Dust to Dust
Tonight, we sin.
Not in the biblical sense because those rules are easy to snap, like twigs. We seek the sins that will burn into our bones and remind us when we're old and grey that once we knew how to cheat the universe.
Bailey begins. He takes the watch his grandfather gave him and crushes it beneath the weight of his boot until the gears and ticks spill out like intestines. With these pieces all the old stories and misguided demands attached to them fade into the dust. The ground beneath us is weary. Parched. We've got no water but we'll happily quench it with our wild ways.
Emma's next. She tears at the skirt passed down for decades that's lace and more like a net than clothing. Its modesty taunts her as it rips and shreds until the scraps grow as weeds along the brush nearby. Her thigh's exposed. When she dances, her muscles articulate as if they were never meant to be covered in the first place. The parking lot is dead silent so we fill it with our hoots and howls.
I'm saved for last because I've carried for miles an armload of letters documenting the strangeness of my past. Penned in my mother's hand, she apologizes for staying too long, bruising too easily, regretting it all. She says we're broken nesting dolls. I never ever want you to fit inside my story, she writes. I take the lighter tucked in the bottom of the shoebox to ignite the letters. The curling ashy paper is the smell of revolution. Redemption. The air surrounding us is plain with sadness so I shake the papers and watch the sparks illuminate the night.
But we aren't cruel or careless. We were only pressed beneath the weight of the past. Now as the evening fades, our trio drops to its knees and dutifully scoops up the fossils beneath us, saving pieces to remind ourselves that this is what we will never be.
writes: My work has appeared both in print and online in several dozen journals including The Threepenny Review, StoryChord
, and Literary Orphans
. I am an English and Creative Writing teacher as well as an assistant editor for Mothers Always Write
and Identity Theory