It’s Monday. Or Tuesday. Maybe Wednesdaythursdayfriday. Weekend. Week begin. 10 years go by. My floor needs cleaning. I return to my room. My bed. My sheets.
The air tastes stale. But I’m used to it.
My children understand things. Nick thinks that being too smart to work would be a fine thing. He finds a costume he wore in a play, and emerges from his room. Romeo in wine silk and gold. He could not find the under shirt, so his monkey print pajamas show beneath his sash and puffy sleeves. His hair hangs on his forehead like sand on a weathered beach.
My prince. I have made you costumes of red and gold, and sewn tapestry ribbons to your sleeves. You will not do chores. You will sit in front of fires and read new books that I give you so that you will love the same words that I do. If you have a new book, you are rich, even if you have overdrawn your bank account. You will learn these things.
Sid, Isaac, Eve, Able, Henry and Jude are strewn about the living room like so much wrapping paper. Henry and Jude talk about a band they were in during high school. Sid and Tim talk about a band they were in during high school. Eve and Able talk about a band Sid and Tim were in during high school.
“Why does Nick have a crown?” his brother asks, and I say, “ssshhhh.”
“How many times have I told you not to make noise when daddy’s casting spells?” Hunter wants a crown too, so he puts a bucket on his head.
Everyone is reciting names.
“Have you seen Roxanne lately?” “Remember Rose?” “God. I ran into Casey on Tuesday…”
There’s no shape left on this ceiling. There’s no body. There are no legs. It’s all just blank. I stand up and walk out. I walk out the door and run down the stairs. I run through the front door and down the street. I turn left and then right. It’s cold outside. It’s oddly peaceful.
I run across the highway and down one of those endlessly stretching streets unique to the small town lower class. I run by a chain link fence of the middle school where I used to run the mile in six minutes. Flat. The gate is open, but no one is there. My lungs hurt a little. White clouds escape from between my old lips. Images of everyone I’ve ever known are dancing on hills of sand. I hit my front yard. The grass is covered in cobwebs of frost. My streetlight bulb has exploded.
I am on the sidewalks now looking down the open length of road that runs through the horizon. They are butterfly hunters. They think that they must catch you while you are flying, and press down on you until you are still. Impale you on a pin and tape a label beneath you and keep you under glass so that you never fly away.
I think the label would say this: genius wacko. morte. Hell yes, but dont my wings look fucking amazing? Impale me. I am dying here. I am dying. The words float into space.
I throw my wineglass into the fireplace to watch it shatter in the flames. It makes a beautiful sound. “Make a wish,” I wish for the moments passing me. Here they are, and there, in a circle of firelight. December with dark garnets crowning us and buckets on our heads and velvet rustling and wine and spells cast in sparkling shards of gold etched glass.
Nobody else can ever drink from that glass, or take that wish from my mouth.