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Staring At A World Gone By by Richard M. Ankers

I'm staring at a world gone by, laughing without reason or want. There are people on the pathways and cars on the street, but they hide behind the net curtains like the ghosts of memories lost. The wan sunlight does nothing to illuminate this scene, furthering the illusion of a realm passing me by. This is how I live daily. This is the window on my life.

Fridays are happy days. Children, relieved to have left a week's schooling behind them, rush home without even a thought to the footballs they carry like forgotten, severed heads, though their phones still beep out annoyances. Commuters follow soon after, pensive faces daring to dream. A grocery delivery is the last to breach my pre-lunch view, accompanied by a cacophony of clattering boxes and rustling bags. If ever an apple was to leave the van unbruised, I'd eat one, but it won’t. As the sun sets and the dog walkers return from the park, a change settles upon the scene. The last vestiges of daylight dissipate, and I peel back the net curtains just a smidge. Twilight looms.

The bats are fast, unseen to all except one who looks for them, and I know just where to look. They stand out like reckless shadows as they flit past the tangerine streetlight beyond my low garden wall, that which pretends to protect me.

Next comes the old fox. I know it’s the same one as always for the limp that curses it never to run free again. I mirror his infirmity, if not his particular ailment, though he tries, as do I. The fox takes the digestive biscuit my neighbour places on my path each evening so as not to get crumbs on her own, and he savours every morsel. Actually, that's an old romantic's lie; it devours it in one gulp. The fox then limps away, leaving me wondering if I'll ever see him again.

There are other creatures that venture forth from lost birds who believe each light a miniature sun, never sleeping, never ceasing to chirp, to plagues of midges, and a crow that wipes its beak upon the window ledge as though in disgust. Several cats make a pass of my garden, the first ridding me of the tiresome black bird, as if they own it, which they sort of do. I tap on the glass like God on a storm cloud, but like those other lesser beings he rules, the cats ignore me.

The hours pass as a drunken haze, though I'm never drunk, as I never drink. I sit and I wait as the paint peels around me until the night is at its deepest and obsidian has taken hold. There is no tumult now. All is becalmed.

She is a breath upon the breeze, nothing more and nothing less. An insignificant frost upon the night air, she enters the street and drifts my way. She is a dream upon my soul, a delight upon my darkness, and I want her more than ever. I reach out, pass what once was skin through the glass without fear or pain, but she does not see it. She never sees it. The girl, Gwen, though Gwendolyn to all but me, is as lost as a fairy in a nightmare, my nightmare. She soon glides away.

The burned-out house I occupy resets each dawn, as do I. Nobody sees it because nobody wants to, although this no-body wants to see it more than anything else. Does she look for me as I do her? Is it even really Gwen at all? The same questions ad infinitum, as I sit staring at a world gone by. There are no answers, and I'm not sure if I'd want to hear them.

I begin to laugh, as I do at the start of every single day.

3 Σχόλια

Caught mind's eye, reeled it in, baked it for lunch.

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09 Μαρ 2023

Beautiful and melancholic writing.

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Eric Janzen
Eric Janzen
09 Μαρ 2023

Love this piece. “I tap on the glass like God on a storm cloud…,”. Great line

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