Once as a child I looked into this woman's eyes,
and all I saw was this empty gray.
She smiled and it was almost believable,
but the gray seemed to drain the color
of her face
and suddenly her smile meant nothing anymore.
Now, looking out the window,
I see the same gray reflected off across
the winter's endless sky and
it's almost as if she's watching from every angle,
praying for me to take the single song she
left on earth and
free it from both of our souls.
I sit down for a minute.
The snow outside keeps falling,
slow and thick,
like it's passing through some kind of layer
unseen to the human eye.
My hands find the keys I know she wants me to play.
I take a breath and everything fades away from me.
For a minute it's almost as if the world has left me,
cold and alone. But then the snow returns,
falling slow and thick,
and it is evident I have entered the layer,
the thin line where sky meets ground,
day meets night,
innocence meets the unforgiving.
Here, the snow is infinite.
It starts slowly, a single flake followed by
a few more.
Then another, and soon they are everywhere;
spinning in dizzying circles and not seeming to
ever reach the ground-
although it seems the ground is imperceptible, here in
this inbetween state.
I look around and there is nothing,
no sky, ground, light-
And her eyes are everything.
I know she is waiting.
My fingers still rest on the keys,
and I apply the faintest pressure to one of them.
No sound comes out.
as if it had taken a minute for reality to meet my existence,
I hear it. It is low and clear, pure and inescapable.
And then it fades.
The snow almost seems to stop for a minute,
and I know she is urging me to continue.
I press another key, and begin her song.
It almost comes naturally,
and each note bends, retracts, folds into the snow.
After what seems like hours but what I know
is only a few seconds,
the snowflakes around me begine to move differently.
I cannot quite tell you how, only that they seem to
dance through this slow, thick air,
light and free.
I continue playing and
soon the grayness of this inbetween seems
to fade away. I'm not sure how;
it's not as if it's fading to white or black,
or even back to reality, but somehow
I have the knowledge that it's slipping away.
The song is almost over.
I slow my playing on instinct, and as I do
the snowflakes also slow.
Soon they return to their endless falling,
never going to reach the ground.
I stop playing-
as the song has ended-
and look around. Overwhelmed by a sudden dizziness I stand
and everything seems to expand and
the thickness of the air begins to suffocate me but
in no more than a millisecond it retracts into nothing.
I cry out but no sound is made, and I blink
and the world returns.
My feet are again on solid ground,
and wherever I was-
some other world, or even perhaps a state of mind-
is no more than a distant memory.
I look out the window, and
the snow is falling. It isn't dancing, or floating,
and I watch one flake in particular as it touches the ground.
The sky is still that light, empty gray.
Later that day I went out,
and it was cold and wet. The snow had ceased,
and all that remained was bitter air and
Walking down the sidewalk, I have a sudden feeling
that, regretfully, is too complex to describe.
I glance up from my feet and see a woman walking past me.
She is wearing only a simple sweatshirt-
much too light for this cold-
and her head is down, black hair
cascading over her shoulders.
She has a hood on.
We are walking opposite directions, and
right as we pass she looks up.
She smiles at me, with a hint of
something like understanding or knowledge in it.
But instead I notice her eyes.
They are an empty gray,
and looking carefully I can see the faint specks of
the snow that dances within them.