the girl climbed quietly out of bed. she was not a very small girl but neither was she yet a large girl. rather she was an in between sort of girl, the kind that was big enough to get to places she wasn't supposed to be and still small enough to fit inside them.

she threw it as hard as she could, aiming just to the right of his head. it landed exactly where she wanted, shattering the glass pane. he froze, turned around, gaping. his eyes scanning her face as if he had never seen her before. she was now a stranger, this one outburst severing their already tenuous connections. good, she thought, "now will you listen to me?"

we have the same hands. fingers exactly the same length, all twenty fingernails perfectly shaped, the knuckles of one perhaps swollen a bit more with age than the other, but otherwise the construction was excellent mimicry. work for craftsmen to envy. remarkable that her hands were not disfigured by the treatment.

an image forms: a vast expanse of land, immeasurable, winter-burdened. clov's landscape. the muted colors mark everything indefinite, she's not sure where the line of the horizon lies. patches of half-melted snow are scattered across muddy earth and brown grass. it looks... unpleasant to walk on. a few short steps would sink her shoes and soak her socks. nothing is worse than wet socks. but she begins to move forward anyway because, in the distance, she can just see something that doesn't belong, something odd in its placement, there are, perhaps, a few scraggly trees, twisted and bare, strewn about the unending expanse. miserable afterthoughts from an ether nightmare. the sky is that particular shade of grey that comes in northern climates in mid-february: oppressive and unbreached.

the car pushes 120. loves it, devours the road gleefully under its gleaming white grill, gulping down asphalt with unrestrained exuberance. it slides effortlessly across the desert, screaming along some godforsaken stretch of southern california. it has no destination and no deadline, it is the movement alone that counts.

she knew this was the end. the glass shattered, catching the morning sunlight as it crashed to the floor. great, what a lovely fucking metaphor. she hated endings. they were always so messy. there were always so many things you wanted to say, in retrospect. ways in which you wished desperately you'd behaved differently. but in the midst of the end, that was the hard part. mucking through all that feeling. that was the part she really despised.

it was summer, august. the air still clung to a humid swamp heat despite the night. in that kind of weather only the hours of the morning just before sunrise brought any relief. the girl's windows were open. the bedroom overlooked a lawn ringed by woods. the woods were deep and populated. mostly it was just owls she heard, birds in the morning, the cough of a fox or thump of a startled deer's hooves. sometimes though she heard the screams of a dying rabbit, the screeches of bobcats, the sudden silence when crickets were startled.

she wondered if the look on her mother's face was peaceful. it was awfully hard to tell. there was swelling in some places, sinking in others, loss of hair, the imprint of now-removed medical devices. and the general atmosphere. she personally was feeling anything but peaceful. it was very dark. her grandmother, aunt and great aunt were all snoring fitfully on the fold out sofa bed. how medieval, all of us women. here together. taking turns. waiting.

as soon as she saw it coming she sprinted from the house. through the woods, down the path which opened into that huge space that was so vast and so isolated. it rolled in over the trees, angry billows of grey climbing over top one another to arrive first. there was a flash, and a noise. a huge noise. a frightening noise. she defied all the desperate instincts clamoring runshelterhiderun and laughed out loud. hopped up and down, waited for it to come.

the car is an exquisite machine: loved, pampered, tuned to perfection. the stereo, meticulously crafted for enviable sound quality, eggs the car on, noise pouring out of the open windows, drifting across the desert for miles, echoing off rocks, startling small animals. the car grins its white-toothed grin and speeds up, the sound and velocity suspending all sense of movement.

why here? a desolate wasteland with her wandering silently in the middle. this isn't what she wants. comfort, quiet, somewhere to nap in the sun, maybe, but not this...uncertainty; caught somewhere between the inevitability of death and the desire for everything. not this predictable cliché. its too easy, adolescent, stubborn. yet here she is, surrounded by it. she sighs, trudging forward.

the worst thing about endings is that all you get is to walk away. no catharsis, no validation. she watched his back. it was a beautiful back, muscular, with confidant shoulders. she thought about how much she would miss that back, miss seeing it first thing in the morning, washing it in the shower, kissing it lightly. she knew she would never find another back like it. there was broken glass on the floor now. she was barefoot. he was walking away. of course he wouldn't listen. actually, she thought miserably, the worst thing about endings is that you still have to get out of bed the next morning.

and it did come. as if the sky had sighed and decided it wasn't worth the effort and simply let go. it came down all at once. a deluge, torrential. she was soaked instantly. the ground became soggy, puddles formed in the grass, flashes of light struck trees fifty yards away. she turned her face up and shut her eyes, dancing barefoot in the mud.

the girl climbed on top of the book case under the window and opened the screen. there was no moon. fireflies sparkled in the tree-line, the wind murmured. there were other night noises: crickets, peepers. she lay on the bookcase, looking out the window, pulled a blanket over herself despite the settled heat. watched the night waiting for something to happen.

it wouldn't be long now. that's what they all knew, what they still weren't saying with words. it was communicated with action clearly enough: friends and family gathering like an army. vigils, preparations. and in the center of all the bustling, all the taking care of, all the activity, there was a calm place, like the eye of the hurricane she had explored when she was twelve. the light had been green and everything had been entirely still. no wind, no sound. as if the world had frozen, all but for her. this calm place was like that, the place where it was actually happening. is this it? she thought studying her mother's closed eyes. is this the point where i'm supposed to say all those important things? the wrapping up things. is this when i'm supposed to say goodbye?

the object is beginning to define the horizon as she approaches, as it grows. it is definitely blue. the blue of plastic and of ribbons in little girls' hair. a screeching, continuous blue so out of place in this expanse of cowed tones that it fits as seamlessly as if it were always there. the blue becomes, as she nears, a plush, ratty, armchair. surprisingly squat for its height. she approaches, circles, inspects. the fabric is worn in places, damaged by damp and cold; amazing it has retained its color. then again, anything could look vibrant here. there is no indication of purpose. no, it's just a slightly faded blue armchair squatting defiantly in the middle of a desolate wasteland.

this is the place, the reason. this space created by movement and sound, this gentle suspension of motion and time, this is what it's all about. the car would continue forward at astonishing velocity until there was no more road to continue on. and then, perhaps, it would continue farther. because this is the one place, which it alone could create, where nothing ever changes.

mud squished between her toes, rain plastered her hair. she laughed, screamed, flung out her arms and spun in circles. this is it, this is what it's like to be alive. nothing else existed, the world was hers, all hers. she never wanted it to change.

she gets up off the floor, sweeps up the glass, washes her face. begins to pack. it will hurt. a lot, probably. maybe more than it already does. she is not looking forward to that. she'll have to live with the lack of reconciliation. will have the same conversations in her head, with herself, until she can't think anymore. and then she will have to move on, try to convince herself that she is looking forward to the change.

so she sits down. what else would there be to do? she sits deep in the plush chair, draws her feet underneath her, closes her eyes, wishing something would change.

she couldn't think of anything to say. nothing seemed to fit. would she remember this? or would it fade, like everything else, eventually. would she remember the rose pastel swirls of the wallpaper, the occasional gurgle of the iv drip? how is it you can know a person for so long and really know nothing about them at all? she looked down at their hands, one gently holding the other, seemingly belonging to the same person, and knew that everything had changed.

the girl had slept on the bookcase every night for weeks, watching the night. and every night it was the same. and she came to realize, after a time, that nothing was ever going to happen on its own. so the girl who was neither very small nor yet very large climbed down from the bookcase and back into her bed, convinced that nothing would ever change.