Monday, February 7, 2011

Challenge 179: The middle of Nowhen.

I live in Nowhen, an attic above a clock tower. I stare out my window sometimes, watching the people of my city, frozen in the middle of their conversations - or supping cups of tea. Moments, like pictures, hover every 'where' I look, but the when is all up to me. It takes some practice.


There is Mrs. Harper and her old black poodle Tabitha, wandering down main street.


Oh, there she is at her house - Christmas Day - her daughter holds wee Tabitha as a puppy.


And there is Mrs Harper at her daughter's funeral. Tabitha is only a few years old, head on her paws in the drenching rain.

Nowhen is a lonely place. Sometimes I wish I could return...

See, there I am. Over there in the school yard, waiting to go into bat. Or there, sitting at the edge of the school dance, hoping someone will notice me. And there I am, staring up at the clock tower, wondering why the hands have never moved. If only I could tell myself to turn around. Go home, Lily. There is so much of life to live.

I could have been like Kiera, down at the lake, head on Michael's shoulder watching the sun set. Or Susan, trading a frozen moment of pure agony in the hospital over by the theatre for a family full of smiling faces.

There are more than a hundred thousand paving stones in the street below my window. Go back far enough, it is mud. Go forward and it is overgrown with weeds. People leave and never come back. The clock tower stands all alone, hiding its secret. Hiding me.

Mama never knew where I went.


There is Tabitha, sniffing. She barked up at the clock, once. Mrs Harper had stopped to buy tomatoes at the grocer in central park. That was when she lost her dog, and I stopped being quite so alone.

Tabitha and I will never get any older. She is a terrible conversationalist, but then I am not that attentive. Mostly we sit, and I wonder. Maybe I can leave. After all, this is Nowhen, not Nowhere. If I can be here, I can be not here, but how?

Perhaps it is as simple as walking out the door. But that would mean accepting that my 'when' will some day end. I don't know if I am ready... maybe I will watch just a little longer.

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