Feathers. Hundreds of them coating the road, lit by evening traffic. Whipped, wrenched and tossed around by fast-passing cars, flying up to disappear momentarily against the dark sky before settling into the spotlight again. At once yellow, at once red – headlights follow their jerky prime-time dance. Beautiful until you think about how they got there. Road kill. But there’s no sign of the ugly death.
Just the feathers – hundreds of them coating the road, lit by evening traffic.
She never usually watches the road, but she does today as she flees towards her destination in her trishaw bubble. The rush of road beneath her makes her feel weirdly like she was a sewing machine needle, watching yards of fabric race beneath and beyond her.
A bump in the road. A catch in the cloth. She tries to stop, go back, correct the mistake, the extra stitch, but she can’t. The needle rushes past, heedless that it’s pricked her and she’s bleeding.
Confused metaphors fly through her mind, whipping with the wind. She tries in vain to hold her loose hair in place and finally gives up, letting the flagellating strands slash against her neck, face and gloss-coated lips.
When she arrives she is windblown but the ride has been strangely cathartic. She enters and finds herself with new old-friends. Comfortable but moody. The Bob Dylan-esque vocals, the melancholy strings and her own crush-note harmonies accentuate her strange temper.
Later, they watch the rain with the same eyes. Transparent sheets of it push this way and that, spurred by an angry wind. Tinted by lonely street lights, they look like force-fields from a B-grade sci-fi flick.
“Beautiful” she breathes, transfixed and her sentiments are echoed softly.
The balcony juts out into the street and the spray of the rain cools the heated humidity of the apartment. They get wet, but they don’t mind.
A man walks barefoot beneath them, sheltering himself uselessly with a plastic bag. The storm has soaked him and he coughs as he wades on his way, ankle-deep in water, but he still holds the bag as a shield. A dog skitters off into the distance.
The taxi comes and they call out to stop it, rush through the rain to get in, and leave.
At home, alone again, she tries to settle to sleep. But it doesn’t come. Shudders of lightening momentarily light up her room, disquieting thoughts already disturbed.
She thinks of him, misses him but realizes that she’s forgetting him also. Slowly. Word by word, movement by movement, moments spent with him and emotions spent on him are gradually erasing their significance in her mind. Slowly.
She thinks of another, of the danger involved, of her heart and his in the balance. A risk, she has told herself time and time again that she is not willing to take just yet. But the dance has already begun.
She slips away into sleep, running towards the monsters in her dreams. Easier to face than her reality.