short story : midnight wander

The suddenly beautiful night

quentin de brieyphoto courtesy of quentin de briey, taken in paris.

I could never describe it accurately which might be why I want to try. Only that my eyes told me my body was too tired, floating before I knew any better. I took the path of least resistance and retreated inside the walls of my muscles, letting my concerns wash over me, stopping the fight to be present.

My boot heel missing a sole clipped down the empty night streets like a poorly shoed horse – rhythmic, pleasing, gaited.

Eyes squeezed into themselves under the translucent lights of the metro station. In a folding seat I felt a line of perspiration slide down my calf from behind my kneecap. Tucked behind my ears my hairline held a quiet closet of dampness against my neck.

Pleasure washed over my body. From tiredness, heat, strangers, slumped body, disappearing into the night. Beginning to shutter down into just sentiment.

Time passed as color through my eyelids. Blues. Orange. The escalator brought me back into the night, darker, more explicit. Body trundled up the street without me – completely unattached to earth except for my boots, louder and uneven now.

A wind that followed the street like a low-bellied river blew my hair away from my neck – cooling the sweat, emptying the heat chambers of my skin in a wash of release.

I felt so without myself, connected only to the bits of sediment  on the curbs through downcast eyes, barely open now. Footsteps behind me, unmenacing, part of night. I wondered if this was me if I didn’t have to take myself everywhere. If I were asleep, but my body kept going. I could walk and walk and walk if there wasn’t me, too.

All the lights in my staircase were off. I climbed the wooden stories marked by open windows with the rising sense of joy that my apartment would be completely empty and I would be empty with it.

A body reclined behind closed eyes, cold-pressed muscles elongated over a reckless sheet.


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