Lily of the Valley

A paper town in a glass bottle. That’s where I grew up. Teetering on the brink of a checkerboard. Black and white, puppets and paper dolls with strings leading nowhere. The puppeteers are dead. Six feet under, they rot away as their world order lives on, mummified in glass.

But then I left that place. That little place with little people and little minds. The curtains opened and the universe, illusive for so long, reared its head. I found life, evolved. Life, accepted.

But then I met you. And my heart let loose Chaos. It snatched the breath from my lungs. But you’re a petty pilfer, as you’ll see that my heart doesn’t mean much. All I have to give you is this intensity. But intensity is nothing on its own. Intense misery, intense passion, intense desperation. I can give you none of this — you left me quaking in the wake of a splitting earth. Did you not expect a tsunami to follow? Confusion! It drowns all else.

I know little, but I know this: your lips are far too dark. Your skin too soft. Your indents jagged-less. You’re not supposed to look like this. You’re not supposed to be like this.

I’m not supposed to be like this.

Every time air idles in your lungs, it stutters in mine. I can’t breathe when you breathe. But two ships, passing in the night, aren’t we destined to be carried off on different currents? I suffocate at thought of you and thought without you. Then I suffocate at the thought of me.

You are my crisis.

But won’t you let me fetch a thousand stars from the night sky just to build a meadow for us as bright as my skin in your eyes? Laugh at the cliché. I’ll laugh with you. It isn’t any less true.

I’ve fallen past ignorance. Your eyes don’t play games. I can’t be sure if it is them or this place that is the exorcist. But that seething snake — oblivion, resistance, terror, call it what you like — is purged. Rest assured it will find its way back to a paper town in a glass bottle and stake claim at a crossroad.

Bitter-sweet. Your eyes are still cold. Did you model for Pound? You can be the lily of the valley. I once wrote seventeen pages on those two lines and I will again, if you’ll let me. This time they might mean something.

There is a silver platter at your door. It beats and beats. And if you never answer, if the dew never wisps away, the sun never rises, the morning never comes, at least I am left with more than before.

The End

I entered this little drabble into one of my university’s creative writing magazine’s flash fiction contests, my freshman year. I didn’t end up receiving a reply from the publication, which could be either because this isn’t flash fiction, or because I submitted it twenty minutes before midnight on the deadline, but it’s a short, sweet snapshot into where I began, as a writer and as a young adult, at the beginning of my college career. So, I can’t help but want to share it!

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