I was walking down the street in a forsaken part of town when I saw her. She was some distance away, maybe a quarter of a block. She was pressed up against a chain link fence with her friends, maybe seven to ten of them, both male and female. They were all lined up along the fence, watching people, anything that moved, looking at each other, brooding in their silent solidarity. She was the prettiest, most refined among them.
As I got closer, her friends all took off, scattered away from me, and I wondered if my reputation preceded me for raping, robbing, exiling, and killing off any living thing that I took exception to or that I desired to dominate out of arrogance or hatred. But she stayed. And I wanted her to, badly. Not to hurt her, but to serve as a sign, to be proof that another living thing could sense that I had changed. I wanted her to know, wanted myself to know that I was no longer like the others of the family of billions I was born into.
As I got closer to her, I thought thoughts of peace, of benignity. I purposed to exude neutrality and harmlessness, love even. She eyed me warily, never broke her searing stare. I allowed the heat of it to burn the badness inside me. I gave her the gift of gladly taking her thousands of years of fearfulness. No sounds needed to come from her or me, no touch, no intimate knowing. I only wanted to be able to walk by her without her moving from that fence.
I was almost level with her, just six feet away or so. My heart was full of hope. But she couldn’t take it any longer. At the last minute she flew away from me and joined the others perched and preening their feathers three stories up on the fire escape rail of a dilapidated tenement building.
Tenement building photo snagged from http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/tcn/Research_Reports/60.htm.
The above was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#125 – How I met my [fill in blank].” Click here for more on prompt #125 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.
Love it! You sucked me right in. I was picturing West Side Story! Very cool!
when we’ve changed we look for proof in others’ responses to us. in our hopes to show we’re different we experience our new being by trying out the newly acquired abilities (thoughts of peace and exuding love). you’re able let her hate touch your badness without repercussion. compassion moves you to take on her fear. so much you can now do.. you’ve gone beyond what has been expected of you because of past behavior and the limits of your family history. yet, after hoping for only the slightlest recognition (just stand and don’t run), she plays out the old ideas of you and change is not seen.
Devotees of Comet Alister line up to touch the hem…
Love these: “anything that moved,” “purposed to exude,” “I allowed the heat of it to burn the badness inside me” (exquisite, that one), “I gave her the gift of gladly taking her thousands of years of fearfulness.”
Gotta love them vampires. Hope you’ve finally figured out that your “day” job is scribbling and not whatever else it is you do down in that groundhog burrow.
Missed you. Hello.
This is wonderful! As I read it, I was thinking science fiction when I read “born into a family of billions” and later “her thousands of years of fearfulness.” But the photo grounds it firmly in present reality.
Linda: welcome! I’m glad you stopped by :-)
Present: welcome as well! Interesting take on my scribbling. Thanks for being here :-)
Paschal: and the music swelled, almost as fully as her flattered head, as they rushed into each others arms ;-) I missed you, too, my dear.
Granny: thank you! It’s so good to be wound up in this Saturday flourish of Sunday Scribblings :-)
I allowed the heat of it to burn the badness inside me Isn’t that what we all need, someone who will say, “I know you, and you’re not the kind of person who would …” This is a wonderful post, glad to have discovered you!
Anno: thank you for following my bread crumbs ;-) I’m honored by your visit.
Wow, this is brilliant! I wish I could write fiction pieces like this!! I’m more of a poet though. This story lured me right in with an unexpected twist!! :) Thanks for sharing!!
Also, thank you so much for visiting my poetry website on Livejournal!!
Lotus: And I wouldn’t mind really getting your art form. I can recognize good poetry, and I can see there’s a component that allows the upper echelon creation of it… I feel like the answer could be found in Rilke’s work. I’ve skimmed his “Letters to a Young Poet” but I think I’ve been too afraid to meet that thing head on ;-) Thanks so much for coming by!
That was such a very cool read. Oh, I was sucked in, all right, just like the billions before me. (Okay, just like the previous commenters.) Wonderfully done.
Wow, this is good. It reminded me of the times I walk down the street filled with the darkest of emotions and trembling because I am convinced that every person I pass can surely see how terrible I am for feeling so badly. Yet there is a hope that someone will see it- even if only to save me from myself.
Perhaps I should write her that letter huh :) thanks
I had a feeling it would be about an animal. I’ve been getting so many animals stories in the last few days. Maybe it’s all the emphasis in Virgo in the sky, it’s the sign that rules small animals.
I met a sweet Labrador last night and I dreamt of cats, saw my cats and even saw three small goats that were born near me (yes, in the middle of the city). What’s the name for a baby goat?
Wow! I really had no idea where you were taking me – well done!
Patois: a big welcome to you. So glad you came by. And that you liked this piece! :-)
Hi Tanya: ooh, I like that! The hope no doubt is what keeps you safe in that darkness… And yes! Please write to her. Everyone who read your post is supporting you :-)
Well hello Ms. Mood! So glad to have your company here again. Even if it is to ask me about goats ;-) I believe a baby goat is a kid. Somebody tell me what I’ve won!
Mr. Pare: how good to see you. I’d apologize for not telling you where I was taking you, but I know you love it :-)
I’m sorry! I confess. When I saw you walk toward us that day I did not understand. I could have trusted you, and I tried, but I did not dare! Humans I have learned to trust before, maybe even love, but when I saw you I thought NO! A CAT! NEVER!
Bass: LOL!!! You are a brilliant one, you are! I got sucked up in your little flash of fiction and therefore loved the heck out of it!
brilliant, as always.
i wonder why it is that we always tend to seek some sort of recognition / respect / acceptance from entities outside of us, even if there is that voice deep within that is screaming dissent…from my own perspective from this part of the world, i think one reason could be education – of being taught to constantly seek a nod of spproval from the teacher in the classroom. totally off tangent i guess, but well, your posts have that tendency of spurning thought.
hope the ride was good.
Glad to see you, Bum! I agree regarding the “programming” of mainstream education. And to that I’ll add a layer of Americanization in suggesting maybe the scream is a whisper that we can’t hear because the music’s too loud as we’re rushing between the events we’ve packed our lives with because we don’t dare stop or we might die…
The ride is still going on, is still bumpy, and the incessant coconut-clopping is beginning to test my sanity… That’s why I’m revisiting the blog scene. Paschal will be somewhat encouraged to know that I recognize I need this to live at least as much as I need money…so thanks for being a part of saving my sanity ;-)
Money is the piss on the puzzle, ain’t it? But those coconuts do wear out. Call me decidedly encouraged, and happily awaiting…
Koan: What is the sound of one nut clopping?
Here’s hoping those groundhogs you work with know that it’s Labor Day and that their star groundling has more important things to do than anything they might come up with. Like firing up the barbecue grill of her imagination; she owes her readership some baby back rib-scribblings (tofu ribs, in this reader’s case) over at the Our Lady of Prompt Succor cook-off. I know it’s “Sunday” Scribbling, but most of us aren’t much on long marinades. Peace, amiga.
Paschal: I come before you with one nut…there…that is the sound.
And in relation to SS #126, unfortunately it’s also the sound of my fingers on the keyboard :-( I hope to be making noise soon, though…but I sure am glad you missed me :-D
Back to school for you tomorrow? With this summer’s novel manuscript tucked under your arm to drop off on your way home? ;-)
Good to hear that there are still enlightened segments of American humanity that start their urchins back to school AFTER Labor Day, but not, my dear, down here in the Lone Star. The Instituto construction site has been at it for two weeks already, complete with being trounced in our football season opener last Friday night. No novel manuscript this summer: I chose, instead, to have a virtually goal-free respite, save for a daily yoga program. Standing on my head has done wonders: highly recommended.