Shadow [On Aging]
Micro-story written to accompany this image, on Instagram. This image was taken in the colonial town of El Fuerte, Mexico.
I’ve been writing teeny stories, poems and odd bits of fiction, awash with fact too on Instagram for a while – on and off for years. The stories are usually inspired by something I see, an image or a person say, a conversation or a memory. They are written in a flash and need to be compact to fit in with social media posts…
Rice grains scattered from the jar on the table. “Oh, hell,” she sighed. A shadow passed across the chair. The cat rubbed its body in a figure of eight around her legs, oblivious, mewling for milk, tuna, devotion.
She felt a chill crawl along her arms, a wind had come in through the door. The last grains tumbled, like mouse paws scuttling on the wooden kitchen floor. Pooled murky, a silver river by the streaming light of the little window. The silhouette of the rice grains peeked from their tiny confines, jumped, and evaporated thinly in the sunlight.
She tied the apron tightly, exhaling as she stooped low. Broom and dust pan worked in silence. Her apron loosened, a string hanging limply across the floor. As she lifted her body to retie the strings, the shadow caught her eye.
The cat stood frozen, hairs on end. She recognised the scent. Fresh cut grass and lemon and something deep and sweet. Vanilla? Frangipani. It was frangipani. The wind fluttered in again, swirling the shadow, slowly, tenderly.
It was her, she realised with detachment, thinking of cracks to seal before the winter. Twenty years gathered in the arms of the wind.