Journey: The Beginnings
“…you should go alone to the place where you were born. Nothing could be easier than that. Go there and take your chances, whatever they may be.” *
That last winter she spent there. That last winter. The bitter cold and damp. How the rains began even before October. Even before October. Day after day of stinging rain. Cold. And then suddenly the sun. Pure white light blasting through everything. Suddenly, the stark edges. Of Oaks. Sycamores. A faint rotting smell. Underneath. A bitter smell. Of leaves. Rotting. Then drying out. Her feet. Her feet crushing through them. Dust and crackle. Blown around. Yards and streets glowing. In white light. How she drifted. The white days. Leaves drifting against stone steps. Stone. A house. Where she lived. An old house. Not hers. Not hers the grey stone house. The two old ladies. Their presence. Somewhere on the first floor. She could sense them. Moving around. The dim quiet. She imagined blue. Two old women moving through blueness. On the first floor. She never saw them. They were there. Always quiet. She was quiet. She did not want to disturb them. She climbed the back stairs to her room. Quietly. The room on the third floor. Underneath the attic. Its many small windows. On three sides. She liked the windows. The light coming in. Pouring over everything. Like water. Not the same as the water pooling everywhere. From the rain. Somebody she knew had lived in that house. A girl. In her grade school. A girl. From a large family. From a different country. The girl was in her class. The family moved. Away. Maybe they returned. To that other country. She remembered that girl. The girl may have been related to the two old women downstairs. She thought about that. But not for long. Her mind drifted. In the room under the attic. Its odd angles. How the ceiling sloped. Because of the attic. The roof. Holding down the house. A quiet house.
That odd room. Large squares of black and white linoleum. On the floor. She would play chess. Sometimes. She hummed to herself. As she made her moves. Across the floor. Queen or knight. Never bishop or rook. She hummed. To herself. Drifting. October drifting into November. Into December. Perhaps nothing happened. Perhaps. She. Stopped. She stopped reading the papers. The ugliness of print on paper. She couldn’t look. At it. Its oily feel. On her hands. Her hands would not touch it. Her hands. She would look at her hands. There was something there. In them. Waiting. She knew it. The sharp staccato of hands. Clapping. Together. She listened. Music. Of hands. A stuttering staccato. Like cold rain beating against windows. On three sides of the room. Becoming sleet. Becoming snow. And ice. Day after day like that. Like that. Then a night. Bitter. Pin pricks of stars. Far away. Cold. She was. Outside. On the path. Walking. Away. From the not hers. House. Her feet crushing through snow. Squeak of feet on ice. She slipped. On the ice. On the not hers. She fell. On her back. Flat. On the ice. Stunned. Looking up. At the black sky. The far away stars. Laughing. Down at her. And laughing back. Cold seeping in. Into her pores. Into her. Waking her up. She had been sleeping. She had forgotten. How long had it been. She had been. Away. Now. She was. She was ready. To go.