bare bones and back bones

"what are the bones of it? this thing here?" he asked. he was holding a skeleton of something, made of paper, depicting a scene from the moment he would never talk about.

"this looks like its back." she responded. she turned it over and showed him what she was talking about. a spined structure of a thing, it looked like the mountain's ridge on the horizon that she saw once driving away from home. 

she ran her hands over her arms, the hair and subtle crescent shaped scar on her left wrist. it was a distant and vague memory of a different time. one she had not really been there for. and still, it was there somewhere in the space. in the body's memory, even though she had only walked in a few years ago.

the timed turnings of tides .. that when driving she would still see that ridge, where it came from, and when that was, she didn't know, but she knew it.

he, the man, still holding the paper perspective, thought too of his own self. "i wonder when she made this."

"i wonder that too. i always imagined it would be before. but now, i get the feeling it could have been after." the girl said, neither of them looking at each other or at the thing.

"i would've burned it if i were her."

"we can still, for her."

"it wouldn't be for her. it would be for us."

the two were seated on wooden chairs, around a table that held old dusty books, a small cactus growing sideways, two almost empty glasses, a handful of marbles, and a letter, and around that, there was nothing. the room was empty.

"it's her spine!" the man exclaimed after some time of sitting there.

"yeah, i said that before."

"but, no, look at it." he turned it around slowly. it had a spiral to it, something that reminded them both of the dna strands in their bodies.

"it's the bare bones of something." she said.

"of us." she said again.

"of her." he said.

"yeah, it's white and it tears, and it all moves in that way, yet we .." cars passed by outside, their lights sometimes shining into the room through the window. 

"we never really wanted it to be that simple, did we?"

"no, it was more fun with meaning."

"well, let's burn it then."

"maybe just leave it here? some things don't need to stay or go."

"yeah, okay."

"anyway, i'm still getting used to this. most days, i don't know why i'm here, but i chose it, so perhaps i'll just see."

the two looked at each other. the man took a moment with the paper before leaving it on the table. he grabbed one of the marbles, knocked over the glass accidentally on his way out, and the door shut behind him.

the girl sat there, not looking at any particular thing. she heard the cars driving by. she saw their lights. she saw the light trail of mud he had left on his way in, and then out. she felt the chair beneath her, the slight ache in her hips from sitting for so long, the tug of her sock around her ankle, she held her eyes closed for a moment, and imagined what she knew in the darkness .. and she remembered the darkness, but that it was space, and it did not speak in sounds.

copyright 2018 ⓒ / forrest gallagher