Sunday, June 17, 2007

shut tight those eyes

You catch images of her now in flickering grey and black. Poorly developed film on old stock, grainy and scratched. These are shots taken of memories, weakly transmitted over the great abyss of time. A girl you once knew. A girl you will never know again.

“What will it bring?” she asks, her voice distant, crackling, the audio, poor. She’s there for but a moment, overexposed flesh projected onto a crumbling wall. The petite, fresh features of a then-innocent face. Inky sea of hair, blending into eternity. “What will the future bring?”

“There will always be us,” you say, your disembodied voice quavering on a tremulous wave of interminable distance. “There will always be an us in one form or another.”

She flashes for a moment, the feeble connexion nearly lost. Her image flashes, and as it does, a moment of panic flashes across her youthful face. These memories: barely there at the best of times. You close your eyes tightly in an attempt to focus, to bring that picture back.

“So, we’ll be together forever then?” she asks, hopeful.

You open your eyes to find her there again, her faint image right before you. Her big, bright eyes are open wide in expectation. Her long, dark lashes curl. Her lips part in the beginning of a smile. The camera shakes as it zooms in close, unfocused, then focused.

She blinks.

“I didn’t say that,” you reply. “I didn’t say that at all.”

And in that instant, she is gone, her ghostly image blinking out entirely. She is gone, and you are left alone in this darkened room, the heart and soul of a victim. Tears well up. Breath catches in your throat. Hands begin to tremble.

“But you’re the one who left,” a feminine voice says, rustling into the room from somewhere else. It’s not her voice, but the voice of another. You squint into the dark, trying to conjure up a face to go along with those words – but you try, and fail, to come up with anything tangible.

“Always leaving,” another faceless voice accuses.

Throat hoarse, and feet leaden, your knees buckle and you soon find yourself on hands and knees. “Leave me alone,” you say, pulling yourself forward. So weak. These fleeting glimpses of the past take too much from you. You begin to crawl towards where you think the door should be, but you try, and you fail to find a way out of this room.

“How many time have you left?” someone asks, with a taunting laugh.

Other join in, one phantom becoming many, laughing and talking over each other. They fill your ears with indistinct, acerbic noise. Mocking, derisive. They’re sharing stories. Laughing at your pathetic exploits.

“Just leave me alone,” you plead. “Please just leave me alone.”

You shut tight your eyes, clap hands over ears, and curl up right there where you lie. Shut them out. Just shut them all out. Focus. Focus on nothing. Wipe that mind clean.

Pillow over head, the sound of an old projector whirrs somewhere in the great beyond, the end of the film thwip, thwip, thwipping on the reel. Most nights, sleep doesn’t come soon enough. And some nights, such as this, sleep will not come at all.

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