The Lens

~ playing with light and shadow using the Instagram Slumber Filter. Envisioning  canvas art.


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She was so close. Amber specks haloed the inky pupils of her eyes, glimmered, blind siding him. What was it about her face? Symmetrical yet one calculation off as if  a sculptor’s cautious touch, slipped and pressed her left brow. This slight lent her a curious look, a spark of perpetual surprise. She listened to everything with a kind of mental squint.

In youth, he’d coveted beauty, chased perfection. She was unlike the others. He had tried to forget. It was in dreams she returned, his angel of mercy and despair.

Time had been a friend. The tilt of her head remained, one brow slightly arched, as if questioning every word he spoke. Her hair was longer than he recalled. Strands rippled over her cheeks and shoulders, reminding him of bygone days: the mid seventies, bandanas, protest and bloody peace. Rock and roll. They had skipped stones across the surface of the lake. She couldn’t throw; he had taught her to look for the skinniest rock, to wrangle with force and gravity.

The truth was he didn’t need her back in his life. In another time, her eyes had been the forest he fell, lost in. It was her familiar terrain that still held him, captive.

She was still hesitant, on the run, perpetually lost. Until today.

Justus Black wanted to reach across the table and grab ahold of her wrist. She could stay. This time, he’d follow her.

Yet, she looked past him, to a space somewhere faraway, somewhere on the knife-edge of time. Her eyes held an all-knowing calm. As if she had a plan or a map.  

He knew her better than this. How many days past, had she tossed her worries to the wind, only to have them blow back?  

Long ago, they had tripped over one another. It wasn’t random. Over the years, a voice had wormed through his head- find her. She was the thread he needed to clutch.

“There you go,” he had said.

She stood and nodded. A sideways smile betrayed her brave.

He had watched as a lock of hair tousled and lay upon her cheek. His fingers fisted his palm, suppressing the urge to push her hair aside and pull her close.

“Thank you,” she said as she lowered her gaze. “Take care.”

In a moment she was gone, swallowed by nightfall. He should have walked her to the car.

It wasn’t over. The stack of papers, the scribbled notes, the pressing questions with no definitive answers, littered his work space and mind.  He slammed his fist on the desk, grabbed the papers, and stuffed her memory into a file folder.

~ excerpt from a scene