22 April 2015

what if?

in media res

-- i think this is the state of a woman always, 

and so she is apt to like stories with sudden starts. 

she laughed harder than she ever had, caught in a sudden afternoon rainstorm in the city. when the stakes for suddenness are highest, so too are the implications -- the loud sighs from old, briefcase-toting men on corners and mothers caught umbrella-less with children hugging at their knees, the squat Italian man who frantically repacks his coffee cart, and the car-honk symphony from commuters who've forgotten how to brake, the expletives flying from the mouths of impractically high-heeled women, cabs swarming to curbs like bees to the field -- and this, the swelling laugh of a gray-sky sycophant. it is the most overblown, unnecessary sound you have heard, and her bodily contortions even more exaggerated -- the hands that fly up as in some self-possessed prayer, the wild spinning of a torso that turns her to a graceless ballerina on this soaked city corner. it is all suddenly so loud. in that moment, her laugh could stop the world. 

this, of course, didn't happen. she continued her walk quietly, across the rain-beaten sidewalk path that leads to her apartment. the hands remained tucked in the trench, fingering the bottom stitches of the pockets. she goes, fumbling, eyes down, toward home. 

but it happens in her head, accompanied by the triumphant buzz of possibility, that is to say, the lingering of the world's most brief and important question: 

what if?