Week 31 - Driftwood - Part Four

Final part of Driftwood - new story next week. This story has been about really short, really instinctual bursts. Something emerged, but I'm not quite sure what it is. Next week's story is far more considered, and I'll try to move forward in that direction to have these stories build into something more weighty than sketches such as this.


Naomi is old now.

She likes to sit, alone, in a chair by the window and feel the seconds slip away from her. She’ll hear a sound, and in that moment feel quiet and serene. Safe as houses.

She hardly speaks. People come and go, and she accepts them politely, graciously. But she doesn’t feel the presence more than fleetingly; doesn’t let it concern her any more than the birds that flutter through her airspace. This way, she is happy.

Old Naomi is a quietly receding hermit, trapped in slowly shrinking skin. And she loves it, self-aware and purposeful.

Back then, in the department store, young Naomi emerges from the throng of frenetic old women, fist speckled with her own blood, jaw aching from the slow grind. She climbs downward, leaving a trail of red on the railing of the stalled escalator.

Above her lies destruction. The darkened shop closes in around her, angry. A dull rumble builds; the building’s angry remonstration. It’s not clear why the store did this to her – showed her these things, took her out of the waking world and snatched her into the shadowy recesses of the dark. But it did, because it wanted to, and now it would remain unfulfilled.

As Naomi steps off the stairs onto the ground floor, the escalator whirrs to life behind her. She thinks very little of it. Ahead, there is a door, slowly turning on an electric motor. The rumbling dissipates.

All things, eventually, give up.

Ever moving forward.

Naomi eases out into the bright daylight of outside. The world is unchanged, full of normal people doing normal things. Buying and swapping and rushing and stopping.

Naomi breathes deep. Wipes the very real red blood from her hands onto her new red jumper, stolen and warm. She turns and joins the flow of people. Behind her, the department store has whirred back to life, people entering and exiting on their way to their own tiny tests of courage and will.

Naomi feels the dragging in her bones. Doomed to drift.

Maybe she never made it to be old.

Maybe this older Naomi, the one waiting by the window, is somebody else.

Somebody who wears her red jumper every day.

Somebody who hates when she feels things standing in her way.

Somebody who is no longer afraid of her own reflection.

Somebody like you.


Words copyright Matt Vesely. Image by Tom Burke, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Driftwood.jpg