For William because his encouragement has been constant. We’re working on an ambient piece based on my story, Everything Leaves, from some years back. I’ve created a cut-up version to use in the piece.
She woke up in the early morning and listened to her parents talking and felt a moment of comfort that passed even as it seemed it could go on.
She rode her bike forever and ever and watched the light slowly change in the late afternoon sky, trying to fill herself up with the smell of the damp fields.
She taught herself to whistle and to turn over and over on the monkey bars. She watched the light change the color of trees and water.
She tried to finish her homework before it got too dark to play evening games of kick-the-can and when everyone else was hidden and she forgot what to do. Then the streetlights went on and there was her mother’s voice calling her in.
She listened to people and savored the things they said, and the way they said things. She sang along with her favorite songs loud in the car with the windows down.
She went to college and felt really smart. She went to work and felt really stupid. She took care of her bills and her teeth. She bought really cool shoes and learned to drive. She vaulted forward.
She grew up and fell in love. She rocketed through the stages of liftoff, the friction of flight, the touchdown. She drank him in. She filled her nose with his scent and her mouth with his taste and her eyes with his gaze.
She would walk with him and watch the late afternoon sky slowly darken to deep evening blue and then suddenly become night. She would look away from him, close her eyes, and then look back just to be sure.
She saw the gray arrive and watched the younger ones move with a confidence she couldn’t remember. A day could pass from breakfast to dinner and there began to be in her an urgency.
She wanted to swim and ride her bike and lie under a tree where she could smell the dark soil and look up into the leaves to watch the light change. She wanted to feel cool mud and warm sun and forget that everything leaves.
She came to a place in the woods where the yellow leaves had fallen one at a time until all the ground was covered and she walked on a cushion of gold. She listened to the early morning whispers in the branches overhead – the voices of spirits. She filled herself with the smells and the quiet. Then she heard the birds begin to scratch around for breakfast.
The light changes, the morning moves on. She felt the soft ground underfoot and ran all the way home before she ran out of breath.