By Jennifer S. White
Her fingers are coarse from the dry winter air.
She rubs them together absentmindedly; running the careful grooves of one finger whirl against another.
She spreads her arms out wide to her side—her thin, forming wings—and then drops them limply—suddenly—back to her sides. A casual body prayer—as she inhales and raises them and exhales and lowers them again—that her life is moving forward; that she’s dropping the flimsy slipcovers of her past, right here, right now.
Right now is sunshine through the large window pane that she looks out, dancing with one hand cockily placed in her tight-jeans pocket and the other holding a glass filled with wine the color of spring sunshine. She takes a sip and closes her eyes, feeling her hair graze the back of her neck, as her hips sway unconsciously to the music steadily drumming behind her, with her late-evening shadow.
The lyrics touch her, gently, but they don’t pierce her soul.
She likes it, because when they do inch that tightly to her needy stomach, she loses herself completely to the imagery of another wordsmith, rather than to her own present, stationary situation.
The CD changes in the stereo that her husband has owned since back when they dated, before they were husband and wife, when the disc-player cost a lot but was completely worth it because they loved music so much their gooseflesh hurt.
They still do like music that much, only now their money more easily goes towards girls’ clothes and new socks and the best spinach at the grocery store.
She moves, the heels of her feet slowly thumping up and down to the rhythm of the different artist’s songs and she sees, at her toes, her smallest daughter lying in a perfect stream of lowering sunlight, sucking on the end of a stuffed caterpillar tail. Her eldest daughter smiles and hugs her daddy tightly, completely clueless that these sorts of evenings are for anything but families of four and pre-dinner dancing; totally and wonderfully ignorant of anything besides her own early beginnings.
She looks lightly at the setting sun, but her heart sears—burns—with the picture of this moment.
She tattoos it onto her breast and feels the drumming of her fingertips—leaking out into black-and-white lettered words—becoming slower and slower and slower until it stalls, and the sunny hope of spring fills entirely her winter-achy belly.
Editor: Dana Gornall