Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Boxing Day

Carve - 390 words
Sarah Van Name

“You can carve up anything with a knife,” he said with a wolf’s grin as he showed off the blade between his fingers. He whipped it shut with a satisfying click. “I could cut out your eyes!” He reached over to grab her glasses and she wriggled away, laughing and only a little unnerved, but his hands ended up around her waist and he pulled her closer. “But seriously. Thanks, baby, I like it a lot.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I would never cut out your eyes.” He reached up to smooth back a stray hair. “They’re too beautiful.”

“Cheeseball,” she said, and laughed, and swung away from him like a boomerang.

It was the day after Christmas and warm, almost hot, so she was wearing the dress he had bought her (with the help of his mother) and the park was empty. She sat down on a swing and pushed herself back and forth. He was still dangling his legs over the edge of the play structure. He looked at her going higher and higher, her long hair unraveled by gravity and wind, and wanted to say something but didn’t know what.

But that feeling was okay – he took a certain level of confusion for granted when it came to her, and began to cut a crooked heart into the wooden column with the idea of putting their initials around it. “Look, see,” he shouted to her, “you can cut anything with this knife!”

And as she felt the forces of gravity and wind, and watched the way his eyes squinted into the brightness of the sky, she wanted to say something but didn’t know what.

“No,” she shouted back, “you can’t.”

If she’d been able to find the words, she might have told him that you can’t cut air, or water, or time.

If he had been a poet, or older, he might have caught her on the downswing and told her that he wanted to save that day –the warmth of the sky on her skin and her new cotton dress – and cut away a piece of it to relive in later years. And she could have told him that it was impossible.

You can’t carve happiness. Happiness can only leap from place to place, of its own accord and shining, like a child playing hopscotch in the sun.

Crystalised - the xx