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Rusty W. Spell

Where Are You?  Where Did You Go?

"Suddenly she called his name and wept--as if she burned in the fire of separation."
                                                                                      --Govindadasa

"This isn't entirely real," she said to him, and he did have to wonder.  After years of her not wanting to see him, for no reason that she ever felt the need to tell, here she was underneath him in the middle of a green grove.  They had been walking and talking without looking, and now they were here, and who knew where it was.  Vines creeping from trees to ground held and pulled their bodies down against the earth and each other as they made love.  The sky couldn't have possibly been this blue, and the clouds were puff balls from a stage production, all parodies of reality.  He rolled onto his side, still staying inside of her, and a yellow butterfly landed on her nipple.

She had been quivering and bubbling since they stopped.  Flower petals were in her mouth and dirt was making a pattern around her navel.  A tiny-thorned vine made an ankle bracelet of itself.  He moved a silver spider web from her hair and pulled himself out.  The butterfly flew away.  Little stick-made marks were all over here.  A wind blew cold and she looked down at where his penis was and then to his eyes, but she looked through him and her face changed.

She screamed his name aloud, like someone looking for a potentially-kidnapped child.  He raised himself to hover his face over hers, smiling and wondering about this new game.  She screamed again: "Where are you?"  She scrambled around, either looking for him or for her clothes that had disappeared from the area hours ago.  He touched her arm and slapped it gently a few times, but she didn't react.  He tried the same with her cheek and she only screamed his name again.

He remembered a time when his mother shook her keychain violently at him as a child, yelling, "Where are my keys?  Who has stolen my keys?"  She died before he could ask her about it.

She stood and yelled: "Where are you?  Where did you go?  Why did you leave me here all by myself?"  She spun herself in semi-circles, back and forth.  In her movements, his penis grazed her thigh and she said, "Is that you?"  He remained silent, unable to talk.

They stood quiet and naked for many seconds, she moving slowly back and forth like a gunslinger ready to fire and he not moving at all.  In a moment, her face became completely red and she fell on her back.  Her arms and legs moved about as if they were being controlled by distant robots.  She screamed out non-words, baby talk, but it was not cute.  The birds sounded like they were being electrocuted.  It looked as if she would have fainted if the pain from the bumps and rocks had not kept her awake.

He backed away, putting his hand on his chin, examining her.  At first he felt only confusion, but now he too felt apart from her, as if they had never made love, had never come to this grove--or as if they had always been here, but invisible to each other, horrifically aware that somewhere they had found perfection together and now it was lost.

Eventually, she calmed down and began to wander, her left hand out, as if being led away by some other, compassionate friend.


Rusty W. Spell has been published in The Mid-American Review, The Georgetown Review, The Blip Magazine Archive, and others.  He teaches writing and literature at Auburn University and is a musician.  This is his first published work of flash fiction.

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