The Souls of Beautiful Monsters - Fredrick

     He was burbling, wrestling the words as they rushed out of his mouth and losing balance, falling over then righting himself. No one heard the words. They were all too busy stepping over the shadow on the sidewalk, too disgusted, distracted and too burdened with the next step and the one after that...
     “The passage, unseen in plain sight – the door is formless and nowhere and everywhere and the key to the door is emptiness. Here…”
     He holds out his filthy hands, cupping nothing, smiling and squinting into the sun, blinding white hot above the black shadowed shoulders of rushing figures.
     “Mama, look!” exclaims a tiny girl draped in a hibiscus summer dress.
     “This way,” replies Mama, fingers our, distracted, thumbing her phone and grasping for Papa.
     “The restaurant should be over here, wait, no, over there… Lucy! That's a crazy man, yes! See him? See the crazy man? Cuckoo bird! Ok, this way!”
     The miniature dress blots out the sun in a low arc. From his vantage an aurora of skimming light bursts off the pavement, limestone grit, mica-black glow, blind-blue hues fill a larger space than seems possible between them. The small frills, pale pink-petal pleats near his nose glowing, appear as an impossibly luminous solutions to something important and undefined…
     He smiles up at her.  Lucy puts out one delicate, new finger and smiles back.
     She can see what he sees reflected in his eyes. At the end of her finger, his eyes aflame; her silhouette perfectly doubled, the two small hers facing forward, black except for the halo of frills.
     “It is in the turmoil, in the dread and joy equally, in the moment of every moment, embedded and distinct – in the sorrow and speed and wearing out, running down, letting go,” he smiled back, “letting go…”
     Lucy swishes her dress for Fredrick and sees what he sees so clearly reflected in his eyes. It is that clarity that makes her giggle, and that giggle takes her through time and the obstacles of childhood with a grace that is almost suspect, and a refinement that is often mistaken for lacking by those who would never have stopped, not for a moment, to listen to Fredrick.


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