Monday, November 23, 2015

in the shadows of evening

My empty apartment stays quiet until I come home. When I arrive, it speaks in hushed tones of lit candles, running water, whirring ceiling fans, as if speaking quietly of something shameful. When I change out of my work clothes, the late afternoon light is already fading across my bedspread, leaving the rest of the room in shadows.

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There is a potted cactus that sits on the windowsill in my kitchen. In the quiet daytime hours, when I am at work or running weekend errands or trying to make my life exciting and full, the sun shines on the cactus, marking time by the shadows it creates. I water the plant occasionally, when I remember. Mostly, the cactus feeds on sun and time. Its growth is slow, nearly hidden. Some plants sprout over night. Flowers practically bud before your eyes. Bamboo shoots up so fast its reach upwards is audible, a pained and hope-filled creaking. Just the other day, after more than twelve months on my sill, I noticed that this cactus has a few new buds. It is stretching itself. I am proud of my silent cactus, the way it's stayed and grown despite so little attention from me.

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When I arrive home, my heart rumbles and stirs in my chest. I carry around small stories that made up my day (the funny thing he did, that meeting that went well, that bold idea I shared, the way they took me seriously this time). Too little, it seems, to warrant a call to a friend, but too big to keep all to myself. Who will see in all these stories that small shoot in me that sprouted, that wasn't there just last week? Who will sit with me in the shadows of evening, candles lit against the dark, their whispers only of hope, of the thing that comes after night?

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