04 April 2014

your fall took me with you

text and photography: katie beth

The evening before we were guided down the highway by fences of dirty snow and tab reflections in orange--up and down and around and then there. The white buildings appearing in their glowing squares as I'd imagined and as she'd remembered. Her fingers clenched into her scalp as her elbows raised above her ears, voice full of excited emotion half-way between tears and laughter both.

The morning came. I went numb. "These are not my stories to tell."

Moments fell clinking into our palms as she carefully unwraps, smells, and holds each one before giving it to us.

Her face alight and alive, hands molding the air. "brother standing here, right here, with a snake hanging off his finger, the bell ringing, trying to get it off in a hurry."

The pond. All iced over now but too thin to stand on. "And oh the frogs. You'd be walking with five in both hand and you'd see another and you couldn't do anything about it..." her face earnest her shoulders working back and forth, pushing her palms against the air in front of her.

My mind whirring. What makes home? Why are some stripped of this thing we don't even understand but which leaves us empty when we lose it? 

Is it the patterns on the floor, the little memories that stick and return and build from the distance, or the familiarity of the spaces where we learned routine?

Perhaps it's where we learn that we will be hurt and that it will not kill us, even if we want it to. Perhaps it is where we discover that other people feel and drink in our words and movements.

The slip of road salt on our shoes as we stepped in onto the tile floor. The illusive red of the branches as they stood, skeletons of marrow in the snow.

Footprints, bike tires, and car tracks stamped into the suede dirt of the road, outlined in soft frost.

The way his face softened under his beard as he saw the girl who became a woman, his hands pulling out of his pockets and falling again at his sides.

There was a rainbow in the TV. 

"And we would do it over and over and over..."

Slipping into the barn with the smell of long-bailed hay, dirt, and cold air. Great worn beams, hewn planks, the loft above our heads. Clean and warm lines of light fall on the coiled lead-ropes and leaning shovels, sending bars of shadow along the wall in gradations of tone. 

Inside the white house stretched along the road the floors move and the walls would talk. The paint raises like veins on the posts and fingernail cracks wrap around the joint above the door, black in eggshell white. The little corner bedroom filled with light. The woman stands looking in where she once looked out a girl. A little boy in dusty curls shows her the details she knows by heart, there in the little corner bedroom. Her fingers felt the door frame and her face felt the air. 

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