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A Drop of Embers
She sits. The grass licking her fingers, the ground reaching up to cushion her fall. The sky wobbles in her vision, clouds releasing their tears unto the ground miles below, conjuring a shallow gray paint strewn across the heavens. Her eyes, weary, close against the rigid drops falling from above; they tap on her clothing, the rhythm to a song that has only just begun.
She hears the fluttering of wings, followed by a soft plop in the small pond across from her limp form. The raindrops trickle down her face, as she tries to ignore the presence of the bird, cushioned by the water as she is cushioned by the ground, one by land and one by sea. Her mind wanders, dipping into the past as the rain seeps into the earth, the water. Her thoughts seep deeper into stillness, their trail just as deft.
The bird hoots at her, the quieted sentinel resting in the pillow of grass, on the bank of a forgotten pond in a derelict grove. The trees whisper around her, wind hissing a rumor into their ears, in minutes whisked around the forest to be circulated again. The girl, so silent, so still. Breath shallow, as shallow as the pond before her; yet as undeterred by this fact as the waters.
The rain stains her face with false tears, ice with a soul of fire. Herself, a frozen statue with a mind of embers. The water ripples, arcs, settles; the bird lifts into the air and the wingbeats fade into the wind.
She listens, silent, ghostly, unmoving.
The others don’t know it; they are too occupied with their own times, their own schedules, with money and work than to exploit the true things that matter. The trees, the pond, the birds and leaves scattered around her thin, frail body; the rain with a soul of fire. They are frozen in time, the very thing they rush through, never glancing back, never turning, never caring. The world she has seen is frozen, stuck, running ahead. And not once does it glance, not once does it turn; and never does it care.
But not there. There, cocooning her body, the earth and water mixing together, there things are different. Slow. Calmed. Real. More real than the world that she has known for so long. There waits. There listens. There sees. And with timid footfalls, light, sneaking into the future, it moves on to the next scene. A child laughing into the sky, missing the moment as it passes but savoring the chance to continue, knowing that there will be more skies and more laughter. But also knowing that it will never be the same.
They don’t bother to wait. They don’t bother to savor. They just rush on to the next meeting, next hour, next minute of the day; and then they forget all of There. All the beauty. All the splendor.
All the honesty.
The girl, face wet with the sky, smiles into the clouds, eyelids lifting slowly. Her pupils dilate to absorb the pristine circle of peace surrounding her; the rain creates voices in the sky, an interlude to a song that will never end. A sigh escapes her lips, and she listens to the pattering, the whispering, the rumor; the world stands still and not a moment is wasted as her senses turn to the circulating truth of There.
Once heard, she stands. She embraces. She never glances back. No regrets. No mistakes. Just honesty.
Footstep by footstep, creeping into the distance, she fades into the wind.
And not once does she stop caring.