Thursday, April 16, 2009


temerity \tuh-MER-uh-tee\, noun:
Unreasonable or foolhardy contempt of danger; rashness.

Chasing pavement, you called it. Middle of the night, keeping your footfalls in between the yellow lines. Faster and faster; sometimes you closed your eyes. And I'd watch your hair streaking behind you. Listen to the sound of your sandals flapping, sometimes scraping bits of gravel. The lines used to glow under your feet, reflecting the moon that acted as a bulb over our heads.
Those nights were like Valium to me. Leaning against the rails of the bridge, the cool dampness of it slightly wetting my hands and the butt of my jeans, listening to the sound of the river rushing underneath, and you, slicing the air in two with your body and your laughter, throwing your arms into the sky and twirling once you'd reached the end where the bridge finally met with the firm road of the land again.
We'd see their beacons coming up over the hill before the headlights even appeared, and you would break your chase with the night and run to me, grab my hand, pull me off to the side, and almost down to the water. Your body would shake with energy and you'd hop up and down a little and squeeze my hand until the vehicle passed by ~ thuhrumpbump ~ onto the bridge, and then ~ thuhrumpbump ~back off of it. One more squeeze to my hand and you'd go back. Only now the energy would have changed for you and you would lie on your back in between the yellow lines and you'd call to me. And I'd lie down opposite you, our heads touching, and look at the stars.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


consternation \kon-ster-NEY-shuhn\, noun:
sudden dread or paralyzing terror

She hadn't slept in days. Afraid of her dreams. The back of her eyelids. The things she knew crept about when her eyes were closed. Mostly it was the night. She hadn't been afraid of the dark since the days she begged her mom to put a nightlight in the hallway. Hadn't even noticed when she grew out of the need for a small light outside her door. Somewhere along the way it wasn't important anymore. Until suddenly as a grown woman the night held something sinister for her again. Closing her eyes in bed now she immediately began to feel the hot tentacles of anxiety creep along the outlines of her arms and where the sheets grazed her skin. Soon her whole body would be like a pile of stone coals smoldering in the heat of an oven. And she'd shut her eyes tighter until speckles of light would form and collect like galaxies, spinning out into oblivion. Fearing the worst, she'd pop them open again, momentarily blinded by the brightness of the optical illusion that had formed. She'd blink and blink and blink until the darkness was whole again, and she could go back to the fear she was used to, the fear that had a name.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


pinchbeck \PINCH-bek\, adjective:
not genuine; fake

Looking at her face, I could tell right away that she thought I was serious. The funny thing was that I had been joking. Well, excuse me, let me make a correction. It was funny to me, not to her. Honestly, nothing much is ever very funny to her. Maybe that's why she lets me hang around: for the occasional sound of laughter. Even if it is at her expense. She doesn't mind. I swear that girl's head is always looking at the back of itself. Some people call it "daydreaming," but I disagree. If that's all someone does, wouldn't it just be their walking-talking life? No, Lucy isn't dreaming. She's thinking. And hard.

"Come on, now, Lucy. I was only kidding," I say.

But she doesn't answer. She just keeps walking and swinging a short stick that she picked up along the way, swinging it through the grass that reaches up to our knees, slowly back and forth in front of her as if she were chopping her way through a jungle. And so I follow on behind, keeping to her path, being careful not to step on the back of her heels with my long strides. I don't even try to hide my smile or my low chuckle, not when the sky's so shiny and the field's so green and her brown hair's swinging to and fro in her ponytail, smiling right back at me.