pink

I tilted my head to the side and studied the grey snow as I hopped up three grey steps. Tiny iced blades of grass, disturbed homes of hibernating insects, were peeking between the footprints ascending them. It was a dull, frosty, February morning; two inches of snow and ice had fallen a week before. I slowly lowered my black toe onto the tip of the grass, feeling it collapse like tires feel pavement. It crashed to the ground like a car. The satisfaction was better than going out of my way in autumn to crunch a dry, crusty leaf.
I took four right steps across the stair, up one, then three to the left. The crunching, crushing sound quickly filled my ears as the wind flapped them. It beat and pecked at my delicate skin, which was just feathered by my chestnut hair.
I followed a pair of ugly black hovercrafts clumping up the snow ahead of me. The bottom of the shoes platooned out, evenly and flat-footed across the snow. I frowned. Those shoes did not produce a loud enough noise. They were unknowingly mining the frozen grass that I want to peck. I wanted to force the crackling frost and ice down into the soil. I wanted to make the grass sing like a thrush. I wanted to hear the sobbing of the rigid blade as it fell.
Annoyingly, snow was melting and pooling in the bottom of my right shoe. It was biting and beating my ankle and toes.
I remembered the August my father and I went camping. His maple eyes smiled as the late afternoon sun winked above the surrounding fir trees. The rough wood of the picnic table scratched the back of my legs as we rose from crazy eights. We were going to fly through the forest on our bikes. He pulled mine from the back of his truck. It was a banana boat, shining silver with red flecks of rust like the sun. The pink tassels tickled my knee-freckles.
“You have my bird-legs,” he smiled.
The disappointing hovercrafts finally reached the top step. They stomped forward though a heavy oak doorframe. My throat began to close. I would not be able to sing. I fluttered through, swallowing hard and looking for a branch to hold. My eyes dove right. I perched on the cold windowsill, focusing on breathing. Focusing on my heart beating.
I peeked out of the bottom windowpane. The indoor light warmed the glass and gave a pink glow to my reflection. The snow outside sparkled like a gem. Crystal yellows winked at the hidden sun, flitting amongst the wind that tried to scratch them.
A scrubby bush rose like a skeletal hand from the snowdrift, just beyond the pane.
I suddenly became aware of murmurs filling my ears with dull songs of “how are you?” “it’s been so long,” and “my you’ve grown!” The stiff, rough pine needle of “I’m sorry” filled the empty letters, nesting in the syllables of sighs.
My left foot poked at the corner of a beige tile, worn down by hundreds of feet. It was printed with a soft, black bird. The beak, near the corner, was cut off with a chip. Its foot was cracked. A scuff ran through its wing. I coughed. I named my bird Wally. I glowered. I looked back out at the bush. I looked down. A crumpled, damp tissue landed on Wally’s tail. A black stiletto heel shuffled past, smearing lint across his feathers. Low whispers moved from tile to tile like the wind.
I followed those stilettos to a carpet that didn’t quite match the colour of the tile. Its woven fabric heaved with every step – lowering, raising, lowering, raising, lowering, lowering, lowering.
I swallowed and flittered down to the front pew, directly in front of the podium. Cedar and Chestnut knotted around me in elegant boxes and turns of the head. My stomach filled with warbled songs.
I remembered kicking up ice with my father, flying and diving and flying and whirling with wind and figure eights, knotting the ice and untying it again. My father had sat on a bench and whispered of the future as I whined. He had held my right foot, winding pink hockey tape around my ankle. Winding pink, so it wouldn’t sprain or break.
I looked up at the ominous, hacked oak tree before me. A stranger poured salt in a cross. I stretched my arms. My elbow cracked. I noticed a blister on my right toe. The notes of Psalm 23 washed and chirped over my ears like rain falling on a swamp. My hair feathered my forehead. I brushed it away like rain falling from my eyes. I glowered and watched the carpet stay depressed by my heel.
*

When I had seen sixteen springs, I fluttered home from church. I sang with the hymns of the day while a May sun warmed the morning dew, and the grass stretched upwards like wings, towards soft diamond flowers forming in the crystalline sky. I lay down in the grass and made angels with smiles. The fresh, cool dew pooled on my fingertips while the fresh, warm sun pooled on my nose. I followed twenty three small birds travelling across contrails in the sky, climbing between the flowers, and I waved goodbye and smiled. I winked at the starry sun and let it tickle my lids. Dew pooled on my cheeks. My knees knocked together and the bees made figure eights around my head.
It would only be a little while.

pink

brookworm

Joined January 2008

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based on truth

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