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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eight Hundred and Fifty-Four Steps

   “A pocket full of posies,” Sally thinks as she opens her eyes. Sun bright behind the curtains quickens her pulse, and she claws through the sheets to check the time. Only nine. “Hopscotch, hopscotch.” Why is this rhyme in her head? Out, out. She checks her list against the day ahead, though it will be impossible to balance them. One inevitably outweighs the other.
   She dresses for the gym, remembers she must grab the bags for the market. When she stops to drink from a fountain, she sees she has crossed the city. Instead of shopping bags, she has slung a backpack over her shoulder. She’s wearing a cotton shirt, jeans and hiking boots. Across the street from the fountain is the theater, shuttered and brown, where they saw an adaptation of Bodas de sangre destroyed by that horrendous troupe from Seville. Afterwards, they crossed the city together, far into the night, projecting the future.
   Sally continues, taking long, determined strides as if the impulse of her forward motion will conjure the plaza, the bridge where they stood at midnight. She is certain the village is far away. He drove while she drifted into the countryside, felt the splashing runoff wet the poppies, smelled the sheep and the shadowy pine forests. At the end of a curve was a stone bridge, washed gold in a bluesky sunset.
   Amy would be home from school soon. Sally stops and breathes in. A car whooshes by. She stands at the lookout over the city, squints into the sun. The sky meets the sea in a clear sharp line out past the hospital the cathedral the hotel the cruise ship. Amy is somewhere else now. Toulouse? New York? Far away. Happy enough.
   “Hopscotch, hopscotch, we all fall down.” Sally picks a sprig of fennel from the roadside. He taught her what it looks like, how it tastes sharp, fresh. Makes her mouth water. She shifts the backpack onto both shoulders and shakes her arms. Steps on sunshine.
 I stood on the bridge at midnight as the clocks were striking the hour -Longfellow
Quote given for the week gave up 333 words for Light and Shade Challenge


  1. This has a lovely dreamy feel to it, like Sally is being 'called' to something. The description was really vivid and I loved the phrase 'Steps on sunshine'. Lyssa M x

    1. Thank you, Lyssa! It was a dreamy kinda write that just ended up on sunshine : ) Love the Hawthorne poem!

  2. Love the line where she steps on sunshine.

  3. Love the sensory nature of this - the sharp fennel, smell of sheep and pine, the images she sees. Just couldn't quite work out what was happening? Has she lost her lover? Daugter's grown and gone? Probably me just being slow.

    1. Thanks for the love, Sarah! Sorry I lost you, though. I was actually just following her - I think she was headed to the bridge, but she doesn't know why, or even realize it. Yeah, she lost her lover and the daughter's an adult. I'm not sure what stepping on sunshine means, so it's not just you : )


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