Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #52

Silent
by Michelle Davidson Argyle


The darkness is filled with sound. The crickets rub their legs. Leaves dance. When he closes his eyes footsteps squish in the sand along the shore outside his window. Bugs bang at the screen. He wonders if she will come tonight, if she’ll slide her fingers against the mesh that divides him between walls and sky. He feels his chest rise, the bugs slamming like his heartbeat. They are attracted to the green glow of his digital clock, an unnatural hum exhaled from its insides. She is closer. He imagines her white skirt in the breeze as waves ripple to the shore. She will smell of hydrangea and cinnamon. He will raise the screen, will open his hands to her skin and love and light. There is no sound when her lips part above him. There is only a jewel at her naked neck, bright and round as the moon, a halo of fireflies, a promise in her throat that she will return tomorrow. Only there is no tomorrow.

When he rises he travels down the dusty road with the smell of rotting apples at his feet. The summer is hot and the sun is too bright. He shields his eyes with a level hand. He steps through long grass and finds the etched stone where she rests. All around him the cicadas sing.

34 comments:

Loren Eaton said...

Great imagery in this one, Michelle. Also, I like the dual use of "stone." Didn't see that ending coming.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Thanks, Loren!

Peter Dudley said...

Beautifully written, almost prose poetry. I love the contrasts between the night and morning--the smells, the cicadas and crickets. Really nice.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Peter, thanks so much for taking the time to read! I haven't had time to read through any of the other entries yet, and I need to. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

As much as I loved the imagery in this, I would have to disagree with the cicadas "singing" because there are a million of em here and they "sing" ALL THE TIME. Very loudly too. LoL

But this was pretty brilliant. :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Haha, Oddyoddyo! You know, though, I know they're loud and obnoxious and unpleasant in away - that's kind of what I wanted because the poor guy isn't happy. It can go either way.

peter davidson said...

Beautifully written with delightful imagery. Good work!

(Are we distant cousins?)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Peter, thanks!

We could be distant cousins! Davidson is my maiden name. My ancestors come from the Netherlands and Australia.

Kimberly B. said...

That was really beautiful. Gorgeous use of description to capture emotion.
Thank you.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Thank you, Kimberly!

Aerin said...

Okay. *sigh* I keep looking for something wrong with this. Can't find anything. I toyed with the ending, but it does flow beautifully. I tried to find overuse of adjectives - but you used them well. I thought about insulting your hair, but you have gorgeous hair.

Rats.

Aimee Laine said...

Very nicely written. Poetic. :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Aerin, you're so nice, thank you! My hair never looks like that, by the way. It was all for the pictures so I could pretend I have nice hair. ;)

Aimee, thanks for reading!

Erratic Thoughts said...

OMG...I did not see that end coming! I like the smelly rotten apples thing, you've described some great intricacies to the point.Liked it! :)

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Michelle!

I love the imagery, I can almost hear the night...and the girl who might come, a ghost or real?

Excellent!!

Dottie :)

February Grace said...

Michelle-

This just made me cry.

It. Is. Perfect.

~bru

McKoala said...

Gorgeous.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Thank you so much, you guys! I will definitely be out to read your entries if you have any up. Thanks for stopping by to read and to comment. I know how much time it takes!

SzélsőFa said...

awesome.
great.

Michael Morse said...

I like the contrast between dreams and reality. Actually, I prefer the dreams, but I guess they have to come from a reality once lived. And if he lived enough to experience the stuff of dreams his reality is less burdensome.

What I like most, though, is the way your story makes me think.

Precie said...

Beautiful. And tragic.

Laurel said...

Sigh.

So, so pretty. And sad.

I love all the summer descriptions: flowers, scents, sounds, screens. Everything ripe and lush until the last few lines, where the scent of rotting apples introduces death.

That was my only (teeny) quibble. With the summer setting, a rotting fall fruit distracted. Just a smidge.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Thank you, everyone!

Such nice comments. :)

Laurel, that's an interesting point! I grew up in the country, though, and apples definitely fall from the trees and rot even during the summer. Ones that got knocked down in a storm or by passing children, etc. Or maybe that's not what you're saying. Either way, thank you for reading and for your comment!

AidanF said...

Michelle, this piece is full of the lovely images I associate with your writing. You really engage the five senses to create a wonderful whole.

Aniket said...

Haha Aerin, You always say the nicest things, don't you? :D

I loved how this piece appeals to all your senses. One can read, see, smell and feel this piece. And its a darn tough thing to pull off. Well done, Michelle. :)

JaneyV said...

Michelle - this is so very beautifully written and so very sad. A delight for the senses, a blow for the heart.

Deb Smythe said...

Such a vivid piece. Like the others, I loved the imagery.

On first reading, I thought the first graf, full of life and summer things, was memory, and that the second graf, with the falling apples, signified a shift to present day autumn and death. Either way, the bittersweet sense of sadness will stay with me for a while.

peter davidson said...

Ah, probably shipped off to Australia for stealing apples. So we're probably cousins! The Davidson Clan was reputedly a fairly roguish lot who enjoyed more than the odd rape & pillage in the Highlands ...
Good luck in the contest!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Thank you, Peter! Sadly, I haven't had any time to read through most of the entries. I've gone through some of them. That might affect decisions and votes, but oh well. I've got to at least read (if not comment) all of them in order to vote. That's my job for tonight!

Vincent Kale said...

Immediately fell in love with the mystery woman. A very romantic scene reminiscent of so many summer nights at the beach. I was pretty upset when she didn't show, moreso when I found out she would never be able to. A hopeful scene turned tragic. Expertly done!

JR's Thumbprints said...

Nice prose. It's a love no matter how you look at it. I like how you use nature in your descriptions.

JR's Thumbprints said...

It's a "love story..." I hate when I can't type fast enough.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Thank you, Vincent and JR! I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. :)

Catherine Vibert said...

Oh what a cascading waterfall of romantic imagery. I loved the addition of cicadas, that just puts the icing on the summery cake you spread before us here. A ghost story in the end, wonderful twist there.