Today I wrote for an hour with my coworkers at lunchtime. We don’t talk, well, we try not to. We are all too polite to not say hello. But once we get going we sit in silence and let the writing begin. Today’s sprint gave me this, unedited, raw, flash fiction:
“Do you remember being born?”
“I don’t know. Do you?”
“I think I do. Sometimes, I think I do.”
“What do you remember?”
“I’m not sure.”
“But you just said–”
“I know, and it’s, I think, I think it’s a feeling I remember. Like a coming into being a rush into consciousness.”
“What does that feel like though?”
“Like, you know on Christmas Eve, when we go to church and at the end you get a candle and,”
“And we light them with the fire from the acolytes–”
“Yes, and they turn the lights down one row at a time and we sing Silent Night. You know at the end of the song, the hush, that stillness? Almost so still you notice it more because there’s nothing moving. And then the eruption from the back of the church Father Terry says– oh what does he say?”
“Oh I don’t remember, something like ‘Christ has risen Hallelujah Hallelujah’ there are definitely two Hallelujahs at the end, that much I know.”
“Okay, right, so Father Terry — with his booming voice says that but you can’t see him and you just know he’s in the church somewhere and immediately afterward the organ starts to play ‘Joy to the World’ and the lights are on and you’re walking and we get outside where it’s cold and maybe snowing and immediately dark again. It’s a memory like that, it feels like that.”
“So it feels like church?”
“No, it feels like being able to sense everything in the silence, and then the environment betrays you and assaults you with noise and light.”
We both sit in the dark room until we hear someone downstairs making coffee. Recognizable from the beans spilling into a grinder, she muffles it as much as she can covering it with the end of her robe. We should’ve told her, it’s fine. We’re adults. We’re awake. We’ve just been lying in our twin-sized beds since 5 am because our internal clocks can’t help it. She’s probably been doing the same. What’s that about apples falling from trees? I choose to break the morning first and roll over, however softly I know it changes the dynamic of the darkness. My feet on carpet, it’s real now. We’re here and it’s morning.
“I’m going downstairs.”
“I’ll be there in a bit,” Grace says.
At the bedroom door I turn, see the form of her curled up body under the purple-flowered quilt, that matches the one on my twin.
“I can’t believe he’s gone.”