He teased me about being ￼scared of heights after I’d refused to climb any higher. The sky turned from cornflower blue to dove grey as storm clouds rolled in over the pacified Atlantic; the geography of dreams have no lat or longitude.
It wasn’t fear that stopped me but rather that I saw no value in risking my own precious safety, familiar discomfort, to share cramped space and a compromised view with an angry and unsupportive stranger. We’d been so close, once. If he’d ever truly known me, he’d have realized that fear was an obsolete threat for an indomitable spirit; we’d been the truest of companions since the day I was born.
The polyurethaned pine slabs swayed like trunks of honey in the coastal gusts as the zigzagging stairs peered down to the white gravel parking lot, leagues under the miles high sky above us. He didn’t care about me, the throw-away thing lower than a nameless ocean’s floor, or the great heights offering a view to a distant horizon either of us scarcely believed in. No. He was just frustrated by encountering yet another scenario over which he had no control.
The seaside town was just as you’d expect; an underpaid staff-class running everything for tourists who only came when the beachrose and box hedges bloomed, to buy handmade soaps, locally grown zucchini, linen shirts and singularly crafted, overpriced furniture. The locals were more content than their guests would ever be but would also perpetually fail to afford the leisurely comforts and experiences they gave away each season. Will there be anything else?
In spite of obstructions, like angry mobs and traffic jams, shop girls gathered on the stoops of storefronts in aprons and clogs, laughing at the threat of rain. Their unkempt hair, loose jeans, silver and beaded bracelets, resembled a living embodiment of the carefree longings their so-called masters attempted to purchase with limitless plastic but would fail to own for all their endless consumption. Trading rolled quarters and large bills for ones, tens and twenties, they bartered with favors like cleaning chicken coops, babysitting and paying for sprouted grain veggie wraps if a lunch break should ever happen to occur.
She shot him a look from across the library’s cafeteria; her milk-white skin contrasting a red mane and veined disdain from inside the claw footed, porcelain tub. She stood fully clothed in rage under the shower head. Nothing would ever make her happy, which he knew. Despite that, he’d asked her to marry him and she said yes, as if only to spend her entire life ensuring his absolute misery. I didn’t understand either of their maladaptive motives and just wanted to visit with my old friend who was apparently possessed by a ghost of hate. That person, whoever he might’ve been, vanished in a desert years ago. Will we ever be friends again? Had anyone ever been there?
Hypervigilant, upper-class mothers hovered over their spawn, accomplishing nothing but infecting them with asthma and fragile egos. What’s brave about breast implants, prenuptial contracts and fake tans? Choked with frustration, I walked out of the under-stocked library into the potholed street to breathe in the fresh, ocean air. It’s funny how a sign you’ve seen a thousand times can inspire the remembrance of vastly infinite possibilities. Maybe I’d never been in love with a single person but instead, my destined partner had always been this place. I’ve missed her ever since…
Crossing the cratered street, I realized he’d driven us to the house of a mentor. She wasn’t expecting me but the doors, along with the screened in porch, were open. Apologizing, once again, for my existence, she graciously led me to a parallel pair of backless, olive sofas and invited me to sit. Resting had never felt like an option so instead I wandered until I came to a closet to retrieve something I’d convinced myself I’d left in this place I’d never been. Again, she laughed, explaining that’s exactly how it works. We have to go somewhere we’ve never been to find something that’s been there all along. (Well click my heels and call me Dorothy.)
A thoughtless body-mass twaddled recklessly in my path, holding a little blackdog. Instead of confronting her empty violence, I remembered the view from the watchtower overlooking the sea which encased the planet along its cosmic curve, the backside of which held this tiny island. Pitched rooftops, pine and maple trees, rusted swing sets, windows with lace and crocheted curtains masking the mundane tasks behind the scenes of performed grandeur required for sustaining life here. If only it could be as simple as it is.
I had the best dream last night…agitating but good. The feeling persisted until eventually the message made sense. I hope it helps. xo
4 thoughts on “The Watchtower”
Our perspective is changed when we realize that seen from space, all our problems disappear and only the oceans and land mass come into view. If you’re lucky, there are clouds across the world. Your writing mesmerizes me, the possibilities true value. That got taken by a hardware store, but still…
LikeLiked by 2 people
Two of your metaphors, I just used last week. I bet we’d have fun teaching together. ❤️
LikeLiked by 1 person
THAT WOULD BE FUN!!!!
For extra credit, students could interpret the metaphors.
LikeLiked by 1 person