Friday, March 07, 2008


It wasn't like a deluge, with buckets of rain descending as if poured from above. It happened so fast we didn't even have time to get wet. Wetness only exists in the presence of that barren realm of empty air which is hardly better than a vacuum. But that was gone, replaced. The ocean was simply there that morning when we woke up, all-encompassing, a rich, briny substance for us to move through. Surprisingly, no one drowned. It wasn't so bad breathing the aquatic thickness into our bodies, only a slight irritation of the saltwater as each inhalation reached it's maximum of expanded lungs. But you got used to it quickly. "Ocean? Ok, ocean," everyone thought, then went about their routine as if it were just another day. And actually, it was. The stock markets opened. The buses ran. Everyone could go to work, school and other planned elsewheres, all as if nothing had happened.

Not that I loved my everyday rut - it had gnawed at my being just like everybody else goes through with their personal routines. But how can you escape that lobster's claw of responsibility that in the end demands movements that even a zombie could fulfill, mindlessly, monotonously, like waves moving back and forth? Sure, I wanted out. That thought skirted my mind like a floating balloon that never soars, just hangs there at waist level, lolling back and forth, a kind of a taunt, because you have to keep on walking past it, but never forgetting that it is still there hugging into your personal space, and always will be.

I thought that fleetingly, as always, and then her presence segued into the trailing thought. There she was, right across from me in the sea-filled bus. I glanced over quickly, catching her eye for a moment, noticing the silent acknowledgement, as always, but this time, not interrupting it. This time I did not turn away to glance at the ads or the other people. I held my eyes steady, beaconed tentatively with my hand. Somehow, magically, hers was in mine. With our two free hands, and the steady rhythm of our legs, we took off though a window of the bus, and swam upwards into the sunlight.

Story #422

A long time ago I promised Colored Clouds that I would use one of her photos for a story - but somehow I never got around to doing so. So I paged through her beautiful blog called Creations of Another Nature and found the photo I posted here. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise for her!

22 comments:

Doug said...

This happens every time I loan someone money.

ian in hamburg said...

Through the glass softly
Apart as
An aquarium

Still you sat, watching

Cori said...

You're in the states! Next time be sure to notify the head of your American fan club... :)

weirsdo said...

"Hold your violin up! Straighten that bow!" The shade of Leopold Auer sighed. "None of my Jaschas and Mischas played like that!"
He was a hard teacher, but gradually Stephanie began to play better, and as she did not only her sound, but her image as well became clearer. Soon she was ready to haunt her ex in earnest.
Everywhere he went Paulo saw her mournful face and heard her silken tone--was it his imagination, or did her ghost sound even better than she had in real life?
One thing was certain--never again would he force his girlfriend to play second fiddle!

the amoeba said...

He was on a train. It was an overnight, and he was still drowsy from trying to sleep on the second-class cabin's narrow foldaway. But dawn had added the final shake to his restlessness, and he was staring bleary-eyed out the smeared carriage window at the waystation at which the train had stopped.

He had no clue which station it was. He hardly remembered which train it was, which line he was riding, from where, to where. His life had become a blur of planes, trains and automobiles, constantly carrying him here, there, somewhere else, one job at a time, one crust at a time. Ever since ... no. That life is gone forever.

He heard a small sound over the whistles, creaks and clicks of the train's preparations for rolling on. He looked, and saw the busker, in rags, the finish worn off her fiddle. Another poor soul desperate for a crust. He grabbed his cell phone, pointed the pinhole to the smudged window, pushed the button. Just in time, for the train was seconds away from whisking itself and him out of the station.

He held the image in his mind for awhile. Another poor soul ... Wait! That fiddle - it had a cinnamon discoloration on the soundbox. Could it ... He thought of the seven-year-old girl scraping, scraping, scraping away at that violin. The one that he had taken her to the big city's music store to buy ... He grabbed at the cell phone, madly searched through the photos. Could it be her? Where did that ...?

Nothing. He searched twice, three, four times. He didn't capture her picture after all. He would never know, he thought. Maybe that was just as well.

In his hotel room that night, he downloaded the pictures from his cell phone onto his laptop. They were his travel record, his journal, the last tool he had to keep his life from blurring into a meaningless continuum of motion. He scanned the shots, tossed some, kept others, labeled them with as much as he could remember about where and when ...

And there she was. He had forgotten about her. Thought the picture had never taken. But there she ...

Hastily he deleted it.

A few days later, he got an email. He had met a fellow itinerant some months ago,and they shared thoughts and pictures every once in awhile. He had sent his latest batch of "best shots" to him, and he had returned the favor. But he also sent one of his own back, with the words,

"You wanna tell me what this one was all about?"

It was her ...

In a fury, he deleted it, in his passion trashing ten of his favorite, his most compelling, shots.

The next morning, he got on yet another train, booted up his laptop and ...

He punched the delete button again and again and again. The picture vanished ... reappeared ... vanished ... reappeared ... and then stayed onscreen, flickering just slightly with each of his jabs at the keyboard ...

The locomotive whistle drowned out his screams.

Princess Haiku said...

I thought at first that I was seeing an opaque ghost of my missing sister. She has been missing since the last lunar eclipse. -Since before my memories started to drift into the blue escape zone. The violin music spilled out all over the floor and ran down my cheeks. Tears? Hell, not any more. -Not for these floating impressions of a water lily that refused to bloom. Obscure zone.. what a surreal violin. I can't remember if it was about her or the music. Or what composition she created the day before she disappeared. Do you remember?

Hobbes said...

Have a good vacation. We'll miss you.

Indeterminacy said...

This is great! Keep the stories coming. I have to get writing on mine!

Hobbe: No need to miss me - I think in Ohio we are much closer to Hobbesville, aren't we?

Hobbes said...

Yes, but you won't be in contact via your posts. Anyway, have fun.

cooper said...

This is great. I loved Dougs. Short and to the point. OC that was cool and weirsdo always with the violin...one day I will have time to write one...when everyone else is dead, so there be no competition.

Safe Trip Indie.

Amber Waves of Grain and all that ahead..

Indeterminacy said...

Cooper, I haven't read the other entries yet - afraid to, until I've written my own. After your comment I really can't wait. You know that you opened yourself up to write a story now, because all I have to do is post a picture with the instruction "Cooper only" ;-)

La delirante said...

Hi! Cool pic :) You are going to Ohio on holiday? That's great!

Hobbes said...

Nice one, Ian.

weirsdo said...

And you, Indie. Liked the ending. Hope she took the violin with her.

Indeterminacy said...

Doug: I'm not able to lend money - I never have any to lend.

Ian: That was quite poetic. Will she wait for him?

Mrs. Weirsdo: I don't think any of my ex-girlfriends could play an instrument, not that there are enough of them to make an orchestra.

Amoeba: Your story gives a terrifying edge to the picture. Afterwards I thought there was something terribly persisting about the image.

Princess Haiku: I forget so many things, especially music I want to remember vividly. It never works. Very nice story.

La Delirante: Thanks for stopping by again. Right now I'd rather be going to Malta than Ohio - they are expecting a gigantic snowstorm on the day we're supposed to land!

Mrs W again: My story is not as polished as it could have been - didn't have so much time this week.

One thing: How did everyone see a violin? I never saw that!

the amoeba said...

You'll have to blame Wiersdo for that one, Indie. The object on / hovering over the girl's left shoulder might be a violin bow, might be a bag strap. Wiersdo went for "violin", and I (and others?) followed.

Thanks. And happy shoveling. ;)

weirsdo said...

Is that her shirt that looks so violinesque? See, it's violin colored, with black in the middle, like a fingerboard, and besides the bow, there's something that looks as if it were a scroll pointing toward the window.
Or maybe I just see violins everywhere. . .

Indeterminacy said...

Mrs. Weirsdo, with you suggestion, it does look more like it - what I first saw was one of those girlscout bandanas! (I hope Pansi will not comment on that!!)

Cori said...

Yay- I get to comment twice!

"That thought skirted my mind like a floating balloon that never soars, just hangs there at waist level, lolling back and forth, a kind of a taunt, because you have to keep on walking past it, but never forgetting that it is still there hugging into your personal space, and always will be."

-Wow Indie! That was so rich! I got lost in that sentence- brilliant!

Cheesemeister said...

"The more things change the more they stay the same," thought Yanick. He had gone to college in Norway in hopes of finally living out his quixotic dreams away from the judgmental scrutiny of his tyrannical parents. But in leaving Kansas, Yanick's life had just become a worse nightmare. Instead of going to college as he thought, his parents had instead given him a one way ticket to live with his fearsome Uncle Ulf and Aunt Ester way out on the Fjords in a terrible hut that the chill winds blew through. One night when the moon was full and so bright that he could see all the way across the frozen land, Yanick decided to make good his escape. Even living in an alley in Oslo would be preferable to spending one more night in that hated shack, he thought.
Then something fearsome had transpired. As Yanick made his way across the barren, frozen land, a horrific thing, half man, half wolf, leapt from behind a rocky outcropping and tackled the slight youth. Yanick managed to escape from the awful thing by jabbing his fingers into one of its eyes, but not before it tore into his left arm. He now wondered if he had simply been delirious with the cold and had stumbled. He had seen a doctor about the wound and the doctor had been kind enough to direct him to a place where he could sleep and get a meal for not too great a price. Now Yanick stood at the bus stop in the rain, hoping that his cousin Walter would be able to put him up. He shivered as he tried to shake the memory of the wolf creature attacking him. What made the whole thing all the worse was the fact that he could recall hearing his Uncle Ulf's voice calling after him as he ran from its slashing claws and gnashing teeth:
"You'll be back, Boy. It can't be helped. You're one of us now."

Colored clouds said...

:) thank you.. It's wonderful!

DBA Lehane said...

I'd never seen Gemma looking so beautiful. The reflection had softened her feautures, giving her an air of mystery. I realised how much I loved her still. I turned, but the seat next to me was empty. It had been a year now since she had passed away.