When I was in fourth grade, I was sitting with my cello, waiting for my orchestra concert to begin. The cello was on the floor, but I was seated in my section in a long dress with my knees spread wide, and my elbows on my thighs. My mom - in the audience - gestured to me for five minutes to sit…
you’re a stranger
I think it was raining the day we buried our treasures. I never know when to trust memory, for memory is fickle and selfish and all that we really have. In some versions of that day it’s raining in sheets so thick that we, two kids slouching into adulthood, are soaked to the bone the moment we step into it. In other versions, the rain has yet to come but the summer air is swollen and smelling of dust. Thunder rolls in the distance, the sky is iron. We laugh in every version.
Take a corner and dig, he said when we step into the dark of the old Crowley barnhouse. Finches and foxes flee before our feet. I worked my fingers into the soil in the northeast end, where the stables once stood. The earth is cool and dry and comes up in chunks. I could feel it under my nails without seeing it. The ghosts, scared, nettled on whispered footsteps across the rafter beams above us.
We took turns jumping from the loft into a pile of rotting hay, so certain in that half-moment abyss that we would break our necks but we never did. We laid there, my head against his chest, and maybe there was rain drumming on the roof and maybe there wasn’t, but it felt like there should have been.
Nobody can save us, he said when he thought I was asleep. I didn’t stir. I couldn’t.
I returned to that barnhouse, years later, my childhood already a half-remembered dream. I dug into my corner, uncertain of what it was I’d even left behind. It was my old journal. It snowed on the day of my return, flakes settling in my eyes as they fell through the sunken roof. Dried lilac petals slipped from between the pages. It said the same thing on every date. Page after page of the same failed promise.
Today, Adelaide, you will not be sad. Today, Adelaide, you will not be sad. Today, Adelaide, you w
(Photo: Nichole Renee)
“Sometimes reality is too complex for oral communication. But legend embodies it in a form which enables it to spread all over the world.”
I wonder what you remember from our vodka summers at the cabin. Midnight swims at the creek, howling like wolves from the rock scree on the other side of the mountain, convincing each other to eat wild berries and pray that they were lacking in poison. If I could see you again, I’d tell you to stay away from that cabin when the seasons start turning. Everything is brown and twig and twist of root. Everything smells like we’re moments from snow. We used to take pictures of the nests of baby birds we’d find; now it seems I only ever stumble across balls of angry snakes, roiling across the grass.
quoth // Jared//dyinginback