||[Jul. 7th, 2009|07:21 pm]
The Amazing Capt. of Wonders
I worked on another expansion a while ago, playing off of the person with the other worldly aspect.|
Ella had been sitting next to Albert for a good three minutes, staring in absolute concentration, before deciding to force some wonder from her lips.
“That can’t be natural.”
In reply his downturned gaze faithfully scanned the glossy detail of the new wooden bench as he scooted a careful inch away from her eager frame. He hadn’t meant for anyone to notice him, let alone the defect that was painstakingly consuming his flesh.
“I mean, I’m sorry, but that’s just got to hurt or something. Does it hurt? It has to hurt.”
His silence was only accompanied by the blatant tweak of a muscle above his lip.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve never seen anyone like you before and I’m just thinking, I’m thinking that whatever it is you have you can’t have been born with it. No one’s born with something like that.”
Albert pulled his muddy colored cap further down his wide forehead, lightly obscuring his face as he chanced a look at the young lady by his side. She was Technicolor bright, brimming with pomegranate hair and widened bluebell eyes. A blinding yellow frock flattered her agile figure, dipping no lower than the knee and framing her ripe peach skin between light cotton fabric and banana hued flats. She seemed pleased that he suddenly couldn’t look away.
“So when’d it happen then?” she questioned now that his attention was fastened on that simple lipstick smile.
He took a longer moment to speak now, enraptured by her constant attentiveness.
“Last May,” he told her, letting his eyes fall momentarily to check that his dark gloves still covered his bony knuckles. They were securely fastened. “It’ll be two months tomorrow,” he let slip. Who cared if she knew he was counting?
“I’m sorry,” Ella told him, her slender brows gathering in a remarkable display of pity.
Albert imagined that if she wanted she could easily pass as an actress.
“It doesn’t hurt,” he assured her, checking the time on a silver watch kept hidden between his long cuffs and tanned gloves. “It’s sort of numb, actually,” Albert admitted. “Like when your foot falls asleep and you get pins and needles. Sort of like that.”
“Sounds like a pain,” she guessed, letting her posture relax for a moment as she leaned against the back of the bench. “Enough to make me leave too. Then again, I’m not sure if you’re coming or going. I’m going.”
The train station was relatively empty for such a vivid summer morning. But Albert hadn’t minded. The fewer eyes on his wretched form the easier it was for his lungs to take in air. The easier it was for him to slowly take in the living picture by his side.
“I’m going,” as he spoke he took in a quick, unexpected breath, like a hiccup but much more quiet. Patting his chest gently he steadied his rhythm of breathing. “Trains aren’t that fast anymore, but they’re reliable.”
“You must really want to be leave then,” she mused, placing her fine fingers in a polite weave in her lap. The nails were bit down past the little white bits, but they were scrubbed clean and clear.
“My right foot’s gone. So is a lot of my hair. I can’t feel those bits really, but my left hand, it feels so odd as it’s leaving. And sometimes I wonder if I’m just turning invisible or if instead of like everyone else I’m dying one little bit at a time.”
Ella closed her eyes for one private moment before returning to Albert. Perhaps behind those dusky lids she was imagining what it would be like if one morning she woke up and parts of her just decided to take off.
“Where’re you going then?” she asked, pursing her lips gently at the question.
“Just bought any old ticket,” he told her. “Doesn’t matter.”
“I hope you’re headed the same way I’m headed,” Ella offered him the kind of smile that whispered at his senses: ‘Don’t forget me.’
As he took a moment to develop her Polaroid image in his mind Albert flexed his left wrist, letting the fingers wriggle lithely within the confines of his glove. Yet within the leather they responded sluggishly to his urge. Even though only days before he had used them to slice into a thick steak or pound on piano keys Albert was already finding the sensation of owning that hand a dimming memory.