Outwardly he appeared much like anyone else, formal attire, black tie and tails, but there was a definite air about him that said he did not belong, like a Bentley parked in front of a Seven-11 or a cigar band around the finger of the newly betrothed. She could sense such things; it was a sixth sense of hers or a superpower. Regardless, she meant to corner this interloper and press him for information, most importantly to learn how he had evaded the security of the venue and managed to gain access to such a prestigious event. He was a fish out of water and she meant to land this fish and gut him.
No one noticed the secret messages he’d left behind. He needn’t have bothered to hide them, or even leave them as secret since no one seemed to pay the least bit of notice. If he’d survived, the surfeit of inattention would have infuriated him even as it would have confirmed his notion of his place in the world. As a keeper of secrets, the disregard of others would have been attributed to a concerted effort to fool him into complacency even as they continued their non-stop surveillance of his secret actions. This conclusion he kept to himself not even to be committed to pen and paper along with his other secret messages lest the messages fall, revealing him and his schemes to those who wish to thwart him. Best to let thine enemy think you are unaware of their base collusions.
They made plans and planned to plan and even planned to make plans. She would be a doctor; he would be a lawyer. Both would retire by thirty, have kids, one of each. They would all move to a lovely house in the countryside, large back yard safe for exploring. Summers would consist of hiking and camping. They’d explore the world together, stay on the Galapagos Islands and sail a boat. They’d become chocolate aficionados and open a little store next to a charming french cafe and become fast friends with the owners. They’d rent an apartment on the second floor above the shop and never leave if they felt like it. Over time they’d grow old together but never notice all the wrinkles or a few extra pounds. Their kids would be healthy and do well at school, which would be mostly done at home or as they travel the world. After they turned over the shop to their children, who would grow up to be fast friends, they’d co-write a book which would become a best seller and fund their retirement when the movie rights were purchased by a large well-funded studio. They didn’t plan for rainy days, for moments for silence, for weird smells, for doctor visits, for parking tickets or too much drinking. They didn’t plan for a plan that failed. They didn’t plan for a time when they wouldn’t be together.
A creature I don’t know is staring at me from the mirror. Wild confused look on its face, a disheveled spirit. But that’s not me. I know what I’m doing, what my weaknesses and strengths are and how to live within my limits. That’s not me. I’m self-assured, confident at times. How could this caged creature captured in a thin layer of silvered glass in any way reflect my own countenance?
One day Lilly woke to find her closet especially dark, more dark than the night, but the dark wasn’t sad or wrong; the dark called to her and she heard the song of it. Lilly entered the darkness. The dark stretched on and on. She followed the song through earth and water and rock and wind.
A light appeared ahead. No, more like a place where there was no darkness. Not really a light. More like an absence of light or darkness. Lilly stepped forward and touched the place of no light or darkness, the place where the song came from, and the song filled her, gently and with her permission.
The song was very old, from before her room, before Lilly, before the light or the darkness. And Lilly sang too, all small and fragile. She knew this place was safe and the place also knew she was safe. Hey sang together until the song was done.
Lilly grew tired and sat down, resting against the place that sang. The bones of the Earth shifted after eons of waiting. Lilly was lifted by the bones of wood and crystal and rain.
She woke up for the second time and this time her room looked like it did most days. There was no darkness in the closet save that which belonged there as its rightful place. There were no bones, although she could still smell something akin to the spores that mark the end of a storm. Sadly, Lilly couldn’t hear the song anymore and she couldn’t remember the song, although there was a hint of an echo and she held onto it as best she could.