Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fall

I don't remember his fist, but I remember the fall.

The back of my head stung, like a hammer was ramming through it.  I tried to force open my eyes but only tiny silvery stars leaped into view. The rest of the world was a blur.  I strained to hear the sound of a baby crying, mine, in the background.  It was far and fading as if someone was carrying him away, closing him behind doors of distance, and of barrier.

"So this is what it fells like,"  I said to myself.

I heard a punch then, not at me but into the wall. The crunch and crumble of plaster and whatever lay behind its once pristine surface, surrendering a fabricated wholeness to the weight and velocity of  assault.  I knew just how it felt.

I needed to see what it looked like. I squinted to keep the stars from buzzing, and saw pink insulation protruding from a jagged hole. Brown and gray construction materials reached out like a wrangled head of hair pouring down from a dark, lifeless and empty head.

Like a tired old man crying, without tears. 

I strained to listen again, sounds of an animal huffing and puffing, wild, crazed and seething. Blood rushed in my ears like an ocean or the sound of a first winter rain. I wanted to run but my legs wouldn't move.  Shards of something broken scattered about me, like fallen pedals but they had sharp edges that looked biting.  Were they my prized collections of blue and white china? I wondered if I had returned to a childhood dream where I needed to reach for something but my legs wouldn't carry me.  I tried to scream but no sound came. Everything around me seemed gray, thick and unmoving, gelling me in place, like in a dream. 

A dream that belonged to the night, happening in a sunny afternoon, in my sand colored living room outfitted with cream sofa and scallop patterned curtains.  The ocean room designed for waves of laughter and tides of gatherings, "for generations to come", one relative had said.  I had believed her, along with that promise of "for better or for worse, ... ".

It took forever, but my elbows finally worked, propping up a leaf like body shaking with fear. My head moved though a hangover like pain blinded me once more.  I couldn't speak, didn't want to. When my belief of harmony finally crashed like a tidal wave, over and through me, it left no words behind in the ghost town of my chest.

I moved, finally, like a shadow.  The shadow and the shape of a lost animal.  I crouched; I crawled, towards the ever fainting sound of that cry.  Was it upstairs? I wanted to be there, I needed to be there, to hold that small bundle of warmth and life and to know that it wouldn't go through me like the rest of the world just did. 

I limped up, turning to tell him to "get out", baring my teeth as I said the words.  I came to the stairs and climbed along the railings to stand. Not for long, before I fell, then stood again.  I stood and watched him leave, watching like a hawk, eyes blazing, lips dripping with something salty and thick.  I stood silent and still, not daring a move, lest I fell again, until his shadows retreated beyond the line of my sight.

-- A Few Thankful Things --
  •  A dear friend who called, after a travel excursion and telling me all about her thoughts and we share laughter and understanding.
  • Study groups, for better or for worse.
  • Beauty all around me, too many to list.  Physical, emotional, spiritual, amazes me every minute of every day.
  • Recovery, from everyday falls, from small mistakes, to reach peace slowly but surely.


Finally, another question.   Does the below ending work?  Or is it unnecessary?  Why or why not?

At the sound of the door clicking close, I collapsed.

15 comments:

  1. Oh, I loved this. And I think you should definitely keep the last line. A strong, solitary last line like that ties it all up.
    It shows that she was using all the strength she had to stand up to him, and now, she could let go of it.

    Powerful.

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  2. I think the last line works really well with this, showing that last bit of strength and courage to stand up to him. When the door clicks, she can let it go and be broken ... but not before.

    As always, a strong piece. Good job.

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  3. The last line works well, although I think the piece is strong enough to do without it.

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  4. This story is good! Like, really good! Amazingly good!
    Your writing is beautiful. There were so many perfect sentences in this. My favourite was: "...it left no words behind in the ghost town of my chest."

    And I like the last line. Keep it, definitely. :)

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  5. well written - you make this feel so real

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  6. I thought this was a stunning piece of writing - really well done.
    And I agree with Robbie I think it's strong enough without the additional last line

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  7. Stunning piece with or without the last line.

    I love the personal notes of thanks that you add at the end. :)

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  8. I usually find that leaving out the first third and the last line or two of a rough draft makes the resulting piece better.

    I guess I tend to overwrite and that's a cheap easy way to compensate. Each writer should figure out their own patterns and helpful editing habits.

    I am not saying that applies here. I always feel unsure of myself in editing someone else's work. This is just a couple of things that have helped me.

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  9. So sad. The baby crying really haunted me.

    The ending is solid without that last sentence. It felt complete. However, I really did want her to reach that crying child and hold her.

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  10. I like it enough without the last line.

    Thanks for sharing your personal notes. It makes your writing even more meaningful.

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  11. Loved this. Very dark, just my sort of thing.

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  12. Very powerful writing, I loved every word and how the puzzle was fitted together in such an expert way. Always a pleasure to come to your blog.

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  13. I like the ending too. You need some kind of confrontation. Whether it is him leaving or a stare in silence till he looks away.

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  14. Awesome! You're always an inspiration!

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