Walking Backward

Emmie hung from the railing by her armpits, watching her twig navigate the listless currents of the stream. Four of its predecessors had snagged themselves on a mat of branches by a Y in the stream.

“Come on. Come on.”

The twig caught itself in the tangle. Emmie sighed. Then she looked up. Someone was singing.

The light voice rose and fell amidst the breathing cadence of the woods. She tossed her fist of twigs over the railing and ran off the bridge following the stream, sometimes retreating to the woodchip path when the underbrush became too thick.

The woods were attached to the great green field across street from her home, and all of it resided within a large municipal park. A row of houses bordered the woods’ eastern edge; a branch of the stream flowed behind their back yards. Emmie stood on its embankment and peered into one of these backyards.

A girl about her age was idling on a swingset facing her house, singing.

The girl didn’t know all the lyrics. When she came to a line she couldn’t recall she half mumbled/half hurried past it. Continue reading

Emmie and the Perfect Arc

There was a girl with brown eyes and long brown hair who lived in the big blue house on the corner with the swingset in the backyard.  I think we know who we are talking about but I’m not going to say her name.  Esmeralda.

“Emmie,” called her mom, “it’s getting on to dinner, come wash your hands.”

Emmie was at the top of her favorite arc and couldn’t reply just then.  The arc that would finally take her to the clouds.  The best of all possible arcs. The sky was right there. The blue – if it were any closer – would stain her yellow shirt with the pink crane over her heart, forever.  She was almost there.

“Ez Mer El Duh, did you hear me?”

Emmie was falling to Earth, the arc had passed. It had been her favorite arc.

“But there will be others. Maybe even better. Maybe arcs so perfect that…”

“Did you hear me, Esmeralda?”

Her mom slid open the patio door, holding a pair of tongs.

“Chicken, again?” Continue reading