a destination, a question
He spreads out a map between them on the table of the diner, then smooths it with a flat palm. He hovers his pointer finger of the map, moving it around in circles, the gestural equivalent of a filler word. Finally, he presses his finger onto the paper. A destination. He raises an eyebrow. A question.
Staring at his eyes rather than the map, she sips her black coffee, just as bitter as she is inside.
Where on this map was he a year ago, a month ago, a week ago? He was with her yesterday, but even then, his mind was far away.
His eyes intensify. The question has remained unanswered for too long.
She drops her gaze and looks at the paper for the first time. At the tip of his nail is a tiny town a few hours’ trek away, just off the highway–a place she had never once considered going.
She has never been much of a follower, and she’s never been much of a risk-taker either, preferring to forge her own path exactly where she is. The oxymoron of that has never been lost on her, but she likes it that way. He was always a wrench in that oxymoron, one that was usually at a far enough distance that she could ignore it.
But not right now. Not while he is right here.
He is going to that destination at the end of his pointer finger no matter what she does. She knows that. Among all the choices she has, making him stay is not one of them. She’ll have to choose something else, make a compromise that she doesn’t want to make.
She raises her head so that her eyes meet his again as she gives a forced smile and nods.
Photo by Negative Space from Pexels
What do you know about flowers?
“Do you think that flowers know that they’re beautiful?” she asks, in the middle of folding laundry. The bleached white towels stand in contrast to the navy blue comforter on the bed. Her folds are crisp, even, perfect. Her eyes flick up from her work, meet mine, and hold there.
I stand stark still, like prey hoping that its predator will move on. Her eyes continue to pierce into my soul. She will not move on.
“Do you think roses know that they symbolize love or that daisies know that we count their petals to steel ourselves from potential heartbreak?”
The words cling to the air, then expand, filling the whole room with their stifling presence. There’s a moment’s pause as we stand there, eyes locked, surrounding by the agony of her inquiries.
Then she breaks her gaze, looks back down at the towels, and starts to fold once more. “Do you think that when flowers are cut from their plants they know that some of them will end up on top of graves, showing the dead that humans still care?”
“I don’t think so,” I mumble in reply, grabbing a nearby towel and starting to fold, albeit much less expertly than her. “I don’t think so.”
Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels
We pause, look at each other, and notice the peaceful quiet that envelops us once we take the time to be still and listen.
We stumble through the forest, jabbering, laughing loudly, cracking branches underfoot, until we reach a sign labeled, “Danger. Do not enter.”
We pause, look at each other, and notice the peaceful quiet that envelops us once we take the time to be still and listen. Now, we have to wonder, Is the sign for our own safety…
or for theirs?
photo by Raúl Nájera via Unsplash
This was written in response to the photo prompt of Three Line Tales, Week 226 from Only 100 Words.
I’ll do this in my sleep.
Photo by Dids from Pexels
This is different from the poetry that I normally write, but I had some ideas for six word stories kicking around in my head, and I figured that I would share three of them with you!
She was so gorgeous. Stupid boy.
The wind howls. The wolf doesn’t.