Monday, July 17, 2017

One Thing is Missing, Katy Comber

One Thing is Missing in Three Vignettes 
by Katy Comber


“One thing is missing.” she stepped back and studied the wall. 
“I’m not sure. But it’s driving me crazy.” 
We slid our backs down against a tree created for leaning. Its curved trunk molded by guests over time. Visitors with scattered, pacing thoughts needing something solid to support them as they mapped out their burdens. Lovers needing a space to be. Readers of books written to be lived under branches. Pages fluttering among their kin. Now, us. Two sisters staring at a wall and trying to figure out what was missing. 
We stared at that wall for a long time before Julia gasped beside me and pointed. The door that had once been an entry/exit point into our country was bricked in. The brick work was immaculate. Flawless. So you wouldn’t know what had been there in the first place. We looked at each other. Julia began to tremble. That door. It was the prologue to our life here. Our annual trek to this place had been invalidated. 


“One thing is missing.” He seemed annoyed. Bothered by this something’s absence, he lowered his camera and set it down. Sylvie squirmed. All this attention wasn’t necessary. She chided herself for falling in love with a photographer, and then he looked at her. When their eyes met a charge ran through her. His sideways grin at her blush. His wink. That look was the why. Why she had fallen in love with someone who had her sit until the light was right or as he tinkered with various lenses. This man could made her feel extraordinary with just one glance. He looked away first and dove quickly into his camera bag. His motions mimed a revelation! He had figured it out the something missing. Then he set the timer, paced quickly over, and wrapped Sylvie in his arms. 

“So you. You’re the one thing missing?” 
“Yep. And, well this.” 

Sylvie felt the ring glide onto her left hand and the camera clicked and the flash went off and the photo resolved into something never to be missed.


“One thing is missing.” I scowled and began the list again. Chair. Floor. Light. Apples. Bowl. Mary. Simon? Where was Simon? I looked to Mary. She caught my question before it could be verbalized. I don’t like when she does that. Just let me speak. 
“Simon has gone out, he’ll be back in a jiff.” She’s lying to me. I can see it. Why would she lie about Simon? I start my list again. Stool. Television. Coffee table. Tea cup. That girl. Why does she look at me like that. I’m breakable. That’s why. She wants in my head. 
“Where’s Simon?” There. I asked it out loud. The girl is making the face again. She’s going to wrinkle early. Pretty girl with frown lines. Pity. She’s saying something about running errands. I don’t want to run errands now. Oh. No. Simon is running errands. But how? 
“Isn’t he dead?” I demand it now. The one thing missing clicks. I hear it in my mind. The break. Like a twig snapping but the twig is the fog that lays thick over my thoughts. It’s receding. Simon. I stare at my hands and marvel at their lines and new freckles. Suddenly I miss that damned fog. I want to go back to a world where Simon will be back in a jiffy and has only popped out for a quick errand. This new world, the one that clicks in and out, isn’t for me. When I feel the fog rolling back I begin my list again: Photo of children. Photo of a tree and a wall that looks out of place. Photo of two girls hands pressed where a door should be. Photo of two people, man and woman, laughing under a tree meant for leaning. Photo of a young girl wrapped in arms and loved and peering up at her love. Her ring is like mine. Ring. Finger. Hand. Camera. Simon. 

“Where’s Simon?” 


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