Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"At Any Rate, That Is Happiness..."

"At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great."

The old woman looked down at the small brown constellations sprinkled on her hands.

"But weren't you lonely?" the kid asked.

She smiled, small, but it stayed in her eyes and lit them brighter than the flicker of fluorescent lights overhead.

"How can you be lonely if you are a part of something bigger than yourself? Everything I've given has been for something better, greater. My acts will live longer than I ever will."

This time she stayed quiet and the kid down at his hands, the skin taut and smooth. In the background he heard the garbled voice over the intercom, "Next stop Meridian Plaza".

"I'm not sure what you mean, or even if I understand, but--"

He looked back at her hands and reached, cradled them in his. The skin was warm. She looked up surprised. He searched the small creases lining her face, some deep and shadowed, others light and new like paint strokes on an already filled canvas. Still, in her eyes was the brightness that peeked out through the layers of life. She paused, lined lips parted exhaling a question.

"Meridian Plaza."

She started to pull her hands away, but he stopped her and instead reached to cradle the sides of her face and kissed her, soft, on the lips. She felt the smoothness and tasted the light salty flavor of youth. This time she didn't pull away.

"Thank-you," he breathed as they parted.

Quick, he jumped up and made it out just before the doors closed and was promptly braided into the crowd. The old woman turned away from the window, smoothed her hair, and looked at the new person next to her.

"Do you know what happiness is?" she asked.

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