Prisms

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This is for somebody who knows exactly who she is. And that, in itself, is a wonderful thing.

 

Prisms

 

 

The boy watched the tendrils snaking their way from his fingertips, twisting over each other like strands of gossamer on rushing water. A metre away from where he was standing, in the white space behind him, he could watch the flowing strings twine together, wrap around a central cord and become rope-like stretching out into the distance beyond view, towards the glinting mass on the horizon. “What is it?” he asked the girl on his left who sat, cross legged and still, one hand held by her face. “It is the past”, she whispered, and slowly gestured to the spyglass that he had not previously noticed, rocking to and fro by his feet. The boy bent down to pick it up – the tendrils flowing in a graceful arc, following his movements – and looked closely. It was a brass telescope, an old nautical item that had slightly rusted around its joints, shimmering ochre following leafy browns and dank, sticky black tones. The glass remained pristine, however, reflecting the whiteness of the space the couple shared in occasional flashes, throwing spectrums onto the floor. The boy raised the telescope to his eye, and followed the path of the gossamer, watching it thicken and tighten, seeing strands join together and slowly create the mass that stayed unmoving, miles away from him. “It looks like crystal”, he said. “It looks like a diamond; I can’t focus on any one part. The light keeps striking different facets and fooling my eye, the light keeps making me think I can see the whole, but I cannot.”

 

                                                *          *          *          *

 

They were sat on their own, on a swinging bench in a garden, somewhere. The honeysuckle was blooming with the evening, giving the air a sweetness that mingled, not unpleasantly, with the autumn fragrances of mown grass, violets and rotting leaves. “I want to give you a present”, he said. Her eyes lit up as he reached into his pocket, fingers clasped around a silver box delicately embossed with pewter lilies and arabesques. The girl took it from his hands, and carefully opened it. “What is it?” she asked, looking troubled, confused. “I can barely see it; one moment it is an egg, and then a feather, and then a tiny bone. It looks like all things, at all different times. It keeps changing”. She closed her mouth, and looked down at her feet, suspended above the ground.

“It is a gift”, he replied, a small smile playing on his thin lips, “a present”.

 

                                                *          *          *          *                                 

 

The smoke billowed in the sky, mingling with clouds of all shapes and sizes. The clouds were being blown by many winds, and piling onto one another, creating almost-sculptures of vapour, which you could see, if you looked hard enough. There was a whole garden of old statues, which burst inwards to form a house, which dissipated into a set of talons on a great bird that was a shoal of fish and the stomach of a horse. The clouds moved on, to different skies, a long way away.

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About Benjamin Norris

Published writer of short stories, long stories, poems. Well received art critic and cultural commentator for Berlin magazines. Collaborator with operatic societies. Co-writer of fictional historic psycholinguistic journals. Lecturer of architecture and art history at a Budapest University. View all posts by Benjamin Norris

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