Forever, in a Minute | Teen Ink

Forever, in a Minute

February 5, 2019
By cloemaurer BRONZE, South Pasadena, California
cloemaurer BRONZE, South Pasadena, California
3 articles 1 photo 1 comment

We were deep in summer’s warm haze. A blanket of heat had settled on top of the Sonoran Desert, smothering us all in the process. But every night, the air was cool, and warm breezes drifted through the desert air. On the horizon, silhouettes of brittle brush were backlit by the light cast by the stars dotting the velvety dark blue sky like pinholes in tinfoil.  

             On a sultry summer day, I was walking along the side of the highway. This had become a habit, bordering on a ritual, born from my fertile boredom. There were hardly any cars. Heat rippled on surface of the greyish asphalt. I felt the sun beating down on my head, seeping through my baseball cap and resting on my scalp. Beads of sweat gathered on my nose. I felt my sunglasses slipping. The revealed sliver of vision unfiltered by my sunglasses was vibrant and so bright the space behind my eyes ached. I pushed the glasses back up. When I wore sunglasses, it sometimes crossed my mind that I was choosing not see in full color. I could smell dirt and heat through my eyes, through my nose, and through my mouth.

A my subconcious mind formed a thin veil, clouding my vision. Everything took on a sheer sandiness, and as I walked, I felt the hair on my arms raise. I slowly ventured off the side of the road and into the sea of desert brush. The dry arms of plants scraped my calves, leaving shallow white scrapes. I walked west towards the rusty red bluffs.

I moved with an aimless purpose. I was a puppet on the universe’s gossamer strings. I was pulled forward like a dancer, my back arched and my arms spread eagle. I can’t describe the way I felt when I looked up at the sky. An ache started in the center of my chest and with every exhale it spread, pushing through every nerve ending in my body and streaming out of me in thick silken ribbons. I wanted where its boundlessness met the sandy soil. It was a hauntingly beautiful forever, a past, a present, and an unforeseeable future.

The sky spun like a wheel of fortune. Each portion of the wheel a different phase of the rapidly rising and setting sun. The rising and setting of the blood orange was beyond the spinning of the earth on its axis. It was large and beyond the need for comprehension, not of this world, but of this intimate frame of desert. The saguaros shifted from silhouette to dusty green. I tilted my head backwards, my chin pointed to the deep navy skyscape. Bright white pinpricks of starlight formed archaically delicate constellations. They rested on my cheekbones.

As I turned towards the mesa, I saw her. Her figure was dancing on the ridge, flickering like a flame. Her edges meshed in perfect harmony with the orange hued sky. As a drew nearer, she didn’t zoom into focus like something usually would. Her surroundings did. I saw the rocks buried in the red dirt, the rough edges of the bluff, but she remained blurred clarity. The landscape began to change. New rock formations appeared, emerging like bleary eyed moles from somewhere beneath the Earth’s surface. They looked like the rock formations depicted in old space age illustrations of unknown planets. She moved from formations to formation, growing closer to me with each step. She beckoned and without question, I followed.

When I climbed the rock, I didn’t feel the sharpness digging into my palms or the sandy soil under my fingernails, I only felt motion. Her motion, my motion, the motion of this ephemeral moment when my mind and my surroundings heaved in perfect unison. As I stepped up beside her, her features became clear. She face was where the endless road met the clear desert sky. Her eyes were placid windows into an oasis too clear and pure to be true. Her mouth was a delicate opening lined with the gentle songs of the desert’s birds. From her cheeks sprung the vibrant pink of cactus blooms. The touch of her hand, her slender fingers, felt like the warm breezes that blew lazily through the air around us.

We danced across the red mesa, bathed in dusty light. I danced with her and when she pulled away I moved with her. No part of me questioned what was happening. I had no need for eyes. It was all so familiar. I couldn’t question what was happening because of how serenely right it felt. It was impossible to comprehend, but I felt no need to try. So, I was complacent, every part of me moving in natural rythm with my surroundings. With each breath, I felt my heart expand. I felt connected to every part, I felt the chirp of the cicadas, I felt the rustling of the dry brush, and the quiet whispers of the moon and the steady hum of the sun.

I wanted her to take me with her in her, wherever she comes from. Maybe she’d lead me to her spaceship to the sky, rocket me to the moon, past stars, I’d gaze out the round window inlayed with stained glass image of the creamy white moon, the rising and setting sun, and two splotches of light atop a rocky ridge backlit by stars. Wrapped in a blanket of her mystery, I don’t go to be with her, I go to explore that magical place she comes from. And, as the sun began to steady, I sat on the dirt, her next to me, my eyes closed. Behind my eyelids, I saw only her shiny face, perspiration gathering on her brow, just like dew drops on the smooth, waxy body of a saguaro.

The author's comments:

I'm really inspired by the desert.

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