130 Tales: 41 through 50

This decade surprised me with its consistency; most of these entries remind of paintings. They are not necessarily active in terms of action. Instead, they are active in description, mostly painting a person, a glimpse of wonderment. the beginning of character. At the end of the tales I find myself wanting to follow them, as if each of these characters were on a streetcar, or subway train, and each entry is an offer to follow them, to see where they are going, to see what awaits them at the next stop.

The one that stays with me the most in this decade is Number 49. I’m reminded of a long exposure shot of cars driving through an intersection and then rewarded by a bit of sweetness at the end. I also love the simplicity of Ethel in Number 41. I have a very clear picture of Ethel in my mind, even though I didn’t write any physical description of her. I hope she’s as vibrant to you as she is to me.

130 Tales

# 41 – 50

41. Ethel walked by the window with the glass chandelier every day. Mostly she’d act uninterested, but not today. Today she’ll stare.

42. Pen touches paper; its voice remains mute. He feels confined; his thoughts unable to find life outside his immediate surroundings.

43. I can hear a beast within the cave. Standing near the entrance the wind pushes me softly. My ears straining. It is the only sound.

44. What’s his secret? He has a genuine smile. Blue eyes as white and bright as a child’s with a body as old and bent as the truth.

45. Horrified of air and what it carries they prefer to swim through channels of mind. They prefer to breathe life, why anything less?

46. Deep creases dress his cheeks. At a quick glance they could be mistaken for scars, a disfigured face, but he enjoys their safety.

47. The ghost of a woman, dressed in blue, stands in the middle of the street as I stare out the glass. But her proportions are wrong.

48. He stares at the names of destinations: each one new, foreign. For each name he creates a world. For each world he plans a trip.

49. He doesn’t even see them anymore. They are nothing but blurs, streaks curling all around him. How can he – when she’s there?

50. Amidst the swirling lights and laughing people sits a figure stained red and white, blue and green. His hand paints the air.


Past Decades:

Numbers 1 through 10

Numbers 11 through 20

Numbers 21 through 30

Numbers 31 through 40

130 Tales: 31 through 40

The majority of entries in this decade paint a picture: a scene, a person, a place, an emotion, a moment between moments, the very act of making a decision. The first five seem to give you everything you expect: setting, character(s), action. Number 36 really stands out to me. It begins more cryptic, poetic. Only at the end do we get a glimpse of character. I think it may be my favourite of the 130 Tales so far because I don’t fully remember everything about it but every time I read it I like, more and more, what I discover in it. The last four revert to the aforementioned structure: setting, character(s), action – even sparse Number 38 and humble Number 39 show this. I’m happy, overall, with re-reading these; it seems the groove I fell into during the last decade is still pushing Past Me forward.

130 Tales

31 – 40

31. The bus threw us from our seats. We laughed, heads dashing from smile to smile. Limbs flashing all around, animating redundancy.

32. It burns down his throat, cauterizing every crack and rip. The sting of health. His wrapped hand lowers the glass, red, newly wet.

33. Her lips absorb cold and rest on plastic. Dead eyes stare into the space beyond as a rainbow of cream dances in her stoic hands.

34. She smells of chocolate. He, probably of onions. He wants to say hello but is afraid she’ll laugh. We will never mix, he thinks.

35. His breath slows as shadowed stripes make-up her face. Inside, his heart plays a circus and he fears its trumpets will wake her.

36. Relief. Everywhere, it’s falling. Painting the ground with water like a phone call to say “I’m on my way.” A soft pat in my eye.

37. Head fuzzed, he tears the sheets in front of his eyes and finds the unknown. Muddled, he pushes hard, hands like clockwork.

38. Today, I think I’ll be three people.

39. The jovial brick exclaims, ‘Believe it or not This is the Place.’ Its youthful lustre shining amidst chipped paint and neon light.

40. The river never broke. Unlike the train stuck in its tunnel the people kept pouring in, clogging platform and stairwell.