Written with my Thursday night group with the prompts: he had given up speaking to anyone but Molly, confidant and clown, double orange doors, Blue Planet, need a plan, must have a goal, always cleaned up behind himself, pillow confessions
Tim had given up speaking to anyone but Molly a long time ago. Thanks to her, he could sequester himself in his cabin at the end of the dry creek bed, the house with the double doors and shutters painted bright orange. Inside the walls were crowded with book shelves and filing cabinets, voluminous records and samples of seeds and fronds and pods and spores, botanical diversity in infinite combinations.
He had no plan, he had no goal, he merely observed, he merely collected. He was a witness. It was a clean way to live. “I always clean up behind myself,” he told Molly, and she liked that about him. But she noted too that he seemed to think that inaction guaranteed a kind of neutrality. Couldn’t he see: to do no thing was a position. To do nothing was an endorsement of the status quo. It suggested a tacit approval of entropy.
Molly wasn’t sure how it had come to this. They had been lovers once, for an intense three years over a decade ago. They had worked together then. She played the role of confidant at night, absorbing his pillow confessions, but by day she played the clownish side-kick, smoothing over his awkwardness in meet and greets and staff meetings with flattery and jokes. She felt this contribution was vital, but eventually she grew bored, and they drifted apart. She sought more satisfying employment. He moved to the foothills. Still he called her every evening to describe the insects and birds he’d seen at dawn, to tell her about nocturnal creatures that visited his yard at dusk. She had children now to tend to, a husband cooking dinner for her as she helped with homework and bath times. Still she took the time to listen to Tim. There was something yet there that attracted and concerned her.
He was losing words in the ether, the color of the clouds, the Latin name for spearmint.
“Write it down,” she told him. “Write what you can’t remember.”
There was traffic in the street, neighbors calling their children and dogs. She had another life. He was fading into the blue.
Photo by Caleb Bishop at Unsplash