f l a s h f i c t i o n
My eyes glide side to side as I pass between realms. Inside. Outside. Chair. Rose Moss. Red sketchbook. Red-headed house finches. A television. A bathing chipmunk. Inside. Outside. Inside.
I’ve learned to find comfort in traveling this way. It’s taken at least seven years to become this agile. There’s a faint line between Comfort and Chaos and I’ve learned that the best way to cope is to zig-zag over the border. Zigs and zags make evading bullets easier, which are inevitable when you approach the line of panopticons.
A VCR player. A swing. A dusty, black videotape. A stuttering goldfinch.
The comfort I’ve found in zig-zag formation is the control. There’s a certain level of awareness and coordination required that forces one to keep their nose out of the water. Sure, you could learn how to increase your lung endurance, but, personally, I find that sets you up for failure.
“You drew that? It looks like a fifth grader drew that,” says a distant damning voice. Mourning doves call out. A portrait of an unknown girl hangs on the wall of a mudroom beside another portrait of a known girl. Two sparrows perching next to each other chatter away.
Many years ago, I didn’t know there was a technique to confuse Border Patrol. I’d often find myself dripping with blood. My pain tolerance was astronomical then, so I never saw the need to learn any special tactics. I wasn’t warned that old age exponentially deteriorates pain tolerance. Half a decade later I’d start considering the need for tactics, special or otherwise. It’d be another year before I cautiously sought a tactics trainer.
A remote control. A pair of headphones. A blank television screen. A deep sigh. A deeper sigh.
An open red sketchbook lays in my lap and a scene plays out. It’s an urban scene sketched in lead. The sidewalk, bench, and bus stop sign are all a greasy gray. In the background, grimy black corporate offices block out the sky. Ghostly outlines of men and woman pass by the stop, but a young woman soon appears in a black, lace-trimmed camisole and bright multicolored spring skirt. She stops by the bench, drenched by the downpour. Her arms are cross at her chest and she shifts her weight from foot to foot. There’s a pause before her pale hand steadies herself on the sign and takes off her black flats. With one smooth motion, she holds the pair of flats in her right hand and extends her arms into t-formation, tilting her head back. Her lips turn a smile and eyes close. The droplets of rain become plumper as she slowly turns in her spot beside the sign. They start to fall in slow motion. The acid-green begins to peel away revealing deep purples, forest greens, bright yellows, ocean blues, blood reds, muted oranges, and sky blues. The faster she spins, the faster the drops fall. She impulsively sticks out her round tongue.
A.R. LaClaire grew up and currently resides in Michigan. She has a history of mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression, but finds that the written word helps alleviate the emotional tension. You can find her on Twitter @LadyRayedio94.