Sunday, 28 July 2013

Beyond The Fence

I stole this one from part of one of Robyn's letters she sent this week (sorry, Robyn). We'd been talking about meditation and this part just cried out for a short story:

"… after swimming, when I relaxed … and focused on the sounds I could hear beyond the fence. I couldn't see any of the noisy things—the air conditioner, the chain saw, the highway."

I loved that phrase: "the noisy things …"

Anyhoo: 500 Words:

Beyond The Fence

The sky must have been blue, not that she could tell. She lifted her sunglasses and blinked up at it through half-closed lids. From where she lay it was so bright it seemed like all the colour had been burned out of the world. The sky above her had no colour, or at least no colour that she had a name for. Her daddy had once told her that the ancient Greeks possessed no word for blue; their sky was bronze. She felt she knew what they meant. A country that had so much sea and so much sky; so much blue; why bother with a name for something that was everywhere? Homer's sea wasn’t blue; it wasn’t any colour; he called it wine-dark. She liked that.
A slight breeze raised goosebumps where the pool water evaporated from her skin. The slap and gulp of the filter blended with the other sounds.
She couldn't see beyond the fence; the noisy things: the air conditioner, the mowers, the highway. Somewhere off a-ways somebody had a chainsaw going.
She inhaled and closed her eyes, watching the patterns form. Sounds of the highway.
The sun's heat rippled over her body. Breeze tingling.
The highway …
She watched the lights at night. Each set of lights a person or people. All going somewhere. She had no idea where or why or who but the lights had a fascination all their own. They spoke of escape, just as the sounds of the highway called to her now as they mingled in her ears with the sound of her own breathing.
Escape from what? Or probably more pertinently, TO what? Her life was nice enough; most folks would think her well off. Yet the highway called out to her and in the long dark watches of the night something deep inside her howled like a wounded wolf. For what? For the road?
The journey or the destination? She decided it must be for the journey; she had no interest in the destination. Wherever it led she would still be herself. Still carry these thoughts. This place; that place. It didn't matter.
Sounds of the highway.
The chainsaw had stopped. A distant plane roared. Vapour trails, white against white. Pool filter: slap, gulp, slap. Her skin hot now. The fence white against white. The black asphalt on the highway would be shimmering; sticky. Three o'clock. Mid-summer. You could fry and egg on it or so folk said. She drove on it most days. There and back. There and back. Never just 'there'.
Never just 'there'.
One day …
One day she might just take off and not come back. As long as she never settled on a final destination she'd be fine. She'd be free.
White on white.
She closed her eyes again.
Watched the patterns.
She listened to the noisy things: the air conditioner, the mowers, the highway.
The pool filter: slap, gulp, slap.
Somewhere a kid yelling.
One day …
Not today, though.