Thursday, July 7, 2011


There were walls and there were no walls at all. She opened her eyes. It was as if she was awakened by the sound of her breath or the position of her body. Soon she discovered that she was lying in her daughter's bed. Her little girl lay next to her with a leg lying atop her belly. Those little toes. Youth. Childhood and playing outside. Climbing up into trees. Where was her mother? Can't get down. Moving silently through the dark and coming upon the edge of mom and dad's bed. Reaching the edge of a dark lake where friendly creatures rested in the depths. Waiting. Just waiting for her. There were no walls. Mother accommodated her little body that managed to fit into the cave between soft boulders that stirred when walls were rubbed hard enough. Stirring and grunting. Welcome the little one. Within the walls of the dark cave. The lake that was deep, dark and dry with no walls at all.

Stirring and no motion at all but breathing inside a silent cave. Their bed seemed to stretch on like a forest. The wood. Their bed was made of wood. Her little girl's bed was made of wood. She had the softest mattress. Couldn't feel the softness so much when her daughter smashed her body against hers. Squooshed between her mother and father. Which side were they on? She turned her little head slightly to the left and to the right. Their bodies seemed to go up into the night sky that obliterated the stars and the ceiling disappeared to reveal the morning sun. It was paler than usual. Her daughter's bed trembled beneath her now adult weight. A small bed in a small room. The walls reverberated with thoughts and the edges of beds. Beds made and unmade.

Making time that rushed away inside another room. Get back there. Get back in time to sleep some more. Some more time before more things. More things to get for the family. Mom and dad in their bed. Without walls and walls so tall to block out the stars. Where were the stars? Ceiling. That kept it all out. Where did it go? The window that poured in the morning light. Pale light as if through a sheet that dimmed its efforts. Efforts and things. Beds made and unmade.

Eyes opened again. No little toes. Turning over into empty space. Books behind her. She could hear her little girl's voice reading.

"Clouds float close together as they march along. Wait your turn. Stand in line. The flowers planted closer together. Flower petals brush against each other in the breeze. Breezy gusts that bring clouds marching closer together. Stand in line. Wait your turn. Wait. Wait. The line will move along. March along. Fast enough if the wind is strong enough. Strong enough to stand in line. The air is still. No wind at all. There will be more of a wait."

Lines and waiting. Efforts and things. Standing in lines. Lying down in beds. Beds made and unmade. Stirring and remaining still. Eyes opened again. Silence is muffled by the waterfall of thoughts. She no longer hears her little girl's voice reading or talking or whispering about the things she likes to whisper about. Her little girl liked to whisper questions. Questions that could never be answered. Only put off by sleep. And her sleep was punctured by thoughts of beds made and unmade. Holes threaded by memories that slipped along in the dark. Memories that were awakened and vanished in the morning light of the next day. Paler light. Overcast by the questions that remained and formed lines to wait one's turn towards efforts and things. Beds made and unmade. Beds so far apart and close together. Tugged together by memories. Memories that snag on those questions. Questions that her little girl preferred to whisper. Questions that could never be answered. Only put off by sleep. Sleep punctured by thoughts of beds made and unmade.

- Max Stoltenberg

1 comment:

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