End State

flash

“Hey, wait!” K bounded down the steps and into the plaza that was, aside from L, empty. “Don’t go.”

Upon seeing her L, hunkered down in the morning air, stopped in his tracks and peered over one shoulder. The long breath he let out condensed, rose up, and dispersed.

“You could have waited.” K huffed loudly as she bent double. “I’m not that late.”

L made a full turn toward K and pulled himself up straight. “I wasn’t expecting you for another fifteen minutes.”

“Oh,” she frowned. “Then…”

“Thought I’d get us coffee.” He turned back around, hands in pockets and resumed his traipse across the plaza.

K ran to catch up, readjusting her raincoat. “Well, glad I didn’t miss you.”

L nodded.

“You look nice and warm.”

“I suppose.” He shrugged, making a vague head motion to the scarf, hat and heavy parka he wore.

They passed the fountain at the plaza’s centre, which still trickled water from the mouth of a cherub statue. A coat of ice formed around the outer stone rim, jostled by the bubbling pool.

“Sure got cold fast, huh?” K said.

“It certainly did.”

“How have you been?”

“Fine.”

“Did you get my email?”

“Of course,” L said. “It was an interesting idea.” He stopped at the coffee shop and opened the heavy door. The bell tinkled and the hot, earthy aroma of fresh coffee wafted out to meet them. K looked up at him with her wide, pleading eyes.

“So?”

“We should get inside, it’s cold out.” He ushered her in.

“Should I go ahead with it?” She said, her words coming out muffled as she pressed her face against the counter glass and squinted at the pastries.

L held up two fingers and the barista started up the machine.

K leaned in past him. “Make mine with soy please.” She jabbed a finger into L’s side. “So?”

“It’s your thesis.”

Her eyes widened.

He exhaled with another shrug. “I think it has merit.”

She didn’t reply, rather smiled and nodded to herself.

“So I should go ahead with it.”

He remained silent as they waited for their coffees. He lifted the lid and emptied three sachets of sugar into the cup.

“You should avoid having so much sugar,” she said, watching him.

“Don’t worry about me,” L said. He made a movement towards the door, all the while rummaging in a coat pocket.

“Where are you going?”

He held up a pack of cigarettes, a lighter crooked in his thumb.

“But it’s cold out.”

His shoulders dropped.

L approached K, removed his scarf and gently looped it around her head.

“There,” he said.

He stepped outside. The bell gave a short tinkle. A slip of cold air ran across the floor and up K’s spine. She shivered.

“Thank you?”

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Silent Skies

flash

“This is wonderful.” She says.

“What is?”

“The silence.” Her body circles mine, naked toes flicking at the long grass.

“I suppose so.”

“You suppose? Well I think it is.” She stops, puts a hand to her brow and searches for contrails. “No planes, no clouds; blue skies. Days like this should last forever.”

Her body droops.

The sun pricks at my body.

She rises and spins, throwing up a patterned parachute about her waist. I almost-.

I feel: enraptured, captivated.

Again she pauses. Her face becomes eclipsed, her expression masked.

“I feel light,” she says. Her body floats above me and she becomes a bird – outstretched fingertips made of feathers. Hollow bones.

She continues: “My feet aren’t fully grounded and it’s like: at any moment if I run fast enough, and leap, I’ll fly.”

“You’ll be the only person in the sky.” I tell her.

“Yes, I will.”

PIANO

flash

I wish I could produce sound like that.

Like what? He gulps at his beer.

You can’t hear that? Straightened back, she closes her eyes, and as her head tilts back, his eyes follow the shape of her jaw, neck, shoulders. So elegant, like rain in summer.

Oh, the piano?

Left index finger, picking at right thumb. A staccato, three breaths in succession. Exhale. Yes.

His chair scrapes against the tiles as he shifts and turns to look.

Sounds like elevator music to me.

Teeth on teeth. Right index finger, picking at left thumb.

Where

flash

Debs, hi, great to see you here. And uh, Grant, right? Glad I could finally put a face to that name.

Where are you?

He moves through the room, his face shifting into the right position for the right person. Shaking hands, firm and not so firm. Kissing cheeks.

You must be here.

Sally! And quieter. Have you heard from the guys upstairs yet? I’m sure it’s just paper work, you know how it is.

Her eyebrows turn upwards, inwards. He holds her hand as long as is required.

He stops at the bar, orders a bourbon and water.

You’re popular tonight, the barman says.

I guess.

Please don’t strike up conversation.

Waiting on someone?

Just a face in the crowd. Please stop.

Uh-huh. The barman places the bourbon down. Pours out a large white. Fresh bottle, a good one too.

Just the bourbon.

She’s waiting for you on the balcony.

You.

He turns, catches a glimpse of red hair. He fumbles for cash.

Don’t worry sir, I know you’re good for it.

He places a ten down. For you. He takes both glasses and drifts forward.

For you.

Stairs

flash

A shoulder brushes against hers, silk slips across her wrist. On the steps, she stops and grabs the rail with both hands. Lavender. The memory slips under her ribcage, clutches at her heart, and twists. It was lavender.

“Excuse me, err, miss?” A hand on her back. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“Do you need a doctor?”

“Not the kind you’re thinking of.”

“Pardon?”

“Don’t worry,” she says, standing up straight. “I’ll be fine.” She looks him in the eye until he feels uncomfortable. His eyebrows turn upward. He looks up the stairwell. Little lines of worry form.

“There’s no need to wait on me.”

He offers a blank look. Not worry. Not at all. Confusion?

“Who are you looking for?” she asks.

“Oh, I’m not. I just thought I saw someone I knew, that’s all.”

“Knew?”

“From a long time ago.”

“They usually are,” she said.

He smirks, either in agreement or amusement.  “You are okay though?”

“More than,” she says. “Someone’s perfume overwhelmed me, that’s all.” She works to iron herself out, push out the person she’s supposed to be.

He doesn’t take to it. “Coffee?” That smirk again.

She clutches her bag tighter, locks her fingers together. At the bottom of the stairs, a silk scarf flutters.

Screen Test #1

flash

Face the camera please.

A little to the left. Yes that’s fine.

Turn your head to one side.

Which way? 

Whichever way you want.

Okay… Now the other way. Thank you.

First line please.

I hadn’t expected you so soon. 

Carry on.

I – I had it all worked out, everything I was going to say, why this can’t go on, why I can’t go on. It’s over, I’m sorry. You know I love you. 

And again.

Which part? 

The last line.

I love you. 

You know…

You know I love you. 

Take your time.

I – You know. You know I love you.