A Story in Three Parts

He stood at the kitchen window drinking coffee on a cold morning. A tall shrub obscured his view of all but the sky and the high limbs of bare trees. And so he looked up to a winter sky like white drawing paper smeared with graphite by the palm of a hand--beautifully textured, pale and irregular. He didn't often look up. 

The day before, he was watching the ground as he took a cold windy walk in the woods at dusk. He was startled to walk up on three deer, and then he could see three more. All were stopped in their tracks. He held a gaze with one for a long time.... And then he took slow steps to skirt them. A rabbit bounded deeper into the woods, a pale white tail arcing as it retreated. He walked, looking over his shoulder and not at the ground. A simple thing; a common thing, deer in the woods at dusk. But it chipped at the wall around his heart a little bit; a wall he'd been building these last months so he could undertake the preparations to move to this cold northern place ... with shrub-obscured views and deer-filled parks. In the cold it occurred to him as he walked away from that encounter that he wasn't quite ready for his heart to thaw ... because it is going to hurt when it does.

This morning, a cold sleet fell as he watched an indescribable sunrise in his rearview mirror that filled the thin horizon beneath the clouds and sent a pale magenta glow clear across the heavy sky. And then, beyond reason, there was a rainbow in the west, tinged pink. A rainbow in the middle of a dawn sleet. What should have been a dreary fucking morning tore his heart wide open. And it hurt.

 

Ann Arbor, MI