The Stone Heart

The first rays of the morning sun touched my forehead and I imagined a sigh of relief and pleasure. This was my favourite time of the day, when my cold body first felt the warmth of the day. Gradually the feeling started to return to my extremities and I noticed (like I had for a week now) that a cat was sleeping on my back. Where it had come from and why it had chosen here to sleep I didn’t know. The cat must have sensed my awakening body as it also stretched, then climbed down and walked away.

Within an hour I could move enough to climb down myself. Today would be an odd day, I had been invited to a gallery opening and I laughed to myself again at the absurdity of it.

Jeen was her name.

The first person I had spoken to for over a year. I had been standing in the sun near a cart, staring at a shiny metal machine that produced coffee from its hissing bowels when Jeen had approached me, all slicked black hair, long black coat and a perfume that made me dizzy.

‘Interesting’? She had an accent which I guessed to be lower London somewhere.

‘Y…yes it is’. I was a little surprised to be spoken to, my throat was dusty and unused and my response came out gravely.

‘I’m Jeen’.

We spoke for a while, she had amazing luminous green eyes which I couldn’t help but stare at, transfixed. She turned to leave then hesitated, and invited me to the gallery opening.

Now I wandered the streets, looking at the oddities, enjoying the sun, but all the while I was building with excitement at seeing her again.

At the opening I didn’t feel at all at home. Strange people with cultured opinions and observations, all the while not knowing if her invitation stood. Then relieved when I saw her across the room and she smiled and waved.

We talked again that evening, she showing me works of art and explaining their meaning, I mainly listening, all the while transfixed by her green eyes and fine features.

Then it was time for me to go. We stood in the street, paper cups of coffee in our hands and fog coming out our mouths.

There’s something familiar about you I had said. She felt comfortable with me she had said. I blushed as she reached up to kiss my lips. The sun had again hit my forehead.

I walked home with a feeling I had not felt for 100 years, the touch of another human. As I climbed onto the statue of the human pyramid, nine brothers frozen in rock I had none of the usual despair I usually felt at the night ahead, and as my body slowly turned back to stone, the tenth and topmost brother of the pyramid, I saw the cat approach, sleek and black.

As it drew nearer I noticed for the first time how familiar its luminous green eyes were.

The Stone Heart

Michael Douglass

Alexandria, Australia

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