Discover more from Inane Consumption
4 friday short stories
or other bits of writing i'm mulling over
a bit on geological time
I wondered if it was possible to track love in geological time. A cliff carved from the winds of your romance. A river nurtured in the basin of your heart. Storms of violent fury and falling rocks, budding flowers, and giant cacti nourished on resentment and spite. The history of our love stacked up like red clay beyond the horizon.
Then there were the things we couldn’t say. Not because we lacked the will but because we lacked the words. Unable to select the perfect phrase for each feeling or understand the proper infliction of the appropriate vowel against the opposing consonant. Together we would twist our tongues and try regardless, babbling by the river an ever-evolving collection of noises and sounds, sentiments and soliloquies.
But there are so many ways to say, I love you. Like waking in the night, nauseous and stumbling to the bathroom mirror: light-headed, full of fear.
Once, you told me about a prophetic dream you had. You could never wake up fully. You kept stirring from dream to dream to dream. An endless repetition of startled and confused. In it, you remember a woman watching you, that person whispering over and over “It’s okay, it’s okay. It’s time to get up, time to get up.” and how familiar that voice was to you. How maternal. But once awake that feeling faded quickly and you heard your mother crying downstairs. How you crept down the stairs and asked her what was wrong and she, exhausted from her grief, told you her mother had died.
At that moment you understood only that you could not place the feeling, but eventually would understand completely. Your mother had entered her final stage of life. Her longest stage of grief. Survived only by the faded ghosts of her parents’ love: haunting in their silence.
Please hurry leave me.
Here each thing is a mix of new and old. A beach carved from years of water to rock. A cafe built at the top of a cliff: a great view for tourists.
He lays on the sand, eyes closed, lips tight as he concentrates on his breathing while I look for shells to throw into the sea.
There is a trick to it. He taught me it once on a south Texas beach where he spent his childhood summers. First: find one that is almost flat—any curves could cause traction and disturb the journey. Next, find the right timing. Throw between the waves, matching the crescendo of the white-capped tide to the flat ocean. Finally: bend and throw parallel to the ocean. Imagine yourself as flat as can be, spread thin across a vast and impossible distance.
I count the months off in my head. How long have we been here stuck in the shadow of disease? Hoping for the impossible? Attempting to divine tiny miracles from gumption?
Months or years? It isn’t clear. The gestation of this disease is unknown. Some think it’s genetic. Other environmental, caused by the ever-increasing temperature of our inhospitable land. Still, he says it’s caused by something else: transmitted by a lack of faith, a will or resolve dissolved briefly enough to let it in. A seed of sin finally germinated.