The World

I am taking a 2 week online writing class during this time of social isolation. Every day I will receive a prompt to write from. I figure I might as well put my efforts up here. They are first drafts and not well researched. I am not going to include the prompt because they are from the class and I don’t want to take the teacher’s content. These stories are fresh and raw and I want to share them with you. 

This story was inspired by the following tarot cards: Page of Swords (Reversed), Knight of Swords (Reversed), Death, The World (Reversed).

Was it so much that Lena wanted the world? Yeah, like the whole world, all tucked up and accessible. Like those marbles with a blue swirl inside that would fit inside the smallest pocket. She wanted New Orleans with its Voodoo priestesses and hidden gardens and funeral processions and she also wanted Jodhpur and Patagonia and South Carolina. She was reading a book about South Carolina and there were these lovely descriptions of birds and shells and feathers and she wanted journals filled with everything, like really insightful language and sketches of nature and pressed leaves and flowers and spilled coffee and watercolor smears.

On the night she met Mark, she was at a café writing poems on napkins with a black pen that bled through to the table. He sat with her uninvited in a coat embroidered with butterflies and birds. “Who are you and what are you going to do with your life and can I do it with you?” he asked. She was appropriately disarmed but also there was something about him; something wild and hazardous and a bit out of control. He was ready to cut through all the bullshit and get down to it, for which Lena had a certain appreciation.

They went home to his apartment and burned through the sheets, burned down the curtains and barely made it out alive. They took a plane to Rome even though neither of them could afford it and it was there she realized what out of control really looked like. He was disgusted by her vulnerabilities and always ready for a fight. When she would get too emotional, he would throw his glass of water in her face. “You have to use your head,” he was always saying. He slashed through the pages of her journal with a knife, leaving ribbons of half sketched images and litanies of complaints.

They traveled on to Greece, where one night he gave her his coat of butterflies and birds. She no longer knew if she wanted the world. She only wanted herself back.  She shivered in the embroidered coat and tried to remember her old passions. Something about funerals. Something about feathers. She couldn’t eat and she couldn’t sleep. He was unimpressed by her frailty and spent more time without her. He bought a new jacket. Shiny and black.

One night, she dreamed about a place between two pillars, where the sun shone over a city. “It’s time to move on,” she told herself. But she was feverish, couldn’t get out of bed. She slept for three days and on the fourth day she got up. The little room was empty and everything looked singed. She would buy a new journal, she decided. She abandoned the coat in a heap on the floor and stepped outside into the Grecian sun. She stepped out into the world.