As far back as she could remember, she had always wanted to run away. Not run away from any place in particular, not run away to anywhere special. Just run. Away.
Here wasn’t necessarily bad. She had figured out early that as long as she kept putting one foot before the other, the most impossible objects tended to collapse into negotiable substitutes. Here wasn’t necessarily good, either. But she reasoned, locations were not the issue. Nor were circumstances. Things usually average out into banal-grey if you let them be, long enough. Pain was interesting, a different dimension, but if you reach out, really reach out and twiddle with the knobs outside space-time, it too, could lose its lustre. She always imagined three little wheels on a not-quite-wall, though she had never discovered what the one in the middle actually did.
In the end, she had made up Kawi. She knew he was imaginary, that imaginary meant that it was not in this reality, but after all these years, as Kawi kept growing up with her, it didn’t matter. Not everything has to make sense to everyone. Though, now there were things even Kawi didn’t know. Not after he had broken down, twice, acting like a sappy drama lead, saying he was in love. She wondered why she had imagined that scene, twice. And why twice, she couldn’t imagine an answer. Was love the last mystery? Or the first reality? She didn’t want to ask Kawi that question. Not now.
Then, the night of the after-storm, she decided to run away. Not from here. Not to there. She considered leaving Kawi behind. That would mean, if a detective did turn up, that she had not actually left here. Not really run away, at least. Why wouldn’t she take Kawi if she were running away? Why wouldn’t Kawi take her? But, detectives were not trained to see the obvious. Kawi said looking for the mysterious was an inferred science, not an empirical art form. Also, where would she go, if she wasn’t going anywhere? Where was anywhere, if it wasn’t a place that someone was going to? Who was she?
Then there was the issue with the note. All running away requires the leaving of a note, Kawi said. No one owns a pen anymore, she argued. Just text someone, but then, text whom? And this was not running away, was neither from nor to anywhere, so technically a note would only complicate it. Kawi won in the end, as he normally did, and a note was conceived. Written with a fountain pen, of course. Who wrote the note of their non-lives or the rest of their lives with anything else? “Running away. Don’t look for me,” was dropped after much consultation. So was “I run, therefore I am.” Kawi finally wrote a long-ish memo that said even though they were running away, no one could really run because at every moment you are actually somewhere and that is a kind of present-stillness. So they were just going to creating a series of alternative stillnesses.” Somehow, this made the most sense. Kawi was sad as he wrote the note. He held her hand tightly, she could tell he needed comforting. In the single line of light that came in from the windows, his silhouette folded into three, framing his desk. A caricature. A product of the angle of light. Or night. She patted his head gently. It was time to go.
She realized the next morning that someone had found the note. Someone screamed. They hadn’t even left. She was still there in her usual place, still wanting to run away, still not clear why or why not. People were rushing in. Someone pushed her and she fell, head first on to the ground. She saw the feet, upside-down feet. Fluffy bedroom rabbit-slippers, blue and white rubber slip-ons, creaseless black leather work shoes in which the ceiling fan was turning, rapidly.
People were shouting Kawi’s name. Shaking him. He seemed not to be moving. Rabbit-slippers was crying. A wedge heel clicked its way into the room, into a hysteric pause. The heel stepped on her face, uncaring. The mud from the wet walkway staining the velvety pink of her cotton-stuffed cheek.
#flash #fiction 7
A flash fiction piece to kickstart February. I post poems on instagram sometimes that don’t make their way to this blog, so if you’re on the gram, do follow @tp_poetry for regular updates.