short story challenge
|Late October, second summer laid its gentile warmth over the day when the world started shifting colours. A long shadow played over the asphalt by my feet. I recognized it before my mind grasped that it had to be attached to something. The notion of you being close to me made my body vibrate. Waves and waves, light and dark, highs meeting highs and elevating, lows meeting lows and descending. Highs and lows meeting, cancelling out each other leaving confused areas of tranquillity amidst the stormy waters. I spilled out, I lost all self-control, my soul fled. How cruel you are, ambushing me like this.
The shift was late that year. Well into September the summer still lingered. Then came the cold rains, then came the grey days, then, on that particular day, the shift came. I was standing on the square watching the little girl happily trot about. I was wearing the shirt I had bought at the second hand store. A mans shirt several sizes over mine. Why did I buy this thing. Well, I had done it. It was laying on my bed taunting me, I couldnât let it. So I had to wear it. Who else would. I need to stop buying you gifts.
A man with a guitar was playing songs, birds chirping, people smoking drinking coffee eating lunch walking by smiling widely towards the child sending out a careful searching eye for her guardian. The smiles she collected extended over to me and was just as warming as the early afternoon sun. Still a chill overtook my body when that shadow entered my field of sight. Total emotional shutdown. Cold cold cold. Why it frightened me so, I canât say. By now I should know how to play this game. I should have my shit under control.
Perhaps it was all the new colours that put me in that fragile state. I didnât want it pass me by, so I decided to go with shift. I was tired of being disconnected, so I tuned in and hummed along softly to the orchestra of falling cracking drying dying leaves. It was my favourite frequency.
As the shadow drew closer it seemed to flicker and distort. It was as if something tore off and left the cold imitation of a man imprisoned on the ground. My body relaxed and the shivering died off. Highs werenât as high, lows not as low, tranquillity less confusing.
You travel in the most mysterious ways. I could never predict how you would reach me next time, when, in what form. All I could do was wait and grow colder still. Becoming more and more like the shadow you left on the ground. Distorted, trapped, cold, colder, colder still. Highs not as high, lows not as low.
Every day I went out to capture some of that colorshifting beauty, to tune in and keep myself from loosing my mind. However as the leafs fell and became a part of the brown mass below, the signal weakened, the frequency changed. I stopped going shopping, that in turn put an end to the growing of the pile of gifts. Gifts I forced myself to use so they wouldnât be gifts anymore.
Winter slowly came and my paintings grew darker. I had to go to the art supply store twice in a month to refill the black and browns and dark blues. I didnât see you again until Christmas. Perhaps you had been close before that and I had just been to cold to notice. A morning frost covered my inner landscaped, calmed subdued the waves until it finally grew into a thick layer of ice. I was that shadow on the ground. I realized it was me you left flickering, distorting and finally to be imprisoned.
How you reached me that day is still a mystery to me. Slowly stripping off the layers, unwrapping me, melting my broking heart forging something new.