comet dust (and other small things)

His fingers trace the lines of her collarbones by memory, coming around to her shoulder, down the smooth skin of her arm. Her fingers twitch when he glosses over them. “Hm.”

“You’re awake?”

“I am now.” She turns over to face him, and his fingers never leave their spot; they trail her naked wrist, her lower back, around her hips. He moves to rest on her upper thigh. She moves closer.

“Tell me again,” he says. “About home.”

“You woke me up for this—”

“Please.” There had been no irritation in her voice. At his plea, she sighs into him. Breath leaves her nostrils every time his chest sinks. “Just one more time. Just the things we’ve gone over before.”

“You say that every time,” she says, but she begins anyways. In the dead of night over the sound of quiet traffic, her tired voice recounts all the delicacies of a small village town that once resided by the full-moon lake. The shrine, a key part of the village’s culture, kept the population aware of the concepts within lore: the braided cords, handmade thread, the ritual of sake for the wine god

“and musubi. Connectedness.” A pause. “Matchmaking, in extreme cases.”

She breathes a few times, moving to speak of the lush forestry and the path she had taken to visit the shrine god, sweaty after each visit. She spoke of her sister with her hair in mismatched hair elastics and her grandmother with small spectacles. This was where she had expected to grow up for the rest of her life, she says, again and again. She brings up the two bridges he knows of that cross the river and streams, and of the café

“although it was only ever one vending machine. And a bench and table. Someone had made it over the course of one night—”

“—but you’re unsure who,” he completes. She never tells the stories in the same order as the last, but he knows them all by heart anyways. Sometimes, he feels as though he’s there with her, experiencing everything she had experienced, all the way up until the world splits between the earth and sky and the birds change their migration patterns for the better.

[ . . . ]

She is half asleep when she mutters: “Do you still dream?”

He always dreams; he never stops dreaming. She’s talking about the ones where he visualizes—he doesn’t draw as much anymore, but every so often he will sketch something from a dream. It’ll be four in the morning and she’ll wake up from the click of the beside lamp to watch him scribbling madly on the first bit of paper he can find with the first writing utensil he can grab. He’ll sketch it, he’ll slide it across air and into her lap. She’ll name the exact location and a memory she had with it as a child.

“Sometimes,” he finally answers. Into the silence, he adds, “The longer I dream about them, the fewer questions I have.”

A lie.

Somewhere, a comet splits. Somewhere, the fragmented self finds its way back. They collide and the impact is so colossal, so deafening, that it passes unnoticed over a small bedroom in the heart of Tokyo.


Header image taken from the movie Kimi no na wa (Your Name) (2016), directed by Makoto Shinkai

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8 mar 18 | 7:46pm

The last train pulled out of the station at 2:58am. It dropped you off on the barren platform, incessant flickering lights bathing the platform in a strobelight trance. You take in your surroundings.

this is a connecting terminal to the end of your life

You’re almost there – just a few more transfers before you make it to the end. You turn to look for the schedule, but the screen that should be lit with arrivals and departures stares blankly back at you. Inside, above the ticket booth, the clock chimes for the beginning of the witching hour; the lights dim and fade to nothingness.

you remain; in darkness; among a staticked silence 

You sit inside the shelter. You would have to wait until morning.

the schedule to transport souls does not work this late

(At least the chairs are more comfortable than the airport ones, when you were once alive.)

start.

walk left. turn right. you are on your way to something of great proportions.

open doors. you are ready to acquire necessary knowledge.

open doors. turn left, turn right, this little piggy loses all the information on her way home.

success! you must [enter] the city.
Enter/ the city>
the city>
the city>
the>city>>thec>ity>th>ecitythecitythecit>yyyyy
>>///

Error: The City Has No More Space. Please Try Again Later.

Missed Connection

The buses were running late. Again.

The boy looked up from his phone, hoping to see the 35 Jane in view from the station. The weather had been all over the place in more recent Toronto days; it threw him off when he passed the turnstiles inside the station and saw a deep, dark blue colouring the sky despite the steady temperature of ten degrees. There was a crowd of people waiting to get onto this 35. He rocked on his heels, his hands in the pockets of his navy puffer vest, for what felt like an eternity.

The 35D turns into the station and the boy immediately decides to take the following bus. It was getting late, sure, but he knows he has a long ride ahead of him, and he wants to have a chance at grabbing a seat. There’s still a fairly large crowd when the following bus, the 35A, pulls in. He enters through the front, gives a small nod to the driver, and heads straight for the back of the bus. He picks the middle seat in a three-seater, keeping his Herschel duffel bag on his lap as to not disturb the girl beside him.

It was easy to tell from his smile that he thought she was pretty. She wore grey leggings and a red blouse, concealed mostly by a large plaid scarf that covered her entire upper body. Her dark hair was loosely pinned away from her olive-toned face. Her headphones matched her outfit, the cord connecting to an unseen device, and a gridded sketchpad sat on her lap, on top of a black laptop case, and a non-photo blue pencil in her hand. He watched her work away for several stops, flipping between pages on pages of larger grids encasing sketched designs.

The boy couldn’t stop smiling. He took his phone out from his pocket, angling it so it wasn’t obvious that he was taking a picture of her, her left hand, and her sketches. He slid his phone into her peripheral. Her eyes glanced away from her work—it was only for a second—but she took a second look before a small smile creeped onto her face and she moved an ear pad behind one ear. “Wow.”

“You’re really good at drawing,” he said. “What are you working on?”

The girl’s face seemed to light up in the mixed lighting of the bus. “It’s just a couple designs for a video game. I mean”—she flipped to a page she was working on only a few minutes earlier—“this one is. These are some of the background ideas. For the scenery, obviously.”

“What else do you do?” he asked, shifting his bag so that he could rest his elbows on it. The action also seemed to give her hand more room to sketch, which she did the a panel of another page.

“There are a few things.” She paused and rolled her eyes, but the smile never left her face. “I’m in graphic design, so I have to be able to draw a few things. It isn’t a problem for me, but it’s a lot of work.”

The two of them continued to talk about her sketches for a few more minutes before the boy’s attention was taken away by the ding of the STOP button. The boy looked up just as the bus slowed, its doors opening for other passengers to enter and exit. He stood up quickly. “Oh, this is my stop—but keep drawing, your art is amazing!”

“Thank you,” the girl half-called out, but the boy had already pushed through passengers, out the back door and walking towards his destination. It was another while before the girl got off the bus, but the entire time she was sketching, a smile remained on her lips.


This piece was originally written for a creative non-fiction class taken from September to December of 2015. It has been revamped since then. 

16 Oct 17 | 11:03pm

do not sit in empty seats on streetcars after dusk.

(others are already sitting there)

do not disturb the air that shimmers around
park benches.

(they may be waiting for their lover/s)

alert the crosswalks. let the quiet streets know
you are passing by with the press of a button.

(you don’t want your soul to be hit by
one of their vehicles)

 

— when you take care of ghosts, they will take care of you —

for the broken king in the golden cage;

pale hands grip the countertop until knuckles are white and fingertips numb. he sees himself as broken and ruined, as a dark being that won’t measure up to anything unless he moulds himself into the way the world would love him best. his mind is a blue sky free of clouds; his metal heart is coated in age-old rust.

fair skin like fair hair like faded eyes like bright eyes and golden hair and glowing skin — he does not realize he has always been golden. his heart thrums in its gilded cage, believing that it cannot leave in fear of being more fragile than he thought. his golden soul is troubled with its shine, for it needs more than elbow grease to radiate pure light. why must you weep tears made of black tar for a heart that is only temporarily oxidized, Golden King?

why do you lessen your value where you are worth the most?