The Calm and the Storm

I am a hairline crack in someone’s mug, absently brushed by a thin pointer finger as cold hands curl around the china. I am Murder, silently collapsing into myself again and again, becoming creases in the night’s velvet.

I am silent at breakfast this morning, tasting metaphors instead of the hazelnut creamer he pours into my coffee. He sits across from me with a sleep-drunk smile and pillow-soft hands, brushing back my bed-head hair and murmuring sleep-drunk-pillow-talk.

“You are vines,” he said, “you are wrapped around my torso and my mind.”

He is a house, steady foundation and inviting spaces, fireplace shoulders and hand-laid bricks; someplace you walk into and long to call home forever, except I’ve never been able to uproot the weeds that grow around those two words. He wants me to plant myself in his yard, to thrive along the sides of his stoic exterior, to be his beautiful captor. But if he was built to last, I was built to be his challenger.

I let him be the calm before my storm as I wait in still water. Eyes blinking lightening, words booming thunder, currents gathering while I sit at his kitchen table.

He is autumn and I peel him to the core of winter, the layers of gold and red and orange sliding gracefully to the tiled floor where they lie in clumps. And when my gaze finds his face again it is white and noiseless, a sky promising snow.

Afterward, I wake up alone and make my bed and drink my coffee black. I play jazz music in my car and read books in quiet rooms, but inside every sentence I am still screaming, and when I lay down to sleep at night I still feel riots instead of peace.

Sometimes I dream that we are at the ocean, me and him and waves that belong to the Atlantic instead of my mind. I dream that we are lying barefoot in the sand, bodies touching and motionless beneath some beautiful sunset. The calm returned, the storm apologizing and promising to forget itself.

Sometimes I dream that as he watches the horizon I begin to sink with the last pieces of the day, downward to be buried in the sand. And then I resurface in the darkened water, while he stands, waiting, on the shore, and when I find him I lift a hand to wave him into the water by my side, but then I notice the vines snaking around my feet and up my calves, and above me the clouds being to gather, the flashes and the rumbling stir calm into chaos and I realize that I was brought here to be trapped inside the storm, and that for him to follow would be to drown with me, so I drop my arm back under and suddenly the water is ice, the waves are gnawing teeth, my vines are blades and he is gone.

Contributor: Marina Kovacs-McCaney

Copyright © 2014 Marina Kovacs-McCaney. All Rights Reserved.

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