Mini Story: Afternoon Sun


"Turn it over! I can't see it!"
She rolled her eyes and tilted the photo back towards me. The glossy sheen on it's surface shifted against the light of the noon sun, flashing and dancing and setting my eyes to fire. I delicately picked it up, fingering the sharp card stock edge.
"Where did you find it?"
"Down there, in the bushes." Her hair whipped behind her, bright red tendrils that shone against the blue sky as the wind's fingers pulled at it, playing with it gently.
I pressed a finger against the face of one of the figures printed upon the filmy paper. A small girl, clutching the index finger of a taller boy. Her eyes were squinted nearly closed as she gazed straight up into the purplish sky. Her frothy, sea foam green dress was crumpled and dirty at the hem. The boy's white shirt was dirt stained and knuckles browned with dust and grime, but his mouth tugged gently up at the corners as he stared straight at the camera. I shrugged and handed it back to her.
"Weird."
She peered at it intently.
"Intriguing" She corrected after a moment. She tucked it gently in her coat pocket, protecting it from the snatching hands of the wind. The pluckings of a guitar drifted down to us, and rowdy voices laughed and sang. Her dry lips mouthed the words of the song. I didn't know it.
The dusty red rock of the cliff was warm to the touch, and I splayed my fingers out, pressing my palm against its surface, trying to absorb some of it's heat into my cold hands. She watched my fingers thoughtfully.
"I wonder who they are." A statement. Not a question.
"Huh?"
"Where they are."
"The people in the photo?"
She nodded. Her dark, earthy green eyes contemplated the view beneath us, waves crashing against a slowly eroding surface, years chipping away and crumbling to dust. Rejoining the ocean, the water, the womb of the Earth.
I shrugged again.
"It doesn't matter I guess. I mean it's not like you're going to be finding them and giving them their photo back."
"That's not why I want to know."
"Why do you want to know?"
She tilted her head at me, her nose scrunching slightly. "Why wouldn't I want to know?"
I peered at her. I didn't have a reply.
"Two more hearts beating, four more hands creating. Two more people alive on this Earth that I now have a connection to, small though it may be. How could I not be curious?"
"But you don't even like people. If you did, we'd be up there with the rest of the kids, singing and messing around, instead of hiding down here and contemplating things that are too deep for a Thursday afternoon."
She laughed. Her orange freckles danced over her nose and a single bright peel of joy tumbled out of her lips, high cheekbones disappearing in a smile.
"I don't dislike people, I just find the majority of them rather boring to engage in mundane conversation. Plus, I find it fascinating, observing them."
"Ok so you don't like being with people."
"I like being with you."
I blinked. I felt some color rise to my cheeks. I tried to swallow it down. She was an introspective mystery and I was an open picture book. Her depths of ambiguity were unattainable to me. I was simplicity. She was chaos. We were too far apart to be close.
But if that was true then why did things seem to be falling so perfectly into place? And why did those five words make my heart jump and my throat disappear?
She was smiling at me. I sat mutely as she pulled a pen out of her pocket and rolled up her sleeve to reveal fair, freckled skin covered in black pen marks and scrawled handwriting. She pressed the felt tip against her wrist and scribbled something.
"You're going to get ink poisoning." My voice had finally returned from it's vacation and presented itself with that warning.
"I can think of worse ways to die."
"You're so morbid."
"I never pretended to be a ray of sunshine."
"You need therapy."
"I know. But our insurance won't cover it."
I shook my head. She capped her pen and lifted her arm for me to see. Words overlapped and cut across each other, phrases scratched out and faded, giving way to new, fresher, blacker markings. I couldn't read her handwriting.
"Why don't you just get a real tattoo?"
"Too permanent. My ideas shift and change too often. I would have to go over it hundreds of times, and I don't have that kind of money or pain tolerance." She rolled her sleeve back down, then handed me the pen.
"You try. Write something."
"Like what?"
"Anything that comes to mind."
"But why?"
"Why not?"
"But...why?"
"To capture, to recognize, to not stuff down illusive or inconsequential feelings or thoughts but to recognize them for what they are in the moment. To live a little more wholly."
"Sheesh." But I tugged up the cotton of my dark blue long-sleeve anyway and poised the pen over my right wrist. I was left-handed. It was supposed to mean I was more likely to be creative or have vivid dreams, but my night-visions were bland, vague blurs of impression that drifted away on the morning sun, and art museums bored me. I sat still.
"Well, go on." She was watching me intently, waiting to see what I would write.
My fingers are cold.
The pen smeared as my hand brushed over it.
I handed her back the pen. She nodded and slipped it back into her pocket.
"Good."
I tapped my thumbs against the rock, then tucked my left hand under my thigh, trying to work some warmth back to the tips of my fingernails. The right I left to the mercy of the elements.
Below us the waves crashed. A plane flew by overhead, its' engines thundering through my body. The rowdy voices were drowned out by its' rumbling voice.
Her lips moved, she was speaking, but I couldn't hear.
"What?"
But it returned void for she could not hear me either.
The plane continued on, taking its' deafening noise with it, but neither of us asked what the other had said.

8 comments :

  1. ASDFGHJKL I love this! You are such a talented writer!
    - Sarah ☽

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    1. Aw thank you <3 <3 It means so much to me to hear that you enjoy my writing!

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  2. YOUR. WRITING. VIVIAN. AHHHH.

    evelyn | epilogue

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    1. THANK YOU AHHH YOU JUST MADE MY DAY <3

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  3. Your writing always blows me away <3 promise you'll become a published author one day?

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. Ahh Ellie thank you so much! I sure sure hope so-- I promise I'll do my very best to get there <3 Thank you again, your comments mean so much

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  4. Dude this is talent. I LOVE IT!! ♥♥♥

    ~Megan<333
    (megans-journals.blogspot.com)

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