Sara went alone. She was that kind of girl. Wine cups weren’t half full or half empty, they were never enough, because no matter how she saw the world she was always full of longing.
The morning mist scattered dewdrops across her back as she walked, gravel stones trembling beneath the heels of her boots.
“Good morning,” she greeted the swallows dive-bombing the skies. They answered back with shrill cries of airborne joy.
Five hundred and thirteen stones. She had first counted them when Maybell died and she couldn’t bear to watch the soft paws go to rest in that hole in the ground in her backyard, so she had come here. Here where you felt less significant because people lived here three hundred years ago and died maybe fifty after that and no one knew their names or cared about the types of clothes they wore.
The stone arches rose high and kissed the palm tree backgrounds. If people didn’t have fancy cameras and zippers on their sweatshirts, then she believed she could almost touch the past. She could feel it reaching out to her but the cell phones and shoelaces scared it away. The idea that we walked on the moon and could tell people I love you with anything but our voices, that made it retreat to the dusty corners of the old church where people with ten fingers and ten toes – if they were lucky – just like ours came to pray. They probably prayed about the same things. They prayed for the future and we pray for our future, in the future. They probably drank wine, too. There wasn’t a lot else to do. There wasn’t a lot else to do now, either, because what else ever is there really to do but drink wine and tell stories about the past?
She wanted to walk back into it, carried by a breeze, simple as the clay bricks under her feet. Before the earthquake made it into a place where people came and wondered what it used to be like.
Now there was just a sky for a roof, but imagination built the walls up high for a shelter overhead and she could see ghosts walking. She saw them wearing sandals and passing through sunlit halls. Wondering about what to eat and wondering if God is real. Wondering if someone would ever wonder that about them.
But she couldn’t walk into the past, even with the gravel under her boots and the breeze in the air, so instead she just came coming back and sat in the present.


5 thoughts on “Mission

  1. “[…] she believed she could almost touch the past. She could feel it reaching out to her but the cell phones and shoelaces scared it away.”

    This is such a beautiful idea. What a wonderful and nostalgic piece of writing.

  2. I need to say something about that piece but what an unexpected shock: words fail me. OK, the one thing I can say is that your writing expressed like a movie. I can follow through, see everything, hear, smell. I can see the old mission with its missing roof and then complete, with the “ghosts” walking in it and wondering about much the same things we wonder about. It’s about the existential question, isn’t it?

  3. Nice work. I especially like the connection between a specific place and recurring thoughts/emotions. I think places can have a particular power over us. Thanks for this!!

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