She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door. By now her eyes could barely stay open, and yet she knew, without having to look closely, that it wasn’t a door really—only the opening for one. And over that threshold down there, she could somehow read the shape of the shadow. How it appeared suddenly, spilling out of nowhere, was quite beyond her, but she could tell, couldn’t she, that there was no floor.
This time, perhaps because of starting to fall asleep, her diary seemed heavier than usual. Getting up, she brushed her fingers over it and could feel the raised spine, and rough spots where the gold lettering spelling ‘Love’ had peeled off. If she were to take it with her, the book might drop from her hands. It might then continue dropping, farther and farther away from view through the empty elevator shaft, releasing letter after letter into the air, filling its darkness with white feathery pages, rustling, whispering what she had written such a long time ago, what had been clamped—until now—between the front and back covers, as if it were a flower meant for drying.
Her longing for him.
She wiped her face, and now her sight cleared. With every step toward that door, she could see his eyes shining brighter and brighter across from her, as if David—yes, as if he were right there, framed by the hollow. In a moment, she thought, he would reach for her hand, smiling as if nothing bad could happen. And just like that last time, he would try to lead her over the scaffolding at the tenth floor of his newly erected skyscraper, with the blueprint rolled tightly under his arm.
They had been married for ten years at the time of the accident. Since then, never once did she open her diary. Reluctant to decipher her own handwriting, which had looked different back then, more childish, she kept the book closed. Let it all be forgotten: their first date, their wedding, honeymoon, because these memories would be followed—how could they not?—by that which had to be blocked: the image of him holding out his hand to guide her over, and the sound of his foot, stumbling.
But this morning, for some reason, she found the book open. How could that have happened? With a sudden shiver, she turned a page. To her surprise, that didn’t bring back the sight of the void. This time the slanted sky, and the twisted earth below her, framed by metal poles and wooden planks didn’t rise up in a flash. So she closed her eyes, and brought back the last touch of his hand. It was as firm as ever. His fingers—she could almost feel them around her, all the way to the small of her back—his fingers gave her a sweet, strange feeling, which she had been missing for so long: the feeling of being home.
That was when, with a clap, she closed the book, then went through the missing door. With one easy step, which helped her ignore how final it was, she was flying, her hair pointing up, blowing wildly in the vertical wind. At first she avoided spreading open her arms, for fear of scraping them against the walls. Then, she heard her laughter, swirling loud and free, because there were no walls, only papery architectural designs around her. Sliding dreamily down, she was closer and closer to where she was headed all these years.
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Compelling. I loved it! My father was an architect...also my brother. This short makes me want to read more...much, much more.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! I was an architect too, once upon a time...ReplyDelete
Having just published my novel, it is refreshing to try and create a compelling story in such a short vignette.
I just heard the prompt today on my iPod, a podcast I get from Three Minute Fiction and was thinking, no way, that doesn't make any sense. I won't bore you with the workings of my mind, obviously this prompt wasn't for me. But you did wonders with it. Well done.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Rossandra!ReplyDelete
I love the places that edges take us . . . This is riveting -- and riddled with images that linger.ReplyDelete
Beautifully said, Deborah.ReplyDelete