Ethan outlasted the beginning. After a few sighs and hiccups, it was over. He was in the middle now, the widest part, as wide as the Mekong in October. This middle part is where treetops look like islands and when dreams let you fly.

His past was littered with bits of himself, he felt that he had crumbled at the edges of the path. Sometimes, when he had been too tired to carry on, he sat and let the wind blow off the loose flakes of remorse. When the wind made him smooth again, he continued on until he arrived at a place that made his eyes leak. The poverty and longing affected his being. Then the loss and melancholy rippled with the emotions and he found himself retracing his steps for the lost pieces. He didn't want to let them go,

"Even if they grow," he thought, "They might grow into things people uproot and discard… and forget about."

His emotions washed through him spin cycle like and he spun around folding his shirt, rationalizing his absurd attachment as a means to be prepared. He walked back, gathering the pieces as he put them into the fold of his shirt. He stared and pondered each piece with the blasé guard he had toward art. He knelt and delicately picked up bundles of himself. The road was dirt red like canyons in Moab and his pieces fell in conflux groups with long journeys between masses of constellated landmarks. The rubble was heavy and as he encountered each piece, the tears from his eyes fell into the variegated pile of his past.

At some point of the delirious journey, the shirt gave way to weight and wetness and split the cotton weave. Ethan tried in vain to save his past as it spilt through the broken dam. He arched his back and bent his knees and hiked up the shirt at the tattered ends to no avail. The pieces of him rocked into a piled conundrum of angst sweat reality and he knew that the fraction of his past he collected was a miniscule amount. The pieces he wanted most were too far away in places unknown, with someone who no longer has them. Ethan knelt near a apple tree among gnarled roots. He cried and his knees began to sink in the mud.

The tree was an old elm and around the mud clover and dandelions thrived in the shade. The mosaic yellow and white faded into Ethan and he knew his immediate fate. He stood, with mud on his knees and picked up the top piece of himself from the purged pile. He held the rock tight in his clenched hand. Veins in his arm marked the distance he had to throw, but a too big part of himself placed the piece in his pocket. This was the most recent piece and it was red and green blotched and from Lake Superior. He wanted this one. The next he threw and he watched it skip in the dirt, a cloud of red dust rolling in the wake as it skidded to a stop. Ethan threw the next and the next, rotating in a circle. When he was exhausted and the pieces of himself lay dormant in a radius he created himself, he worked the piece in his pocket through his cotton shorts and let it dribble over his knee to the ground. Ethan heard it thud to the earth. He walked back to the middle.

He walked back thinking of that circle of pieces of his past and the ripples a rock makes when it plunks in water. The walk was brief and brisk. He arived back at the middle with time to spare. Ethan thought of his littered past and laughed out loud for the miracle he was enchanting. The sky thundered with the blissful bouquet of dusk, mule rue blue sediment setting on the river of the horizon. This was his abyss to tread in floating all the while. The middle wasn't the crutch he expected and the only time he sunk was when he thought of the weight of the far away pieces of himself.

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