Sunday, November 25, 2007

Warm Hands

If I kiss you where it's sore,
Will you feel better (better, better)?
Will you feel anything at all?

--Regina Spektor, "Better"

"It's cold," she said.


"Really strange this year. The way the leaves are still around."

"Yeah. Global warming. We're all dead."

Her gaze drifted up the other hillside. "Oh well."

The grey mist blew and tickled his face.

"Sometimes I want to hop a train," he said.

"Like that one?"


"But it's not moving."

"It could. Any moment."

"It's been there a month, at least."

"I could wait."

She buttoned up her sweater. Her fingers moved like water over rocks. "So what do you want to do?"

He stared.

"I don't know."

"It doesn't have to be so hard to be happy, you know."

He shrugged his coat more tightly over his shoulders. The mist sprinkled into rain.

Without catching her eye, he took her hand. Squeezed it a little.

Despite the season, it still felt warm.

(The area pictured is just beyond the former dam of Lake Conemaugh, which breached after relentless rains in 1889. The resulting wave destroyed the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.)


Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Jason, I love your vignettes. This put me so perfectly in a place and a mood. I loved it. Can't wait for your next story!

Chris Eldin said...

This is beautiful, Jason.
My favorite line is this:
Her fingers moved like water over rocks.

SzélsőFa said...

I like these emotional snapshots of yours, too. I like how calm and peaceful they are.

WH said...

Beautiful work!

Anonymous said...

Ello, thanks. Vignettes are perfect for focusing on a particular moment/emotion. As for a longer story, I'll have to think up a good one for you. :)

Church Lady, I added that line late. I thought I needed a little more feel to the scene.

Szelsofa, yes, it's the quiet moments when larger issues become clear.

Billy, thanks. :)

x said...

Lovely picture and exquisite dialogue. I wish I could write short vignettes like you do. Something else to work on. For fun.

Kim said...

Regina Spektor is my daughter's absolute favorite singer/songwriter. Are you a fan?

Anonymous said...

Why is it so hard for some people and not for others? Great vignette capturing that difference, at least for me.

Joanne said...

You made me want to jump on that train too! Very nice.

Sarah Hina said...

It will come as no surprise that I loved this. That sense of longing to be elsewhere can sometimes be silenced by a simple squeeze of the hand. Momentarily, at least.

Wonderfully quiet, yet affecting, scene, Jason.

S. Kearney said...

Lovely, Jason. Goes so well with the image. :-)

Vesper said...

Very nice, JAson!

Beth said...

Jason, this was a beautiful vignette. Utterly enjoyable and the picture is GORGEOUS.

The Anti-Wife said...

I loved the simplicity of this. Great writing doesn't have to be complicated.

Anonymous said...

the words here evoked feelings, and i enjoyed them. thanks!

raine said...

Agree. Simple and affecting.
Church Lady's favorite line was mine too.

Angela said...


I love the photo and the vignette. Lots of longing, but an underlying feeling of hope. I was right there with them.

Aine said...

Ybonesy, I've always wondered that, too.

Sarah, hope is a choice. The choice between the warmth from the squeeze of the hand and the excitement of traveling to a new place must be conscious, then it need not be momentary. Of course, there's also the option that one could achieve both. :)

Angela, yes, I feel the hope, too.

Anonymous said...

TIV, vignettes are great practice!

Kaycie, yes! I have her more recent album. I'd like to pick up her first.

Ybonesy, that's a great point. Much of it does seem to be a choice.

Joanne, it would be fun to see when it goes.

Sarah, I was also exploring the difference between the happiness of one person versus the happiness of two together. The squeeze of the hand and hope is essential for the latter. Aine's right, both would be even better.

Shameless, I've been itching to use this photo.

Anonymous said...

Vesper, glad you liked it. :)

Beth, I really like that shot too. I stumbled on some great scenes that day. Very cool. :)

Anti-Wife, I do think there's a strength, an impact, that comes with focused, direct writing.

C.S., I think these folks are headed in the right direction.

Raine, it hit me that bending knuckles look like that water. Thanks. :)

Angela, yes, hope is the focus. Hope when it's not easy to do it.

Aine and I had fun working on this one. :)

fringes said...

It's been awhile. Glad to see you're still at it!

Sarah Hina said...

Btw, Jason, thank you for the link!

Jaye Wells said...

Another good one. Tell the truth, Aine writes all this stuff for you, doesn't she?

Anonymous said...

Fringes, it has been a while! I hope you've been good.

Sarah, you're very welcome.

Jaye, I'll defer to Aine.

Aine said...

Jaye, Ha! I wish I could take credit, but, alas, I'm not a writer. It's fun to share in the experiences behind many of these posts and to share in their creation.

Jaye Wells said...

It's fun to be a muse, no?

Aine said...

Jaye, yes, exactly! I inspire, he creates... sounds like I've got the easier job. ;)

mermaid said...

Movement and stillness. Unusual seasons. Your characters are still perceptive.

We run away from the present moment so quickly. Thank you for lingering in this one for a while.

Anonymous said...

Mermaid, I agree. There's more to the present than we often take the time to see.

AngelConradie said...

i so enjoy your vignettes dude, little glimpses into other people's lives...