I remember Winter, now.

Even the rain refuses to collide with the house, droplets on the window pane fleeing upward, bustling past each other in the effort to escape. The sun mumbles an unconvincing protest at the presence of clouds, no doubt more than happy at their timely obstruction. The snow should melt at this onslaught from the heavens, but there is no snow. People think Winter is about snow, but there is no joy to be had from Winter. I know, I’ve tried to prise it from Her cold dead fingers. All She did was laugh.
Have you ever heard the dead laugh?

I’m sure you have. At 3am, when you’re two hours from home and it feels like the only heat in the world is coming from the lights of passing cars. When you’re switching off the bedside lamp and it only goads the wind into screaming louder, and the shifting figure beside you is one you no longer know. That’s not a scream, its a laugh.

Ah, but the house. Strange. I have tried in vain to find a moment free from it’s imprint on my mind, yet now as I hope for a release through these words, it hides from me.

And the rain, fighting to find a more direct route through my jacket, clinging to the branches above me with an inhuman ferocity. I feel safe on this side of the street, but I still shudder involuntarily at the thought of putting my foot on the tarmac. The light in the upstairs window is on. The irony of it should be funny. A light. A window. Yet everything around it is darker because of it. As dark as an abyss. But the abyss doesn’t scare me. I’ve stared into it so many times, its like looking at my face in the mirror. Not the abyss, no. It’s the window that scares me.
I imagine floating up, peering in from the refuge of shadow. Hearing the stumbling footsteps, as he makes his way up the stairs. The slurred voice whispering a name, as a young girl gathers her duvet tighter around her. I can hear what she’s thinking. Its louder then the rain, louder then Winter’s laugh. If I’m quiet enough, maybe I can be invisible, maybe he won’t see me. Again, he breathes the name, makes it sound like it belongs to him. But it doesn’t, it belongs to me.
And I’m not in that room anymore, not for a long time. I’m standing across the street, trying to steal strength from somewhere, anywhere. Hand in pocket, my fingers curl around the handle. It tells me my next step, but doesn’t give me the strength to take it. I close my eyes, smell the gin on his breath, feel those calloused hands stripping me away one night at a time, his cloying breath on my neck; and take a step forward.
Tarmac. Sidewalk. Grass. Porch. Front door. And I’m home.
But Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. Jack pours himself another, something with a kick.
And this, this is the house that Jack built.

~ by tenmiles on October 13, 2005.

6 Responses to “I remember Winter, now.”

  1. Please remind me again, for like, the 3000th time… why do you not have a book published? Some of the images that your words have the ability to conjure is riveting. There is quiet, dark resolve spiraling throughout.

    There are certain things that, when I read them, I have difficulty recognizing the origin. Meaning… are you the one luring and caressing the words into literary compliance or are they doing it to you?

    Off to re-read; still have chills from the first time.

  2. When you’re switching off the bedside lamp and it only goads the wind into screaming louder

    I like that!

  3. If this is what you were talking about, when you said you were going to be serious … 500+ words of perfection. And you have thousands more … I agree with liveWire … a publishing house is your next stop, dude.

  4. I’ll pretend to believe you’re annoyed when people quote your words back to you, but everybody knows you’re really not… =o) This is my favorite part:

    “But the abyss doesn’t scare me. I’ve stared into it so many times, its like looking at my face in the mirror.”


  5. Wow. I’m speechless (although luckily not type-less)

    Great image of the light in the window making everything so much darker. A candle may give light, but it also creates so many shadows.

  6. Yow! Great writing, man. Scary as hell.

    So does that mean you’re joining NaNoWriMo? 😉

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