Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Red Writing Hood: The Transfiguration

This week's Red Writing Hood is to write fiction or non-fiction based on a song. I'll reveal the song at the end of the page. As always,  I appreciate your feedback.

(By the way, this is fictional). 

The Transfiguration

She bent over, breathing in and out. The air was thin and insubstantial, burning her lungs with each inhalation. She slowly lifted up her head, stood up straight, and looked into eternity.

The summit was above the treeline, lunar and thirsty. Small shrubs and hearty mosses claimed the rocks, but the trees kept a respectful distance. She didn't come here for the trees, anyway.

She took a long sip of water from her canteen, and pulled her hair from its ponytail. She shook it out, feeling it fan over her shoulders, a blanket of amber and gold.

He used to love her hair. At least that's what he had said. Or maybe she had imagined that, too. 

He had called her, asked her to come over to his apartment to talk. As they walked into the nearby forest, she considered  the rounded muscles of his arms, the curve of his spine, and the heat of his mouth against her earlobe.

She knew what was coming. She listened to the crunch of the pine needles beneath her feet, and thought to herself, "You knew it would happen. You knew it would happen. You knew it would happen."  She had carried this fear around, a silken shroud, for six long months.

He sat down, and twisted his shoelace. He was always fidgeting. He coughed, and began: "I think you've been reading too much into this arrangement of ours. We agreed that we were, um, serving each other's needs, right?"

"Right," she said. Serving each other's needs. His need was for occasional booty calls. Her need was for him to fall in love with her. When he kissed her, when he held her hand, when he held  her through the night, she allowed those little buds of hope to embrace the earth. 

He cleared his throat. "So, um, when you came up to me at the, um, party, and kissed me like that...." he trailed off, asking her to finish the sentence.

She nodded. Last night. Intoxicated by the music, and too many plastic red cups of something, she told him the truth. "I love you," she had slurred. "and I know you love me, too." As she kissed him, he pulled away, wiped his mouth, and walked away.

She woke up the next day, and waited for the call. Waited for this moment, the moment she had dared into existence, and almost believed would never happen.

She looked him in the eye, summoned up her remaining courage, and said, "So, we're probably done, then, right?"

He smiled, his face a sunrise of relief. "I'm glad you think so, too. But we're still friends, right?"

"Of course, " she said. "Always."

She held onto the idea of him, nurtured it like a stray cat.  She feed it with his occasional calls, stroked it with each shared laugh or lingering gaze. Her friends starting exchanging glances when she worked his name into yet another conversation. 

He starting dating a girl from Colombia, with skin the color of polished walnut. An exotic beauty who also sculpted. A fucking Colombian sculptor.

She started to listen to Alanis Morrisette un-ironically. Her friends walked away when she mentioned his name.

She was always tired. It was exhausting to carry him around.

She returned to her mountains. She walked for hours, preparing for this day. Her moment at the mountaintop.

As she considered the view and drank her water, she listened to the voice inside her heart. I love you too much to let you stay this way, it whispered.

She removed a pair of scissors from her rucksack. She held them in her hand, trembling slightly. She swallowed, breathed deeply, and cut off a lock. Than another. And another.

She cut off the heaviness, the regret, the need to make him happy. Her hair pooled at her feet.

There, on the mountaintop, she considered the light and the release of her transfiguration.

This is inspired by Sufjan Stevens' song The Transfiguration. Although this song is based on a Biblical text, this artist runs the gamut. He's written about the fifty states, the Chinese Zodiac, and the Queens-Bronx-Expressway, amongst other things. He's a brilliant artist and performer. 


dek said...

...nurtured it like a stray cat. There's a lot of awesome packed into that simile.

Cheeseboy said...

Very well written and intriguing. Written by a woman for women is the thought that comes to me though. Loved the part about Alanis Morrisett.

Crystal Escobar said...

Wow, you are such a great writer. I want to be like you someday :)

Ratz said...

WOW... it is powerful... i like the way you have used little everyday events as similes.. just beautiful

(Florida) Girl said...

Fantastic imagery. I particularly liked the opening--I felt like I was there. You always do good work.

As far as constructive feedback, I stumbled over the word "ping." I'm not sure what picture you were painting for me there.

I am not sure what projects you are working on but if you are in the market for a writing buddy I would like to volunteer.

MiMi said...

That was fabulous. I need to go listen to the song now. So good.

Ash said...

Holy cow, wow Nancy. Ugh. The heartache. Brilliant and polished.

Men totally suck.

You don't.


Jenny said...

Your writing always amazes and inspires me - thank you for sharing!

Kim said...

This is a pain I experienced over and over in my twenties and even some of my thirties. You wrote it so well. And you have me intrigued. I've never heard of this musician but shall google him now. I always look forward to your posts.

Carrie said...

When I read the part about the mountain and her cutting off her hair I pictured her as a female Samson. Very strong imagery with this one.

You always have great lines woven in. Especially the last one

Erin said...

I AM that girl.
Love her cutting off her hair at the end---letting go.

And I don't see how on EARTH you were worried about my linking up today. This post is just fucking amazing---as per usual. I love Alanis, but I'm not sure if I know Stevens (I'm not a huge music guru). Off to check it out and add to my iPod.

I love all your imagery. "not here for the trees." sipping from the canteen. a ducking colombian sculptor. I've always wanted to sculpt something, take a pottery class. But I'm not good at that sort of thing.

Love you, Nance. You are such an amazing writer it makes me want to cry. Do you not see it in yourself?

Cheryl said...

Oh Nancy - where to start?

So much beautiful imagery. I could relate so much to this, especially this line: "She was always tired. It was exhausting to carry him around."

Sigh. SO true.

I realized loved this. The writing also was pretty tight. I like that in a piece! ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow... beautifully written... I was captivated to the last moment. And now going to google that song!

Anonymous said...

The style of this piece took my breath away.

And oh, Sufjan Stevens!

Having spent a night dancing in those shoes, daring the end to come with audacious truth, this rang so true.


Anonymous said...

Oh, this was beautiful! I was on the edge of my seat til the end! I love the symbolism of cutting off her hair, releasing the weight. Lovely.

Aging Mommy said...

I liked this Nancy, as Cheryl says, very tight writing, simplistic in style and yet delivering a message and plenty of emotion.

Read the comments Nancy - they all tell you how much people love your writing.

Unknown Mami said...

A friggin' sculptor!

Kristy said...

I really liked this one. I bet a lot of women can relate. Well written too. Just now getting around to check it out and glad I did!

Marla said...

Write a book. Please. I will read it.