clarity by parenthesized

14 Mar

“Sometimes on spring days, the world gains this incredible clarity.  The sun shines behind wisps of white cloud, just bright enough that shadows stand tall on the sidewalk.  There is no haze or uncertainty in the air.  Even the smell of it is fresh and new, like the scent of rain and…oh, I don’t know… growing things.  When you look up on days like this, tree branches are etched onto a brilliantly blue sky.  You can drink all of this in, inhale it, consume it, just absorb it.  You have to because it is so beautiful and perfect.”

She tells John all of this while she makes sweeping gestures.  She tries to encompass the whole world in her fingers.  He finds it a little ridiculous sometimes and adorable almost all of the time.

He discovered quickly that listening to her speak was worth all of those awkward, furtive glances in the coffee shop a year ago.   Completely, absolutely worth it.  Her voice was melodic and emotional, brimming with enthusiasm that could not bear to be hidden. He smiles at her, prompts her, asks her silly, tangential questions just to listen.  He wonders if she knows how much he loves this.

Loves her.

He asks her something nonsensical, something about spring air and rain that he realizes is barely coherent.  Nerves before eloquence, he calls it.  She laughs at him, ruffling his hair, and taps his nose with her finger before wrapping his arms around her.  Pulling him close, she intertwines their fingers and directs their hands to follow the arc of her thought as she traces the world for him.

She tells him that today is one of those clear days, that today she could see everything around them in sharp, crisp, wonderful detail.  Like the vibrant red of the jungle gym slide, or the carving of a tower on the bench in front of them.  She directs his eyes to how the polka dots on a little girl’s dress create a spiral as she spins in the arms of her father.  She brings their hands in closer and outlines the small tear in his jacket and tells him that she thinks she can see the individual threads.

He tips her chin up and kisses her, soft and gentle, just a brush.  She opens her eyes and smiles at him. Her head rests against his chest, her brown curls tickling his chin.  Soon enough, she begins again, begins sketching the world for him, gives it her colors and her words.  When she falls silent and closes her eyes, a sleepy contented look on her face.  He watches the breeze lightly toss her air, and then he whispers.

“Marry me.”

Her eyes burst open, and she stares at him, speechless.  She slowly turns to face him.  Her lips part, but her voice is not musical.  It is not beautiful or wonderful.  It is jagged and broken.

He wonders if clear spring days make it easier to see someone’s heart break.


Link to  Him & Her


4 Responses to “clarity by parenthesized”

  1. ingridfnl March 14, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    I love the play on the different kinds of clarity… how it can be equally wonderful and painful.

  2. jmforceton March 14, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    The two, two word, paragraphs, perfect.

  3. J Adamthwaite March 14, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    I love the last line. There’s some really strong imagery through all of this, and I could really image how wonderful it would be to be John being guided through it all. I really liked this story.


  1. Repeat « the character project - April 5, 2010

    […] to related stories: Clarity and Him & […]

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