Everybody around me seems to constantly be going, going, going. Looking at their phones. Talking non-stop with no pauses or thoughtful reflection. Working on and off the clock. Even sitting at the table or on the couch in the evening, television turned on the big screen and the little hand-held devices powered up…
“I’m writing,” she says in a clipped tone, her fingers barely pausing in their rapid dance across worn-down grey keys. Of course she is. She always is. If she’s not writing, she’s painting, if she’s not painting, she’s sketching, sketching becomes graphic design, graphic design becomes writing… I begin to wonder where I fit into her world.
“….And…?” my wrist rolls around and around, hoping to conjure more depth. She doesn’t pause.
“You mentioned something last night, got me….” tappedy-tappedy-tap “..got me thinking. Not important…” her voice trails off and I know she’s far too deep inside her own head to hear another word.
Still I try again. “I got some great shots of the high tide this afternoon…. the kelp was churning in the waves… maybe,” I soldier on to the drumbeat of rapid key clicks, raise my voice a little, “maybe you’ll come with me tomorrow? I could photograph you with the sun in your hair…”
“mmmhhmm,” she hums, not fully committed.
She’s beautiful. She doesn’t believe me when I tell her that either. It’s only the art, the creating, that matters. It’s all in the beholder’s eyes. Except when it comes to her and me.
“I love you,” I say quietly. The desk lamp makes her hair glow, not as gloriously as in the setting sun, but still…. a strand has loosened itself from her bun and rests on her shoulder, soft as a feather. The moment lengthens as I gaze at her, brow slightly furrowed, chewing her lip, fingers flying, her foot tapping to some internal metronome. I wonder what I said last night. I wonder what she thinks about it. I wonder what she’s writing. I recall the kelp thrown against the rocks, lifeless now in winter, broken to pieces, helpless and at the mercy of the cold relentless waves. The moment had stretched on and on, just like this one.
I turn and walk out of the room, picking up my camera as I pass it. The waves are beckoning. Just before the front door closes, I hear her say distractedly, “…hmm? What was that, babe?”
I wonder what I said as well.
tara caribou | ©2021
Flash fiction inspired by the video.
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a collection of short poetry from an autistic mind
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