THE MOVEMENT OF TWO TECTONIC PLATES COMING CLOSER
We start in darkness with you. You’re looking down, and your hair falls over your face and the front of your dress. Behind you, the sky is bright. It’s night. You could be anywhere. Turn around fast. There’s the sky. Turn back, look down. It’s not the sky behind you. On the edges there are stars, but in the middle is what looks like a blue eye rimmed in red. Or a galaxy exploding. Or the sunset edges and the daylight between them held in one round frame. You look like you’re crying.
I’m in a dark room, but there’s light on my face and a glow like lava behind me. My hands push on someone else’s hands. Maybe they’re yours. Your arms are bare, and you’re hardly visible in the shadows. Beneath our hands, four flat planes grow up into mountains. My peaks climb yours, and your one hand opens like a mouth coming toward me. The ghosts of my sleeves roll up the landscape. A shadow is also a shape.
Look up. There’s a circle of pines around us. Their branches start two stories up and melt into the white lace of the sky. The sky gets brighter and closer and bursts into an eggy blossom. The trees split open and then I can’t see anything.
You walk up the stairs—or maybe that’s me. There are trees and bushes in concrete planters around us, and at the bottom of the steps, a gate. It’s spring or summer and cloudy. Maybe I’ve been here before. Look closer. You walk up the stairs, eyes glazed, suitcase in hand. Your flowered dress matches my skirt. There’s a crocheted blanket over the wall you haven’t passed yet, and I’m steps below you, following. You look up. Beneath the rim of my hat, I look after you.
Our hair is braided together and runs straight down my back. You lean in, and because you’re taller than I am, your head folds over mine. Both of our hair is brown, but brown doesn’t say enough. Yours: burnt honey. Mine: coffee bean. You’ve given me your sweater, which is the red of roses at night, and the flowers on your dress bloom clear without it. Before us is a wall of color. Our backs face whomever looks.
The crocheted blanket is spread across our shoulders. We’re still in the park, but this part’s mostly concrete, and there’s writing over the writing where we sit on the wall. A young tree grows behind us; another emerges from the shadows across the walk. Light trickles through the branches. Somewhere, the sun is setting. Our hair is separate now, and it’s all anyone could see of us outside the blanket except a corner of my skirt, which isn’t flowered after all. Look over there, I say, and you do.
Galen Beebe, The Movement of Two Tectonic Plates Coming Closer
American, b. 1990, playing from Chicago, IL, USA
Galen Beebe is a writer and artist based out of Chicago. She is a founder of Etc. Gallery, a digital gallery for web-native experimental narratives, and its imprint, Etc. Press. She has two forthcoming books, In/Out and Kiss List, both published by Etc. Gallery. Her work has appeared in Hypocrite Reader and Wilder Voice.
Website: Etc-gallery.com Blog: Thesebonesarealright.tumblr.com Visual Portfolio: Typefacebook.tumblr.com Works: hypocritereader.com/contributor/galen-beebe