Her bungalow had a faded green exterior dotted with lime-colored shapes. Each form vaguely suggested an object that had been pressed against the facade for a period of time creating unintended stencils.
Upon entering through the front door, there was a single path carefully carved out between piles of decaying boxes, heaps of musty bags and mountains of dusty paperbacks. Furniture was stacked to the ceiling – a bureau on top of a dresser on top of an armoire whose drawers one could never reach so high. Each step along this overgrown trail of objects, however seemingly meaningless, reflected a moment in her lifetime.
It was a short and nonsensical passageway that began at the front door, led across the small living room, past a hallway, through the kitchen and out the back door where a Persimmon tree, once full of waxy orange fruits, and since devoured by screeching ravens, stood bare.
Months later, her house is now an empty shell whose contents have been scattered to unfamiliar people and places. I imagine the outlines of her bookshelves, framed pictures and furniture as ghostly drawings on her once pristine walls.
Her body is a balloon floating across a warm pink sky. She is peaceful and content observing the world from this distance but knows this cannot last forever.
Soon enough she is on the ground climbing an enormous wall made of a squishy mauve colored foam. The material is spongy enough for her fingers to penetrate, dig into.
Repeatedly, she hoists her body up, grabs a handful of the squishy substance and pulls herself higher. Partially attached to the flexible surface, her body sways with the curve of the porous plane. It is not frightening at all. She has come to understand in her body that this is how the material and gravity work together.
She’s been ascending for months now, perhaps longer and does not dare look down out of fear that she has made little to no progress. However, with a certain ease, she continues scaling the endless dirty rose form.
She climbs until she can drift again.
The ornaments were the only thing she rescued from the detritus. Propped high above the flotsam and jetsam, they spoke to her – whispering that they needed to be saved.
Once sparkling sapphire blue, each bauble now individually scarred, marked by the cardboard packaging in which they have been propped for countless seasons. The round surfaces are faded unevenly like memories of past holidays – joy melting into melancholy.
She had a momentary urge to crush these brittle forms, to feel and hear them shatter, to behold the interior of each sphere and let them go.
But the violent feeling subsided and now they are hers, protected in musty cardboard for time.
Without a body, she floats into a different time zone to a foreign place.
A time traveler gazing down on red tile roofs, waterways and green fields. She glances over a vast tapestry of sparkling city lights as they dance in the blackness and form outlines of structures and the linear paths of the motorways.
It is impossible to know or understand these places that she observes from an aerial perspective and this distance is calming.
She covers ground.
She loses sleep.
She gains speed.
She loses time.
She wonders if it’s Monday here.
To fly is a magical thing.
Calmly, she moves down the narrow path and stands before the metal gate.
Her fingers lift the cold steel latch, while her hand easily pushes the door open.
She does not reflect upon how odd it is that this gate is unlocked, as her foot makes the first unsteady step past the threshold. She is on the verge of a slow escape.
Barely free, a rush of city sound hits her face and body. Color and light feel foreign to her captured soul. Alarmed by the cacophony, she stumbles and collapses to the gray stained sidewalk.
She glares up at the sun as if she’s noticing it for the first time. It beats down on her curled up form.
Moments pass before she finds strength to ground herself on hands and knees. She crawls away from the gate, like an injured animal.
Carefully following the stone wall, she inches her way down the city block.
She sits alone in the garden.
Holding a scrap of pink lace, she listens to the birdsong ringing in the trees.
Her grey eyes dart between a single bird and the woven fabric punctuated with patterned holes that she clutches in her damp hands.
The tiny bird turns its yellow chest toward the woman and serenades her.
She cannot remember why she is in the garden. Her memory is perforated like the fabric she holds onto.
The warbler chirps her story, a melodic recounting of who she was and is now.
The sun warms her hands and her face which is fixed, attentive, on the bird who sings her tale.
The solo ends.
The small bird takes flight.
She walks down a hallway of infinite mirrors where repetitions of her curvy body bounce off of liquid surfaces in every direction. An endless, over-the-top, Versailles-like funhouse of glittering gold – metallic pools reflect every plane.
Up is down and down is unfolding into what’s ahead.
The light is so blinding, she can only keep her bright yellow eyes halfway open.
She is inside a hallucination.
Arms and legs generate new patterns of flesh colored shards and florets. Through the long thin passageway, she spins circular rhythmic forms into unpredictable new dimensions.
Her body breaks the cylindrical barrier; shatters the mirrored corridor.
She squints at the future.
She is the kaleidoscope.
Pen in hand, she begins to write a letter, but hesitates. She cannot recall to whom it should be addressed.
Her fingers search across the numbers on the phone but are unable to form the sequence.
She meanders through the city in grand looping paths because she has no clear destination.
A tiny light-filled stone is rolled between her warm fingers transforming it into a glowing opal. She doesn’t know why.
With gasp of air, time moves backwards.
My fists are pushed stiffly into my pockets. I release my own hand. There is a fiery opal on my finger, a gift from my father.
I walk to the museum to visit a friend, a painting, which has hung on the same wall for decades.
My fingers softly tap out a series of digits to hear a familiar voice on the line. Is it you?
I type out these words. Hit send.
Wearing a dress of cobalt blue, she stands in a yellow and black tiled bathroom.
Her feet barely touch the ground and her eyes are closed. She is dreaming of a pineapple.
She easily plucks a dusty green leaf out of the top, determining ripeness. Taking a large flat knife from the wooden block, she chops off the top of the fruit releasing the aroma and the sticky sweet liquid. Her delicate hand struggles to slice the pineapple in half. Carefully, she shears off each rough brown textured side.
The juice has a silky quality. Suddenly, the blade slips gashing her fingers, spilling blood over the yellow flesh.
She continues severing the hard and fibrous core from the meat of the pineapple.
The yellow fruit is sliced into thin delicate slivers, spotted with red and arranged on a light blue platter.
She floats up and out through the window of the yellow and black tiled bathroom.
This woman walks through a forgotten garden where leaves crunch and small twigs snap under her feet. She is unaware of these sounds. A thorn on a dry rose bush catches her skirt, an attempt to stop or warn her. The small buds have turned into themselves and shriveled into dark blood red.
Everything is a lifeless version of itself in the parched garden where she moves with purpose.
As she walks, her left hand holds a small object which she releases to her right hand. Back and forth she repeats this gesture, handing the thing off, as if it’s hot to the touch.
Her palm opens to reveal a matchbook. She observes it with surprise while tearing off a single match.
Striking it, there is no spark and it falls to the ground. She continues walking and striking matches. Unlit, they fall from her fingers.
Moving along a dry brown path, she strikes again. There is a burst of bright fire which settles as a tiny flame. It too, falls to the dusty earth and erupts. She keeps moving, dropping small fires that ignite the desiccated rose bushes behind her.
A trail of smoke and flame mark her trajectory through the dead garden.