Jan. 30th, 2016

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I returned past the building with the bleak facade, but the posters were no longer there. I never saw that face again. It was hard to believe she'd been up all over the city. But the city is like that. Like a forest, but worse, as no season repeats. You do find a leaf now and then that's long outlived its context: machine gun shells, a dusty bag of child's balloons in dust, a leather case from cell phones' adolescence, a battered T-shape shaved from corrugation, fuzzy dice now lopsided and pipless, a mint tin full of wrappers with Bob Marley's face on each. But not her. You'd think that the people would know. Every one must have met her eyes somewhere, some subway or corner. Dark brown. Unreflective. Blaming, but feeling like fourth in a series of seven admonitions that this was at last the last straw. A point at which she no longer believed it herself but soon would again since how dare you. It was a startling expression to capture and copy. Caught exiting a blink or rushing corners many strolling must have thought it meant for them, for some part of a second, before consigning that notion to their basements of hypotheses disproved before fully spelled out. Not meant for them. She hadn't found them out with a glance. It had instead been me.

How strange what we usually are seems at those times. We live, so why do we not push that life into air where we know it can thrive? With so much needing done, and incessantly, and in order, and inspired, who would tuck her head beneath a wing and just hum, just breathe. Well, her, her morning self would tell herself, when the dream colors faded.

I heard them hearing me in the attic. I walked out the door and down the hillside till I could make out their crouching silhouettes through the blind. When they figured out where I must have gone those shadows rose, convulsed and then resettled. They looked just the same but they'd now turned around. Their unseeing, unseen eyes were like knives thrown at knives mine were throwing. I thought over three different ways I could jump to that roof.

She was trying to talk to me. Or to who she thought I was. I dug apart the sand words with my boot. And then noticed the matchstick.

Where the two covered walkways met there was a gap, but not one that would get you - the plexiglass awning hung over the shingled peak. This storm was an exception, though. The wind shifted right as he chased me down the flags to angle a disc of carwash across both our necks. Our shirts were both soaked mostly through in front when we collapsed, panting, among the bushes in the lobby. It was a warm and strangely dirty sort of wet, befitting its tropical mother. I think it made us pant harder for not knowing how much was our sweat. The heavy clinging cloth felt like frustration. I'm sure that's why a gun was in his hand when he got up.

Her sister's head hadn't looked right after that. It was a subtle list, the slightest wobbling lean out from the flagpole of her neck, but put a spin on everything she did. When she was happy it suggested sarcasm. Not so happy, shame.

It took a while for lying against the skylight to become a less heart-pounding matter. My pulse may even have normalized after that first afterless-feeling hour. The cold glass was rather comfortable against my cheek, but though I closed my eyes and dallied with the thought of napping it only heightened my sense of being a body suspended too far above the place for any body. Each inch of air between me and however much marble that was seemed to be a distinct and personal enemy, one with a name. My sweat smelled like iodine. There was enough that my face slipped, at one point, my hand at another. My imagination came up with the zigzagging squeeging sound I might make if I coasted unevenly down on a pancake of sweat to the edge of the building.

His pants were off so it would seem strange to resist the suggestion. That innocent mistake - well, so to speak - began the fourteen-month affair that would get me killed.

This second chance to eat locusts was quite disappointing. They were sticky, almost gummy after boiling in sugar and oil. Distinctness was lost. You didn't think of them as one with their purpose, as bejeweled machines with fine parts peeled from grass blades, from birchbark and cobweb-stuff, wound up and pointed to leap and affix. These lumps were like regrets to those stick-roasted ones' predictions.

It's only parkour when it's day-time. Here, now, at night, it's a test to see does gravity bother to kill you if no one is watching.


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