When Upon A Solid Winter's Night
by Becky Schwartz
The car was stale with old cigars and rust. It felt like a long time he was leaving behind. As if he had been so tainted by concentrated failures that he couldn't image being anywhere else. He was riding along the tail of his father's sadness and soon it would whip out and fling him off with a loud snap.

Julian's hands were at his sides. His father's held the leather bound steering wheel with an achy firmness. He wasn't gripping onto it for guidance. It wasn't the fear that he would fall away into the abyss. He was holding tightly onto the only thing that was there. He wasn't shrunk down low on the seat. Neither was Julian.

It always one. Or the overlapping of days before. But these days lie in memory only and what we feel is what's happening exactly just now. When now becomes now....... Now..... When it becomes something that already happened, it becomes something totally new. This is why you cannot write by looking at what you have already written. To glide through days where there is no chance for direct and slow conversation with ones self is to know that this self will be some other self when there is a chance to speak. Is it merely the perception of self that changes with time? Remaining steadfast in your conviction to hold your self so close that you could not imagine parting with one inch of it, is to hold to things without thinking of their purpose, but only that they are you and that is the only you possible. It the opposite, those who shed off skin for joy in the experience of growing it back.

Yellow lights tore through the window, catching him in the eye each time. He tried not to think of them because they made the physical connection between his future and his past. They formed, in their passing, a tightly wound rope which held him to a place that didnt hold him when he needed it to.

It almost seemed to him, that nothing could have been any different. He was and he was on his way to be alone, for the first time. The things that existed out the window would only exist in each instant and then they would become a small trace of blur. Like a dream fragment echoing in the corners of the day, the air was brewing with something just out of reach. His father was unaware of the stretching; he been sitting on his hands for so long that the idea of reaching out in desire seemed painful.

To remain standing on the same stone is to remain standing in the same second. There is no more space in the air that you breathe; it is filled with you and in effect, you are no different. It is only through change that evolution is possible. The moment is the only constant. You can ride behind it, always trying to catch the moment that happened before. You can look out with one hand covering the sun from your already closed eyes, and the other hand pointing to the future.

She was wide eyed and slow stepping. She bathed in sea salt and danced barefoot on the smooth, wooden floor. Despite long exposures to cold, diving expeditions from which she was sure she would never return, and an inconsistent longing for what wasn't really there, she still managed to keep a warm and glowing coal in the fire of her breast. Not everything counted on speed or precision. She kept her own pace and didn't pretend that she would ever be able to follow the stock market.

To have senses is to propagate through a thousand media. The fact one can touch. that water can run down a silky back and form over each hair, over each contour, over each cell of skin. To sneeze is to be awake with sudden surprise. Even when you are aware of its presence, in the instant that the explosion occurs, there is surprise. But, it is easy to admire the way a perfectly roasted and reddened beet tastes when you know that you are capable of acquring one. It is easy to write when your stomache is filled and your body is at a proper temperature.

Always catapult into the distance. And if you feel impending impossibility, I offer you a fist full of hope and admiration.
Posted by: Becky Schwartz

Prose (January 18th, 2006)