Sitting in front of the fire, a cool fall evening, and “Oh Baby,” she said, “Can you read me a thing like you read to me last night?” I felt the breeze play a kiss across my cheek, and leaving the other turned, poised and waiting for its brush, blinked in the lamp light and asked her “What? I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“The Big Love, Baby, that’s what I mean and you know it.” Her eyes sparkled like some wild thing’s.
The wounded thing subsides in the dream, circling thrice, curling up, and tucking its nose under its bushy tail. Looking out it gives her that last slow blink before hiding shining eyes in fashion resolute, determined to ignore, if just for the nonce, whatever life might yet decide to send down its path.
In that one glance, just in that one moment, she knew the thing loved her as no unscarred thing could do.
There in the dark, the essence of the silence, even the ring was held sway, a towering wave, a thing undeniable perhaps, but subject at once to the power of stillness. In that moment, in that silence, they would cling to a singular point of existence beyond time, beyond even the vaguest notion, that there was anything that could be lost.
Somewhere an alarm went off and a beast, an angel, and a vision bumped one another’s shoulders on the way into an after-work bar, any opportunities to effect, to further knowledge or cause foregone until whatever passed for tomorrow in these shadowy parts might roll around again, or not.
“Dew Point”, she said, “it’s almost here. Hurry now get inside before it’s too late!” He stopped, began to feel it in the sub-audible and steady, just starting to exert its influence, that crushing hideous strength they all feared, that weight of each gone thing of the thousand-thousand things, each sub atomic particle of existence, each moment of meaning, of information, of emotion, stacked endlessly deep and high … that thing. He hurried in.
Since the ghosts of moments had come to inhabit all this world’s condensation, dew point had come to rule the dark. It was now the one thing that could lay waste to any feeling organism, from paramecium to those beings well beyond human complexity. Synapses left flickering in the dark, minnows stranded on the bank, the greatest and the least, all subject, all same, all they said, that would be left of a mind.
He sat down with his coffee cup and glanced at his sister’s picture there beside him. She had been nineteen when the dew took her, right out there in the front yard. One moment she was laughing and cutting up, goofing about something he said. The next she just stopped and stared at him, at the cabin, like some wild and frightened thing before turning and running full bore into the brush. Just gone.
He had thought he might have seen her, a time or two, but he could never be sure. If it was her, she had learned to move differently – faster, quieter, and then just gone, a flip of hair, that same plaid shirt…gone. A couple of times he had even thought he found her foot prints around the cabin and he wondered if she could still be alive or could she perhaps remember him, remember her home, her place in the universe?
No one who knew could tell what became of their minds after the ghosts of the dew moved in. They were not entirely uncommunicative, didn’t seem to be inherently dangerous, just very unpredictable.
They acted as if only aware of things being or moving in this world peripherally, a vague side car window reflection in the rain. It was like they knew we were here, and with effort could look right at us, slightly out of focus or sync, even speak to us – all totally unintelligibly, their voices doing that phase-shifted thing, like sound or time where they were was not lining up with us, with our world.
But was it our world? He caught a whiff of cool humidity in the air and froze, then turned his head slowly to stare at the window; the one under which he had been sure he’d found her footprints, the one he broke as a kid, that never did get a proper new latch, the one… the one that was open.
The air was entirely different now. What was it he had worried about the cool fresh breeze? He couldn’t recall. He could see her there now though, just outside the window, just standing. She was looking right at him, and just smiling, just waiting.