January 1, 2022

A portrait recovered from the depths

She sits in a small lamplit room drinking lemon tea and experiencing herself. The gears in her watch are imperceptible until her wrist catches just the right angle and the tiny industry inside starts sparkling and the air around the chronology turns electric. Then, the wrist slowly drops and time becomes diluted by the ongoings around her.

She breathes and each splash of oxygen alights the corridors of her lungs within the stunning darkness of her chest. Her cells hurry along their endless superhighways about her body.

Nothing about her appearance would suggest she’s anything other than the way in which she wants to be perceived. A great crest of wood bark hair spills to contour her face, forming the shallow entrance to a cave measured in topographical layers that ripple from river canyon lips.

Spread across her eyes are ancient ruins sprung to life by ritual. Spirits pirouette grooves into her irises before slipping over the edge into placid pools of everything she has ever known.

There always is this apprehension,” she says with the confidence of an expert and the negligence of a narcissist. Confidence and dread are two hands of the same clock that regularly, occasionally intersect. And as the clock strikes half six, it is decided that she will go deeper. She is eager to meet herself.

How are you, sweetheart?” she asks with unrelenting curiosity. There is no answer back but an increased magnetism and palpable rise in energy shared between their internal cores. Her gaze is a single hard drum strike sustained indefinitely. Her warmth is a safe house. No amount of gravity can ground her yearning. She is the chorus of life.

Colors absorb into her skin and release as billowing plumes of sunshine from her smile. On the verge of drowning, ever deeper, an aquatic missile descending slowly and smoothly, her toes pierce through a strange bubble, followed by her ankles, knees, and hips until she falls through completely and starts gasping and drinking in air in this sudden new world just as she had when introduced to the world at the surface.

The first seconds of existence relapse now in this moment, but with the bundled wisdom of a former life that now sits somewhere tightly wound around a synapse. She looks around with wonder and then tilts her head toward the crest of the sphere from whence she’d fallen. It’s both impossibly high and so incredibly close she could touch it.

She breaks the illusion with a curious finger pointed toward the threshold and it slides back through into the cold depths. She takes the deepest breath and sighs, sending shimmering byproduct of spent exhaustion through and out of her system.

With a flutter of blinks, the world around her manifests as the same she’d known, yet brighter.

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