Sunday, January 3, 2010
LXXII: Susan V: Susan is the Trees
"I'll be the Trees," Susan hollered, running from the snow-covered path to hide behind an old gnarled aspen. One of the ugliest in the grove. It was New Year's Day and we were entirely alone, bundled in our winter-wear. Me on the wooden path, her standing behind a Tree.
Only her hands were visible peaking out from the speckled bark. "We can see you!" she said in a whispery, deep voice. Like the voice of the wind in a cartoon, or all the Trees talking at once. "Our branches push up inside you. Stomach, spine and throat."
"Then why aren't I choking?" I replied, following her jest.
"You are," said the voice behind the contorted branches. "I wrap my sprouts 'round your fingers, and my trunk grasps your neck."
"Then why can't I see you?"
"But you can!"
I squinted. "Nope."
"Foolish man. Listen for sight and look for sound."
"Okay." I shrugged my shoulders. "I can't hear you now either."
"But what do you see?"
"And more than my voice, my heart beating."
"Nope. Just your voice."
"Slow down!" Susan hollered in girl-voice, and then resumed her throaty whisper. "Slow down, slow down. It beats so slow."
So I did. I really did. And Susan too -both of us looking, listening for the heartbeat of the Trees. 'Cos why not? The insulation of winter made the world silent, so we craned our necks in to see and hear.
"I've got something," I lied, extending the game. But then in my lie came a sound. A soft, blurring thunder. Gray like a heatwave shimmering over the roots. Susan looked at me. I looked at her. I watched her come out from behind the Tree. She pushed her hand up into the shivering air and motioned me towards her.
"Me too," she said. "I can hear it."