Turn left at the Bow’ry gates, you’ll find the place I used to live. Sunlight throws your shadow long across cracked ground and dust. Dead flowers lying here, face down; can’t quite tell what colour they were. That’s all right, ‘cause I moved on, left a withered paradise behind.
There are some stories that call attention to larger issues than what is written about on the surface. There are some that reflect the struggles and hardships of an entire demographic, even though the journey may be singular. In both scenarios, however, it is essential for the writer to take full ownership of their circumstances, whether they’re chosen for them or not. By the same token, the writer must be prepared to be honest – in the telling of a story and what they choose to share with their audience.
There is no colour left on our tiny island of a planet, and the grey, empty soil is broken only where the Wishing Tree stands.
There might as well have been no other survivors, for we no longer speak. It is better this way. This way we can pretend this is how it always was. This way we can pretend that we never spoke our dreams to the Wishing Tree.
In the beginning was a word. And the word was that there is a book, a story of a gentleman who falls in love with a teenage girl. I heard that over a bottle of cheap port wine that we, teens in a hick Siberian town, were drinking to assuage our growing thirst for information. A book – and that’s it. No name, no anything, no recollection of who brought it up. The iron curtain was held in place with an iron fist (if that idiom befits the flabby limbs of the senile rulers of the rotting empire – listless figures, who came and went in mournful succession: Brezhnev, Chernenko, Andropov – the alphabet itself as twisted as everything else in the dusky reality of the late socialism).
So. Much. Ice cream. Cookies & Cream, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Raspberry Sherbet. Nothing with peanuts or hazelnuts. Edy’s or Turkey Hill, only. Once purchased, see how much you can eat in one sitting. Excavate every corner of each carton indiscriminately, weaving brutally through the topsoil with your silver shovel in the midst of sleepless hazes.
She’d stretch her arms high into the air to hand him fistfuls of grapes and Saltines behind dark curtains. When he was born, he swam out of her like a fish in the sea. She always told him that when they left the hospital, she had to hold him to her chest real tight, or he’d float all the way to the sun.
He was her boy, with his hovering body reflecting against the black screen of the television unless the brightness of Wheel of Fortune was on. His eyes glazed on the flashing screen as he dreamed about those tethered to the ground, the heaviness of their insides fixing them to the earth.