• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 03
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Shades of Blue

If she closes her eyes at just the right angle, the phosphenes that fire against the backs of her eyelids remind her of the sort of blue that always calls her home. She tilts her head back to rest against the trunk of the tree she’s sitting under and counts the polyethylene shadows in the branches above her, gently rippling ghosts of what carelessness can do. He isn't as quiet as he thinks he is, but she’s not ready for this conversation, so she pretends not to hear his approach. She can give him that. Eyes open, she believes in a kind of stillness that she never knew possible.

"Do you miss it?"

In the haze of nostalgia, she thinks that maybe she does. Measured in the frequency of the waves of homesickness and an indeterminate number of bad days, there is so much honesty in an affirmative. But she knows the phosphenes aren’t a good enough reason to stay.

"Not really."

She answers him steadily, eyes never leaving the jagged edges of the bag caught against the branch beside the eagle's nest she's been watching for the last hour. She knows how long it takes for the polymers to break down, to multiply as they degrade to become several million toxic molecules to breed mutations and change everything forever. There is a morbid comfort in that absolute.

"I don't believe you."


Shades of Blue

She doesn't believe herself, either. She’s still in love with the pieces that fit together when she is here, but the impermanence of the lines of congruity will surface again. She avoids his eyes for fear of drowning in the softness of the cobalt she knows she’ll find there.

"I don't know what you want me to tell you, Kline. What you're looking for," she says, hands spread to show she doesn't have it, "is the kind of thing that happens once in a lifetime."

Skepticism writes itself in deep lines around his eyes, forcing a connection between caramel and nebulous blue. She counts the seconds between the heartbeats for which she holds his stare.

"Hear me out,” she says. "Or don’t. In the grand scheme of things, if doesn't really matter what you hear. You need an answer more than I do.”

“I’m listening.”

She explains it in words she doesn’t know she has, counting on infinities they will never see and epiphanies she will never have. It isn't fair that her body still aches for the cerulean she learned to breathe under, but when you fall in love with the depth of a clear blue sky over wide green spaces, white sands, and azure waters, it becomes a part of the keep. Maybe in another life, she's waiting at the backdoor and always will be, but this is the symphony she has chosen to write and in this score, the ghosts will ripple on forever.