Parallel to the hills

Parallel to the hills roads run ever distant in furrowed ruts converging into later afternoons in a segmented band of colours refracted from the sun into the asphalt. Whether they reach forever, always converging to a point as she gains ground, is irrelevant, their closure at every moment is a claim to infinity, she perceives continuous distance that as it creeps further away from her, claims her future with its pointless exploration, at some points the road closes down, the perspective grows lopsided and she follows through serpentine high walled corridors that claim space not through distance and division but by coverage, claiming every spot in a surface by wrapping into a continuous mess of fluid turns where the uncertainty of direction and extent rivals the ubiquitous straight line. She pauses intermittently.

Awash with grimy rain running across its surface now dry, built atop the shifting stands of weak beige grass that grow in places between the fence and the street, just above her ankle, slightly in the distance, a sheet of red paper leans limply. She stretches out the toe, stride on stride, of her grey canvas slip-on shoe until it reaches the paper, which she shuffles out of the reeds, taps lightly thrice, with the ball of her foot, onto the sidewalk, where it lays face up. The paper is softened in spots, worn through gently, eroded. Three lines that once were haphazard creases, folded into a pocket, sat on, furrowed, showed greater signs of wear. Where creases intersect soft holes are worn through the page; where creases reach the edges of the page deep rifts reach into the field of the paper. 3 Bedroom Apartment for Rent, 12707 Venice, Upper Floor, Streetside Gated Access, Freshly Painted, Green Carpet, Appliances Available. The bottom edge, after the orientation of the text, is torn in regular increments. Most of the paper, through wear, age, is feathery mauve with blooms of brief pure red. She curls her toe inside her shoe whose sole, at its tip, falls open, her stocking toe emerging to clasp the paper and transfer it to her hand, which she uses to refold it and place it in the breast pocket of her smock, on the chest side of a thick stack of worn cards and scraps.

Venice, Wade, into the intersection of afternoon, awaken from the nap in sunshine, out from the shadowy grog cast by apartment buildings onto the sidewalk. Pale yellow sunshine falls across white asphalt in small, hesitant, changing reflective paces, each connected in potential with the entire stretch of road in either direction, to horizons of sorts, where the road slopes ever upward out of the sea, to dense highwalled islands, within whose chambers and passages the horizon and the sea fall away, left only inscribed across some eye that has just left them and sees them in every window ledge, kitchen table, and expanse of blue carpet, dappled with floes of yellowed green. Awaken from a nap of hours inland to sunlit grog, inland, any place without the sea, which was left in the street and dreams.

Napping, gone, whilst sunlight falls in parallel lines, brown and blue upon surfaces, a yellow kitchen table atop which sits a plain bone coloured mug with thick walls and a pronounced rim; the handle is thick and flat with a small hole and an outsweeping thumbrest. It is untouched in a chamber of absence inexorable. In its vessel is a dry scaly pale lavendar skin. The napping body lays still in the sunlight. Objects left fixed, untouched, alone for so long, become their settings, their original forms willed to implode into the spot where they have rested and they, within the voids they cradle by their shapes, change those settings they have become part of; when implored, the tiny vessel floats in a kitchen sea of sun golden solitude.

The afternoon apartment is still. Lowering sunlight hits windows at forever angles buffeting them with deepening hues impossible to shut out. Blinds are pulled completely to. Plastic slats soften the edges of the brown rays which still penetrate and fall on the carpet in stripes of blended light and shadow. The carpet is covered with spots gummy and dried; the walls are cold glossy, appear to be running with condensate drips that ran and were painted over. In the far back room above the tussled pallet through the window blinds chink, east, across the intersection a fence holds back tall unkempt beige grass.

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