Pavement

November 19, 2010
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Theater group. I love it. It’s the most fun two hours of the week, even though all of the actors act like airheads chasing butterflies. Well, I’m directing. I suppose everyone seems like a nincompoop at some point. But these guys are seriously grinding my gears. Aleysha walks in. No. Walk isn’t exactly appropriate for Aleysha. She glides, and floats, and dances on air alone. She is a glamorous 16 year old teaching this course for volunteer credits. Her musical voice rings out, the beautiful notes that would have been words in the mouth of any lesser being weaving in and out of each other, dancing like wind chimes in a light breeze as she calls the group to order. Her cell phone rings, the music garish against the amazingness, the beauty that Aleysha so completely defines. Her wavy amber hair falls over her face, temporarily obscuring her obsidian eyes. Her voice rings out once again.

“Yes, yes. I see”, she says.

“Thanks, I’ll be right out”.

“There’s a traffic cop giving tickets in the parking lot”, she says, the words like a lilting melody played on a violin on a beautiful summer day. “I need to go fill the meter. Take 5, will you?”

With no further ado, Aleysha leaves, the sun at her back transforming this incredible girl into a goddess, the hair at her sides turning white to form a crown of fire and snow that twines in and out of the other strands.

With her gone, some of the girls put on music and begin a choreography routine. The stage manager, Rachel, comes over to talk to me about the placement of the set. After a while, we exhaust the topic and go to join in the dancing. Finally, gasping for breath, I lurch over to the fountain to get a drink. Rachel finds me there, taking massive gulps of the cool, fresh water.

“Don’t you think it’s a bit long for Aleysha to be gone feeding the meter?” she says casually.

I stare at her, temporarily numb. I want to move, or speak, or do something, but my mind acts like it is plodding through molasses. She is staring, too. I suddenly realize the significance of her words. The shock of the realization breaks the hold that the numbness had on us. No words need to be exchanged. We race outside.

I am in stocking feet, and a shard of glass bites deep into my foot. I cuss and keep running.

I cramp up a block later. I ignore it.

Finally, seconds that seem like eternities later, we reach the parking lot.

The first thing I see is Aleysha.

The second thing I see is the blood, pooling around her head as it lays, like a broken, long-forgotten teacup, on the pavement.





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