Thursday, September 1, 2011

A fish in a tree

Why do they have to stand so close?  And the lights!  Sidle back, look away.  Breathing all the way in and all the way out to quell the rising panic as the walls lean in. 

Every day so long with their piercing eyes and talking, talking, talking.  Try to look iris to iris like they do but it's too much, this visual sex with every person you meet.  Make the effort to hold a gaze and feel a steady flush creeping up the body until it burns like a flare across the cheek, marking you.  Pretend it's not there and no one can see, no one can see, but they're so close, why are they always so damn close!  Bolt out of the chair, babbling excuses as the escape is made.

"Everything is just too hard for you, isn't it?" she sneers, but it is.  This shared air is poison and somehow you make it through every day, following their rules as closely as you can stand, shaking with the strain of it.  Gritting your teeth against the constant noise shrieking across your mind, jangling through your head, spinning everything into brilliant screaming chaos.

And finally it's over. The clear cool night air washes over you as the stars keep their quiet distance.  You pencil the flashlight across the page, the liquid elegance of the equations smoothing raw nerves.  Put the astrophysics away for now and flip idly through your new issue of The Journal of Neuroscience until blissful sleep raises its comforting arms.  Sinking gratefully into the velvet unpeopled void.  Silence at last.

* * * * *

I wrote this for the Indie Ink challenge.  Joe Sanders challenged me with "Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." - Albert Einstein.  I challenged Alisha with "Write from the perspective of someone who doesn't understand him or herself at all."


  1. wow, some really good stuff. I think thats a great start to something. You have got a talent for writing

  2. Awesome. This reminded me of how I feel everyday at work. Trapped in conversations with people I don't like or respect, being forced to interact and be social. I hate that. I ADORE the "unpeopled void" when I come home.

    Love the "visual sex" description...very vivid and something I've thought of before when looking into another's eyes.

  3. A good character study. I love that quote too from Einstein.

    I'm over from Shah's Weekend Hop. Hope to see you around.


  4. The contrast of astrophysics & soltitude vs. the social explosion of the initial scene piqued my interest. I reread it a number of times, as the image danced in my head. Great stuff!

  5. I really enjoyed reading this. I have had these same thoughts and feelings; but have never found the right words to describe them. You really are an amazing writer, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.


Lend me some sugar!