Why did we divorce? I guess you could say we had trouble synchronizing. You know that carnival ride where two cages swing in opposite directions, going higher and higher until they go over the top? That was us. We passed each other all the time, but we never actually stopped in the same place until it was time to get off the ride.
Captain West advanced to meet me, and before our outstretched hands touched, before his face broke from repose to greeting and the lips moved to speech, I got the first astonishing impact of his personality. Long, lean, in his face a touch of race I as yet could only sense, he was as cool as the day was cold, as poised as a king or emperor, as remote as the farthest fixed star, as neutral as a proposition of Euclid. And then, just ere our hands met, a twinkle of--oh--such distant and controlled geniality quickened the many tiny wrinkles in the corner of the eyes; the clear blue of the eyes was suffused by an almost colourful warmth; the face, too, seemed similarly to suffuse; the thin lips, harsh-set the instant before, were as gracious as Bernhardt's when she moulds sound into speech.
Dad and I leave town in the early dark. It's the second Sunday of the holidays, and we pack up the old blue car with enough clothes for summer and hit the road. It's so early he's wiping hills of sand piled in the corners of his eyes. I wipe a few tears from mine. Tears don't pile, though. They grip and cling and slide in salty trails that I taste until the edge of the city.
They're endless, stretching beyond the horizon and spreading around me like forever. They heave and moan, frothing over each other, cresting and falling. The pure depth and vastness of it all beyond comprehension, my eyes unable to focus on any individual. Instead I'm drowned in their need. They ripple and swell, the bodies of the Mudo, like the ocean. Like the dead-tossed waves.
But then I'm distracted by movement in the Forest, a glimpse of red at the edge of my vision. She's no longer running, no longer even walking or standing, but crawling now. Dragging her broken body across the ground toward me, her fingers clawing at the dirt. Her progress is slow, unbearably so. Such that it's almost sad to see her reduced to this. Her body has used up it's stores of energy and has begun collapsing in on itself.
It was her first book, an indigo cover with a silver moonflower, an art nouveau flower, I traced my finger along the silver line like smoke, whiplash curves. ... I touched the pages her hands touched, I pressed them to my lips, the soft thick old paper, yellow now, fragile as skin. I stuck my nose between the bindings and smelled all the readings she had given, the smell of unfiltered cigarettes and the espresso machine, beaches and incense and whispered words in the night. I could hear her voice rising from the pages. The cover curled outward like sails.