Sunday, October 16, 2005

bright gray

"I can't. It hurts too much." The sky was too bright that day, too piercingly cloudy and gray. But the way the leaves moved without sound drew their eyes outward. She said no to it, turned away, made herself blind and deaf to that dreary rustling. Instead she focused hard on a dead fly laid out on its back on the windowsill. It didn't move. The boy kept looking, though, somehow masochistically curious if his retinas really would be scorched like everyone said they would. And in the window across the way he saw a dark room inhabited only by the glaring, shadowy spines of hundreds of books. He looked away, fearing he was seeing something too intimate for his eyes, even with their burned retinas.

And a spine is indeed one of those body parts that feels intimate despite its exposure. It is sensitive to the touch, the vertebrae go click click click, jutting out in waves from underneath a thin layer of flesh, little rollercoasters for the fingertips. It is vulnerable and central, holding the power and pulling together all of those colorful wires that let the entire body feel. Touching it is feeling the core of a person. And it surrenders itself to you, shivering and vulnerable. The spine of a book holds everything together in the same way, tying together the words in a way that makes sense.

She started coloring a stain on the table with her pencil, enraptured bythe metallic sheen of her furious lines. He turned to kiss her, and did not look or see. Without understanding why, all she wanted was for him to see that little graphite vortex, to press his fingerprints to her spine and smile and look with fresh eyes. But until then, a kiss would still mean nothing but lips pressed, like the pages of a closed book.


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4:16 PM  

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