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A little thing I wrote about a man and his dead daughter.
By Tim Akers
I dream of angels and wheels, and of a picnic on a summer day. The dream always starts, just so.
I am an old man now, and the work is hard. Sometimes, I forget lunch, and the sun sets, and the electric light buzzes and hums above my head as I work. It is hard work, and my fingers are old and stiff. My glasses are always falling down.
The dream opens in the sun. It is warm, and the light is on my face, like the light of the first dawn on the first earth. The sun is a wheel in the sky, spinning and bright. At first, it is only the light. Then, the first sounds trickle into my ears. The wind in the trees. A cold stream, playing on the rocks. Laughter.
I open my eyes, and there is grass. A green earth and a blue sky, bright and strong and clear. Trees, a cold stream, smooth rocks. A girl.
Her dress is white, her skin is white, and her eyes dance and sparkle in her face, under tousled black hair. She is running towards me, and laughing. The lights grow brighter.
I forget myself sometimes, in the work. It is like a puzzle, a delicate trick of form, a dance. I get up early, and eat some cold bread, eggs. Coffee. And then I work.
The room where I work is small, the windows are small. It is dusty here. I should clean it up. It’s no place for such a delicate thing. But it is all that I have.
The sun climbs in the sky, beats down on someone else’s picnic. If I remember, I eat lunch. An egg, some bread, a bit of cheese. Coffee. I rest my eyes, I rub the stiff muscles of my arms. My hands are sore, my fingers are too thick and callused for such a beautiful thing. I shape the parts, gruesome on the table, misplaced puzzle pieces. I put them together, just so.
The sun dips its head to the earth, and it becomes night. I work in the dark room, but I have my light, so I continue. My eyes grow tired, my hands shake. I sleep.
The light, the grass, the laughing girl. The sun looks down on us as she runs to me. Her voice dances through grass, plays with the trees, swims in the stream. She throws out her arms, to hug, to hold. I am laughing, too.
The sun rises. Breakfast, more bread, coffee, and then back to the dark, dusty room. The work sits on the table, looking at me. The bits are laid out before me. Tiny metal cogs, bright in the morning sun, little suns themselves. They fit just so. A lever, a weight, a spring. The way a hand works, just so. I’ll never get the smile right. I’m too old for this work. But it’s all that I have, so I go on.
I push the cogs into her chest, oil the gears of her heart. There are nuances in the fingers, the cheek, the heel. Some things that I leave out. Some things that I add. I put all of myself into this work. It will be just right, just so. The room darkens. I have forgotten lunch, forgotten dinner. But there are things that I have not forgotten, so I work on.
Her bare feet pass through the blades of grass, muddy from the creek. Her hair is dark, but the light dances in it still, shimmering as it flies in the wind. I can still hear her laughter, when I wake up. The wheels, the light, the darkening room.
The sun is thinner in the sky, the light stretched and thin. My breath hangs in the air. It is cold in my room now. It has become winter. I huddle in rough blankets on dingy mattresses, the work sitting across the room when I rise. The work still sitting across the room when I lie down to sleep.
She stumbles, falls, stops laughing. Her eyes are wide, her mouth is wide. Her face is so very white and pale. An inky black coil slides through the grass, away from her foot. I am running now.
The teeth should fit just so, the eyes. A wonder of tiny clocks, little springs. She blinks every five seconds, like this. It is exquisite. She is exquisite. Just so.
Two deep red eyes, wet and crying, have sprung open on her heel. The translucent skin is blackening. Her eyes are so wide. Her mouth is open, whispering papa, papa I am cold. An ice moves through her veins, a chill seizes her heart. Her lungs frost over.
I pick her up, in the winter dark room. I hold her, to see if it is right. I am very careful. The wheels are not yet set in motion, the cogs could slip. The tiny wheels blink, the light in her eyes. Lungs and pistons, veins and clockwork, in an amazing little dance. The skin is so smooth.
Clutching her tight, I feel it leaving her. Her teeth chatter, her soft skin tightens, her wide eyes dim and fade. The summer sun burns in an empty blue sky. Her skin grows cold.
My eyes blur and dim in the little light. I set her down on the table, careful not to crush her delicate hair. It is very good, but not quite. I rub my wet eyes, run a kerchief over my face. I go on, but not for much longer now. I run a rough finger gently over her cheek. She blinks, a spring, a lever. I am almost done.
Buetiful use of utter insanity from one thought to another like, a true mental case. I admire you , sir. Mighty fine work
Anarquis | profile | Oct 03, 02 | 12:17 am