Friday, February 13, 2015

Adult Nonfiction

(Painting by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva)

She was in a neglected corner of the university's library, her knees knocking against its most neglected shelf, pulling out books one at a time to see when they'd last been borrowed, thinking she’d become one of those people who believed, in their hearts, that books had souls--making every volume she held the more pitiable to her--when he strode down the aisle, took her by the arm and lifted her up, before kissing her hard.

She dropped her book. Dust blew off the pages like pollen. 

And as he pushed her--gently--against the stacks, and as her fingers groped at the worn, thready bindings there, trying to find a grounding, she remembered that she also had a soul. And that lips were the crack where the light fell through.  

So that she returned to him, harder, reaching her hand around his neck, and pulling him closer than that.

Letting the books be books, and only books.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

In Praise of Sadness

Sometimes, it seemed her sadness was a weather system, moving in and hanging around: a low-pressure throb, right under the skin.  

Sometimes, it was a night flower--the most precious, poisoned, unspoiled part of her--her very own neglected child.

And sometimes--most often--it wasn't there at all, not even a whisperful. 

But even then, in the cut-and-dry sunshine, she was capable of missing it a little. Which was its own kind of sadness, though of a sort she could still make fun of.

Because she knew that it was indulgent to see sadness that way--as some cloying root one might suck some life from, just for the sake of getting the bitters. There was little in the way of sustenance about it. 

When for so many around her, sadness was a luxury. A place to stick one's weary feet. The damp fire against the tiresome storm jawing at their scrawny shutters. Better than fear, because it was a lamentation of loss, instead of the anticipating. A hole you could slide into, a falling. Better than not caring, too, because nothing was worse than that frictionless drifting. At least with sadness, there was that bulging blackness at the bottom. That catch in one's throat to grab onto. As if you'd meant to say something in defense against it, but thought better of it, in the end. Sleep was so much easier.  

Still. She loved the word wound

She loved the smoke that curled close to its flame, before being borne away. Paper blackened at the edges. The condensate formed on two 80-proof lips, dripping dripping dripping. 

Wound was a word, then. But wasn't a word, itself, enough? 

So that if it was her own hand circling round her heart, squeezing to the point of soreness, maybe all that was just to remind herself, 

You're alive, stupid. Love it.  

Love the whole damn thing.