shadow of a whisper

Some days have holes in them. I know, but I forget.

I stood at yesterday’s threshold feeling buoyant and prepared, liquid with the night’s pooled pleasures. Easy. Ready.

But then, right at the beginning of the day’s High Council Meeting, just in that settling into our seats moment of shuffling and small talk, I turned to face the shadow of a whisper and it was gorgon and I turned to stone.

All my fine readiness fell to sand. My breath left me. My hands were empty and I had no words to answer the One Awful Question.

In self-defense I drew a veil of graciousness over me. I let it do my speaking for me, cupping the faces of all the little questions, scratching them under the chin and untangling their leashes when they got snarled. The One Awful Question never came. It might have been a triumph actually, but that all afternoon the paralysis held and the graciousness thinned. In some dark corner somewhere the One Awful Question was sucking down everything that moved me. I stared blankly and saw nothing.

When night came and I still hadn’t returned to myself I could only hope that sleep would draw me back home. I climbed up onto my high bed under the hush of the sympathetic fan. I pulled my sheet, the rich, sweet color of earth, up over my shoulder. I said my prayer. I closed my eyes. I let it be done.

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