Her Shadow

April 2, 2009
By Rebecca Phifer SILVER, North Augusta, South Carolina
Rebecca Phifer SILVER, North Augusta, South Carolina
6 articles 0 photos 9 comments

The young woman stands facing a two story brick house with her back to the setting sun. She leans against a gray oak tree. The sun’s gentle warm rays caress her back, tinting her skin yellow. She shivers. The golden ball sinks closer to the horizon and the shadows deepen. The oak tree’s shadow grows longer on the brown grass, stretching on to infinity. Away from infinity branches give way to the trunk and the trunk to roots. But…there is no shadow of a woman. Is she still there? Yes, she stands next to the tree looking up towards the upper story of the house and into the two eyelike windows. The room inside is lighted yellow by something out of view to the left. The right window shows a bed in the room. The left window reveals a bare gray wall with a shadow cast on it. Someone must be pacing out of sight, because the shadow moves rapidly back and forth on the wall, like a prisoner pacing his cell. Occasionally it disappears from view farther to the left. The shadow seems to be fading. Perhaps the light is getting dimmer.

She is still intent on the shadow as the temperature drops lower, but she does not shake. It seems to suit her. It’s darker and the shadows seem to blend into each other. The shadow has disappeared from the left and reappeared in the right window, but I never saw a body never cross into view. The forlorn shadow falls across the bed. There it rests and my eyes wander back to the woman; her dulling eyes are still glued to the window, watching the shadow emotionlessly. The shadow moves off the bed. It is smaller now as if the figure has been slowly starved. The shadow slowly makes its way directly to the window, but it can’t get out. In the light, it is barely visible as it stands in the window. The shadow seems to plead as its hot breath fogs up the cold window.

The woman’s eyes are dark and clouded, but still they stare at the shadow as it places its hand on the window. It is hard to see in now; there is a glare on the window. Suddenly, the shadow goes limp and slips from view. It’s night. The sun has sunk into the earth. Satisfied, she turns her back on the two empty windows. She walks away. Her eyes are disturbing. There doesn’t seem to be anything behind them…maybe a blank wall or a mirror as they reflect the cold, dark objects around her. I want to ask her why she is walking away from her soul, but I’m too scared.

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