She lay on her back with the prickly spines of grass poking through the thin summer t-shirt. Looking up at the edge of the 20-story apartment building against the moving clouds gave her the sensation of the earth moving. It seemed to her that if she could see the earth moving on its axis then she must be special or powerful in some way.
The shade of the building was giving way to the noonday sun, but for those moments time was connected only to the movement of the earth and not to how the day might unfold. She felt ageless, and imagined that this is how she would always feel from now on even as she defied the itch on the tip of her nose. Her breath slowed. Her fingers found a clover blossom, and she plucked it up and stuck it in her mouth to savor. The smell of it was a beginning of summer kind of smell. Her toes grabbed the cool grass even as her knees were the first part of her body to experience the heat of the sun.
Watching the sun creep up her thighs, to the hem of her shorts took a while. She found the progress almost irritating, and she felt the urge of time creeping with it. The awareness of light progressing over her body filled her with the demand to get up, but she resisted for a while longer. Then she saw it. She saw the sun’s rays as if pouring or even leaping from the rooftop’s edge so far away, and wondered if anyone ever noticed these things anymore.
The high-pitched whistle startled her even though she knew it was coming. Because she had closed her eyes to let the sunlight bathe her fair face with an onslaught of freckles. She covered her eyes and looked up to the tenth floor balcony where her grandfather was waving. He put his fingers up to his lips again, and whistled, and shouted, “Lunch!”
Miranda rolled over onto her stomach feeling the coolness still lingering in the lawn. Her eyes looked into the dark shadows still lurking there to the black earth for a moment before she pushed herself up onto her knees. Reaching over she grabbed her tennis racket and the over-sized ring with keys on it that belonged to her grandmother. Using the tennis racket to push up to standing, she swung the ring over her wrist and waved up to her grandfather, who quickly disappeared. She leaned over and picked up the tennis ball, and crammed it into the pocket of her shorts.
The smell of air-conditioning and old people was familiar and comforting as Miranda crossed the lobby. She stood in front of the bank of two elevators for a moment before deciding to take the stairs.
The stairway was even cooler. The unfinished concrete walls were like ice, and she leaned against them cooling her legs and arms before ascending the stairs. She leaned over the railing and looked up at the endless rails climbing into darkness, each floor a zig-zag of upside down flights of 11 stairs as far as she could see. It was quiet in the stairway, too. The only thing she could hear was when the elevator passed by her near the fourth floor. She stretched over the stairs two at a time, and stopped to catch her breath on the eighth floor, returning to her climb three steps at a time and straining her long legs.
The hallway leading past the elevators to her grandparents’ door had the smells of matzo ball soup and some cinnamon-flavored sweet. The wall paper mural of Venetian boats at sunset, and dark olive carpeting didn’t really go together and so she closed her eyes against them. There were torn seams in wall paper along the way that Miranda felt with her finger tips until she felt the edge of the door frame and opened her eyes a bit more. She removed the key ring from her wrist, put down the racket and opened the door with both hands.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I’d like to think there was a purpose to all of it, the bad marriage, the abuse. I’d like to think that my experience led to some great epiphany that led to me changing the world. These are fantasies I have and hold onto, but as time passes I realize that it was simply something I went through until I couldn’t go through it anymore – like anything really. Eventually my endurance for the experience ran out. So why talk about it anymore? Well, I don’t want to now, and I’m forgetting more of it all the time. It feels like I’m holding onto the shreds of my previous existence so that I can imbue it with some meaning, but maybe there is no meaning, or maybe I still don't get it.
Posted by Amanda Morris Johnson (aka Amanda Morris Conti) at 12:23 PM