Friday, May 16, 2014

Falling Up

There were no clouds and so the sky felt limitless. It made her want to crouch low to the earth to keep from falling upwards into it. This would be impossible, she knew that, but her stomach still lurched with a strange sort of vertigo anyway.

"It might be around those three over there," she said to him as they walked through the maze of rocks and sand. "I remember the way that one crooked to the left."

Of course as soon as she said this she noticed two other rocks nearby that did the same thing, each looking just as familiar as the one they were headed towards.

"Look, we've been out here for an hour already. Train's leaving in fifteen minutes. We miss this one and we're stuck here overnight again," he said.

He hadn't even wanted to come here. "It's a bunch of sticking up rocks. Look at the tourist photo and you got the gist. Why do we need to spend a day traveling to see 'em?"

In the end they had come because she begged and he tended to give her her way. To her the rock field was other worldly--like standing on the edge of the moon or something--it was so foreign to any landscape she was used to, but there was something exciting about that. He didn't want to stare at a sea of rocks, but she was tired of staring at a sea of grass, stretched out across a farm that seemed vast when you first looked at it, but eventually your eyes adjusted and all you noticed were the fences, hemming you in. So she asked for this trip and once he realized how desperately she needed it, he agreed.

"Why would you take your bracelet off out here anyway? And then to set it's like you were determined to lose it or something," he grumbled as he kicked at the sand.

"My wrist was sweaty and it kept rubbing my skin. I was just trying to get some relief."

"What you need to do is learn to live with it," he said. "You can't be taking it off whenever you feel like it or this won't be the only time you'll lose it. It was my mother's. It's precious. You gotta treat it that way. Besides you know I can't get you a ring yet. That bracelet says you're mine until I can. Don't you want everyone to know that? Aren't you proud?"

She walked a little ways away from him so that she could look near the other two crooked rocks, make sure it wasn't by one of them. Plus it was easier to think when there was space between them. She let her hand skim the top of a huddled rock to her right. It looked curled in on itself. "Like me" she thought.

He folded his arms and looked up at the sun, now almost directly overhead. "Think, Lacey. Think hard. Where. Did. You. Leave. It?"

She studied him for a moment, the deep cleft in his chin that made him seem so manly when she first met him, the broad set of his shoulders, the flash of green in his hazel eyes that showed up only when he was angry. He was handsome. She still felt that in her chest and stomach, the little burst of nerves that made her heart go faster when she saw him, but it was milder than it used to be. Fading.

A glint of gold caught her attention, on the ground, just to her left. The bracelet was there, half covered in sand, just below the last crooked rock. She almost stooped to grab it, almost slid it onto her wrist and headed back to where he stood.

"We have to go," he said. "Five more minutes and it's lost for good." His lips pressed tight together and he squinted his eyes as he looked at her. "Come on, tell me you can remember where you left it. I can't get you another. That'll be that."

She pushed a bit of sand over the bracelet without thinking too hard about what she was doing. The bracelet was completely covered now. If she walked away, in a few minutes she would forget which rock it was by again. There were so many after all. And then they would never recover it. She could really feel it now, the falling feeling the sky engendered, but it didn't scare her like it had only a few minutes before. She straightened up, opening herself even more to it, her head buzzing as if it was full of bees. Maybe she really would fall up into the sky, now that she didn't have that bracelet weighing down her wrist. Maybe that would be okay. There weren't any fences up there, just uninterrupted blue and somehow, that seemed better. Falling might be just what she needed.

Story by: Amy Christine Parker
Picture from


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