your writing, sighs of enjoyment and awe at the smooth flow, flawless description and lifelike characterization. Of course, the theme of love entranced me.