Back to "Now she's in my doorway, accusing me with her soft breasts and long legs, strong hips." 9. story-part



Under my feet, the gravel is sliding. I wonder if I'm running too fast, too hard. I wonder how come I have the capacity to ask myself that. I shouldn't be this fast,
nor this strong. Time has weakened us consistently. Her more than me, yet, still; I am no longer who I was. I have grown weary, not old. They say she's a burden to carry,
they say she's too heavy to hold, they say she'll crush me by sheer weight of heart and eat my bones. Where did I sign up for this shit? I don't care what they say.
But in her mind, they are running eternal tracks of nonsense and spite, and I can't fucking outrun them.
My feet break into the concrete, slash the turns, slide across the edges and barely make the corners. I'm not really very gallant, nor very tough. Just so terribly stubborn. And I can pretty well defend anything as long as they'll let me stand still. Yeah, that's what I used to do. She built a castle around herself, a crumbling ruinous mansion. Walls taller than her imagination could drive them. Isabelle needed to hide. So I hid her.

They said we'd never get there. They said I wasn't really all that strong. They said she was going to crumble up in a pool of sorrow and die. I don't remember ever doing anything but fighting. But it's alright, she said. It's alright like this, she said. She said she got me. And I'm a big excuse for a sorry loser in a world that cannot even see me.

The gravel is sliding, slippery, turning to mud. In my arms, Isabelle, all limp. With every move, every turn of muscle and bone to lift us one step further, her head bounces against my chest. Her eyes flutter and flap like tired butterflies, jerking all open and then slowly falling back shut. I'd lie now and say the rain matted her hair this badly, but it hasn't rained. She's running a fever and the sweat is washing over her. Her pores stink like fear, like fur, rubbed the wrong way. I wonder if her pupils are dilated. I wouldn't dare look to check; my feet have got to be on the ground, rhythmic movement.

In the back of my mind I envision Isabelle, she's barely five. We're admiring the blackberry bushes, the little swing in the corner. In the background, I can hear her brother shovelling in the dirt. Our father is somewhere in this memory, but I can't find him anymore. I took Isabelle back to his home, back to the country with the wide open forests and shallow valleys. She danced in the corridor. I thought her safe under the gaze of his tired old mongolian eyes. Too late I found her suffocating from the same memories, the same past and the same lies.
I am running now. Isabelle can't move, won't speak a word. We've been running for too long.

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