Radio Silence

A draught comes in through my open windows, stirring the stillness in my candlelit room. Outside, the silhouette of houses and trees absorb light and reflect none—pitch black, against a grey crop of sky. My dogs bark, their voices magnified by echoes. Distantly, another dog answers. But there’s no sound of technology: no televisions, no music, nothing save for the tapping of my fingers against the keyboard, the glow of my laptop illuminating the gloom. This brownout feels a bit like radio silence, a bit like the provincial quiet I grew up in. It feels like a much-needed pause, a break from a decidedly urban life.

And just when you’re starting to grow accustomed to the semi-darkness, to the silence, to the temporary disconnect, the lights come back on.

At least you’ve remembered something important: breathe. (Your old mantra, remember.)

Until next time.

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Adrift

I don’t know what I should be.

The earth spins underfoot, hurtling in space, forever falling, while I stay still and find tendons and ligaments melting into words, words hardening into the enamel of teeth, teeth fracturing into fragments, into the cells of the body, cracking into atoms.

I don’t know what I should be but I know what I could be.

Trompe l’oeil

Isn’t it ironic how people express the truth by using its exact opposite? Either by lying, or by joking about it? By making it sound like it’s not serious stuff, like it doesn’t matter much? There’s no wonder as to why people often murmur to themselves, “Jokes are half-meant.” There’s a ring of truth, however faint the sound.

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The Amber Door

It was a full moon when she fell in love. The usual side visible to the earth was alabaster, like his complexion. The stars hid behind thin clouds, the way the words did inside her heart. As the earth spun around its usual course, she didn’t; she was in a timeless place where only the ones who truly loved could enter. The door was only one; the people very few. Every unfamiliar face greeted her with such warmth it felt like family. Her heart squeezed, then spluttered. So eager to experience this, if this was what they call love. How can such an indescribable feeling be compressed into a little, four-letter word? She was walking but she was flying. She was quiet but she was singing. She was smiling but she was weeping, with so much joy that there were fireworks lighting her up from the inside.

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Real or Not Real

She takes his hand in hers, his long, slender fingers automatically enclosing around like a capsule of affection. His thumb brushes against the skin of her hand, leaving a million suns beaming underneath at its wake. She cocks her head to one side, straining to get a better look at the wonder that is walking beside her and is holding her hand like it were something only a few deserving could hold. He turns to her and smiles. An intense fire of yearning crackles within her, his mere breath air enough to let it burn forever.

Just as she lets the fire consume her greedily, everything recedes into a white blankness, a void in which she has been stripped off of her feelings like they were her own clothes. And there she is: stark naked and cold, her all-devouring fire being easily doused as if it were nothing but the tiny flames of a lit cigarette.

Her hand still clutches something solid, the texture of his skin friction against hers, though she can no longer see it. Slowly, she feels the solid change phase until she could no longer hold it, and it trickles away like flowing water. Uncontainable, never the same.

And then she is grasping nothing but air itself.