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Statues & Smoke

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It was the most blissful and saddest moment I have ever experienced; because I knew that nothing else could ever compare to it. I wanted to bottle it, and keep it in a jar next to my bed. You know, the way people do with baby teeth, or tonsils.

Unspeaking and unmoving, except for the periodic contraction of his hand tightening over mine. It could have been hours that we lay there motionless, like statues. I would have thought it was days instead of just a few hours if the blackened sky through the windshield were questionable. The night was the only time we had. We hid under its cover and forgot our names. We didn’t have to be anything, we could just be.

I thought again about statues and how I envied them. They could stay forever just one way. The way they were. “The way we are.”

Swirls of grey-blue smoke danced over our heads to Damien Rice’s acoustics. Gaseous waves ebbed and flowed over the dashboard until they broke and crashed silently on the glass.

The smoke. It could be completely free. It could dance above the heads of statues, or it could ebb and flow like water. Water that can have you floating on top of the world one second, and sinking to the bottom, drowning, the next.

As I lay in the reclined passenger seat, I wondered which I would have preferred. The statue, timeless and imperishable. The smoke, free and evanescing.

Time resumed when I heard a sound in the darkness to my left. I think it was my name. I pretended not to hear. I wanted the stillness back, but the ripples on the pond had begun. I heard the sound again, this time I knew it was my name, and that I had to answer. I turned to look into the driver’s seat, as I looked, he turned away. Some time passed, though it was not the same unmeasured time as before, in fact, I became hyperaware of every second.

“I wish we had more time” in an almost whisper, he spoke to the ceiling. “I just want to be with you. Just be.” Now it was real. The memory I had been fighting began flooding back mercilessly. We couldn’t “just be.” We were human after all, not statues, and humans live under circumstance. Circumstances that, until now, we had been able to evade. Now, time was up and we had to go back to being human. When the last of the smoke seeped out my window, the key turned in the ignition and the engine roared to life. “We have to go.” I nodded.

City lights blurred, wind whipped. I had to keep my window down to force air into my protesting lungs. “It will be okay, it won’t be forever.” What if I didn’t want it to be okay? I wanted it to be this, whatever this was it was what I wanted. But what I wanted couldn’t stop the car; it couldn’t stop us from driving East towards the rising sun. Towards the beginning of the end.

There was smoke in the car again, dancing freely. As the statues crumbled, the smoke spun silently. The car silently, spun to face the other direction. We drove on, chasing the night.

You know when you don't even know why you like something or feel a certain way about something until someone else points it out to you? Someone pointed out to me a while ago when I showed them the above text that it reminded them of my favourite book, White Oleander by Janet Fitch. And only then I realized my affinity to it. How did I not even make that connection to my ownnnn favorite book? I have no idea.
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