Arori (third installment)

That night was the most fantastic and terrifying thing I had ever seen. Raining golden, red, and amber sparklers is a wonderful image but terrible in actual reality. And as much as it scared me, I couldn’t avoid it. It would be too cliche to compare it to the sensation of not being able to look away from a train wreck. And really not much very like it. The experience was something more comparable to when something happens and you’re just caught there, in that moment. You can feel time spinning around you but those whole few seconds open up to you as if you were meant to see it. You have to look not because you’re intruding, like a person gawking at somebody in a car crash, but because it’s like it’s happening inside you. It’s hard to explain but once it happens you just know. And that was why I had to wander back out into the street again the next night.

afterglow art backlit bokeh
Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

The potholes still had rainwater in them from that afternoon. I put my hands into the pocket of my hoody as I strolled down the street, just looking, hoping for something. I walked and walked but the sky was too cloudy and every time I thought I got a glimpse of the moon is was covered up by another cloud. Nothing changed the  rest of the week. Every time I went out and every time, nothing.

I chalked it up to my imagination which was what everything had always turned out to be. I was always more afraid, more excited, more anxious, more everything than other people. My mother called it being sensitive which I certainly was and always had been. Nobody ever really figured out what made me that way but I was terrified of my own shadow and I had an overactive imagination. So I stopped wondering and wandering. I tried to take my mind off it and even avoided looking out the window at night.

Then one night I didn’t have to sneak out to look and I didn’t have to come up with a reason to avoid it. Some friends and I went to some mediocre movie and walked home after. It was a short walk and they lived nearby. Purposely, I stayed engaged in conversation and looked down at my green converse, searching for a speck of dirt even though I’d long ceased to care. Yet all along in the back of my head was what I had seen those two nights and I couldn’t shake it. One peek, I told myself, and then you’re done. I  thought I saw a pale toe hanging over the moon’s edge.  Sure enough there was still a toe, and more toes, a foot, and an ankle. The ankle rolled slowly back and forth almost as if to an unheard song.

Without even thinking about it I started to branch off into a side street. My friends called after me and I yelled back that I forgot an errand for my mom. I stepped up my pace so none of them would join me. I could feel their surprised gazes on my back until I rounded the nearest corner. Then I dared to look up, searching for her.

Arori, I called in my mind. Arori. Persistence didn’t seem to pay off after a few minutes, then I looked down to narrowly avoid a black cat with fiercely green eyes. When I returned my glance to the moon,  there she was, staring calmly down at me as if she had been there all night. There you are.

Here I am. I’d forgotten how much her voice sounded like a melody and a hum at the same time.

Hello, I laughed, this time out loud. She just sat there patiently, expressionless and looking back at me.

Then I was at a loss. What do you say to a, whatever she was? I hadn’t had enough conversations with people in the sky to have experiences to fall back on, probably luckily for me.

Silver pupils sparkled under long black eyelashes. She rolled them playfully. You’d be surprised how many conversations I have with people like you.

People talk to you?

Yes, they talk to me. Quite often, actually.

But you’re not real.

She laughed.

But really, you’re not.

I suppose you could say that, depending on your definition of real.

Well, according to science…

I know what science says. Rock. And I know what science says about rocks.

And it’s all true.

Well it’s science. It’s true, and often times quite reliable it seems, until it’s overturned. In that respect, it’s temporary and I’ve been here longer than “temporary.” Science does describe me but just because man hasn’t unraveled the truth entirely does not mean that is all there is to me. You don’t know what you don’t know.

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