Flash Fiction

The Cabin

The varnish on my heart isn’t easy to remove. I’ve scrubbed, but it’s insistent. I sometimes think I’ll end up in a monastery, joking with the monks and planting beets. Spending my mornings in the garden, and my afternoons scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing at my heart, gently working my way through the coatings of lacquer. Years will go by, slowly, the world swirling around me, forgetting me, a quiet scrubber, diligent in my task, until every coat is gone. I will emerge then, clean and clear, a brilliant light radiating from my chest, warming the world.

I think my grandfather is dying. He had cancer and it’s back. I would go and see him, but I don’t want to deal with my grandmother. How’s that for varnishy? She starts to tell me stories and I am filled with a gritty boredom. I want to scratch at things, as if I’m a wild cat caught in a trap, trying to claw my way out.

Something in me longs for quiet early mornings. Perhaps I’ll buy a cabin up by a lake, and every morning go and sit by the water, watching the small tide lap at the edge, and the birds will come nearer each day as my body becomes part of the landscape.

In the summer, I will swim nude and become cancerously tan. I will make videos of myself each morning, speaking some small words of faith and magic, and post them on YouTube. Then I will walk by the shore and teach myself to skip rocks on the water without making a splash.

Once a month, I’ll pull out my leather and lace and go into town and dance until morning. I will write about the wild in the city and the wild in the wild and how much the world is missing itself.

Eventually I will slip outside of myself. I will be swimming one day in the lake, my skin numb from the chill water, and suddenly I will be the water, and the fish, and the birds, and I will stop posting on YouTube because I will be gone, dissolved into the wind and the water and the dirt.

And people will complain, and become annoyed at my absence. One will write a long essay on the necessity for consistency in branding. Most will just click click click on to the next guru vid. But a few will miss me, and trek up to the cabin and try to find me. They will walk along the shore and one will hear a whisper, and then they will all hear it. Not words so much, but a feeling that they know, the essence of a cheeky girl who believed as much in God as in the world and finally became both. They won’t know how to explain it but they’ll know that they’ll never find my body so they will go back to the world, carrying just a bit of magic back with them.

But one will stay, for a time. She will talk to the wind, and say that she always thought I would come back someday. She will remind me of the twin rocking chairs in the retirement home that we had joked about, years before, when we were neighbors and in love. And I will whisper that I would, but not having a body makes it not so practical and she would smile to herself.

But, I will whisper, I will be there. In the sun, in the wind, in the sparkling eyes of the babydyke intern who wants to change doctoring, make it more about feeling and spirit and less about machinery. I will be there, and you will feel me. So go, feel the sun on your face, and love the world with your smile. I will be there.

And she will go back to the world, crying to herself, and free in a strange way she cannot name, for she had known from the beginning how it would be, but never had the words to say it.

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