she held on to his hand. it was the first time someone held her. lovingly so. was this how it feels like to be touched? it was a strange feeling: being wanted, someone wanting to be close, someone this close. she became aware, all of a sudden, of the last three years he’d been at a distance, and wondered about that space. the space we put between ourselves and others. slowly and with every step up the stairs, one by one his fingers laced and intertwined hers. the space in between them becoming smaller and smaller. a breath with every inch of space they were closing in. he squeezed her hand. a reassuring, comforting, gentle force of skin on skin. human on human. breath on breath. he wanted to be close her, and she didn’t stop him. for the first time, maybe and only this time ever, she wanted someone who wanted her.
– an excerpt from the book i’m writing, a.m.
Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene, I hardly paid it any mind. I never stopped to think of it as something that would make a lasting impression, certainly never imagined that eighteen years later I would recall it in such detail. I didn’t give a damn about the scenery that day. I was thinking about myself. I was thinking about the beautiful girl walking next to me. I was thinking about the two of us together, and then about myself again. It was the age, that time of life when every sight, every feeling, every thought came back, like a boomerang, to me. And worse, I was in love. Love with complications. Scenery was the last thing on my mind.
– Haruki Murakami, N.W.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Study Abroad.”
If you were asked to spend a year living in a different location, where would you choose and why?
In my brother’s shoes.
I would like to know what he goes through, what goes through in his mind, even just for a day. He is as elusive as the 29th day of February, as quiet as the sunset. I would like to know how he feels, his dreams, his anxieties. My brother doesn’t say much, and I am a writer, so his nods, shrugs, footsteps kill my need for words. I read somewhere that writers thrive more in silence, in gaps, because those are spaces we can fill with words. But my brother refuses to use words. He prefers charcoal and blank paper, lines and shadows, portraits and still images. I would like to know his world because sometimes–sometimes around 2 in the morning–I think I hear him crying out for help. But when I check in the morning, I see new portraits of women looking at a distance, women with eyes so defined that they look at back at me and I am forced to blink making sure they aren’t alive.
My brother is an artist; and the heart of one, often inaccessible.
Words are all I have; and I’ve tried many many times to slip words under his door hoping to reach out to him in a medium I will understand.
But he simply replies back with nods, shrugs, footsteps, and charcoal portraits. His room is beside mine; we are separated by a wall, and I feel like he is in a different world where his hands are tainted with lead and the sky has copies of faces as stars.
And I would just like to know, to be reassured, that he is happy.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Just a Dream.”
You’re having a nightmare, and have to choose between three doors. Pick one, and tell us about what you find on the other side.
The First Door.
It was a door to the past–but not just any past. A particular past. The kind of past worth cherishing, fondly remembered. There were four people standing beyond the door:
a friend who was happy and told everyone to be happy,
another friend who smiled to me and gave me that encouraging “Okay!” thumbs-up sign right before my speech,
a friend who stood beside me and stroked my back as silent tears blurred my eyes,
and another friend who took my hand and danced with me with the kind of dance that could have gone on forever.
To walk through that door would be a dream; to forever stay with them, impossible.
The Second Door.
It was a door to the present–but not my present. The other kind of present happening at the moment but outside my awareness. The tears my parents shed in darkness, the sighs of my friend giving up, the quiet prayers of another friend asking for hope against hope, a friend talking to a wall and asking questions with no answers, my grandmother calling out to me, a neighbour touching his wife with heavy knuckles and ringing slaps, my aunt wondering who the stranger sitting inside her daughter’s room is and who looks exactly like my cousin, and my high school teacher controlling but succumbing to that urge to touch those faces sitting inside the classroom.
The Third Door.
It was a door to an empty room except for a window that showed me what was beyond the first two doors.
The third door was the one I opened.