I tried to incorporate both images this week as an extra challenge for my twenty-minute sprint.
Title: The Spaces Between
She existed in the spaces between things.
She was there where the seas met the land, washing back and forth across the sand and rock and slowly wearing away at it all.
She was there when nature was reclaiming a human structure, blurring the line between built and grown.
She had always been there. It wasn’t until recently that She questions where She was or how long She had been there.
Not until She met a girl.
She had always been, this was very true, but She had never been seen before, never been met before, and never met anyone before. She’d never paid any attention to the humans, only the boundaries they erected and the spaces they opened for her.
She’d been enjoying the slow cheap of nature over a set of wooden steps cut into a hill. It was a slow process, but She took great joy in each infinitesimal piece of the world that was opened to her as the transformation from newly constructed stairs to overgrown relic occurred. The stairs were almost entirely hers when She was first seen.
“I’ve seen you before,” the little girl said. “You were at the beach when we went.”
She was at every beach, so this was probably true. She did wonder what the little girl was talking to.
“Can’t you hear?” the little girl asked.
She focused her attention on the girl. Long hair was plaited into two twin braids that hung down the back of the small human. The girl wore colorful rubber boots that came up to her knees, purple leggings, and a flowing green shirt.
“Is that a no?”
She tilted, curious about this tiny human.
“So you can hear me,” the little girl said confidently. “You could answer you know.”
Answer? She had never conversed with another living creature. She knew language. She knew all language. It was around her all the time. She could not help but learn the meaning of the words the humans used all the time. She did not even know if She could speak, so She simply tilted in the other direction.
“Maybe you can’t talk then,” the girl said thoughtfully, squatting down to look at the third stair. “You’re pretty though, and you always feel nice when I have to move through you for some reason.
She wasn’t sure what to make of this little girl talking to her. How was She even visible to the child? No human had ever acknowledged her presence before.
“I was hoping you’d be a fairy or something,” the little girl said. “Someone I could talk to and confide in.”
She swayed slightly. She didn’t know what to do about the girl. Was it dangerous to be seen? It was for many animals, as well as many humans. Should She trust that She was safe being seen by the girl?
“I guess I could still talk to you,” the little girl said, “even if you can’t talk back.”
She waited, and listened, and marveled at all that the girl had to say. And then She began to wonder about herself. The girl talked about being from somewhere and having parents. Where had She come from? Did She have parents? She couldn’t remember anyone else like her. It was just the animals and the humans, who were just another kind of animal. There was no one else. It was such a solitary existence. She’d never realized that before.
The girl kept coming back. Every afternoon, the girl would stop at the stairs and speak at length about her day or week or something that was bothering her.
She didn’t understand it at all, but the girl’s voice was soothing enough, and there was no sign of harm coming from their interaction. Unless self-reflection could be considered harmful. She had been doing much reflecting on her existence and where She had come from.
She still moved in all the places between. She still lurked in the places the humans had forgotten. She still sought the future that would hold the world safe, but every afternoon, when the little girl came, She would listen.
She thought there was something to learn from the girl. Some lesson or meaning. It made her think of the human saying, truth out of the mouths of babes. The girl was quite young, her vocabulary not fully developed yet, but She felt the little girl spoke in truths in a way that few humans did.
So She listened, absorbing what the little girl talked about each afternoon and slowly beginning to understand the deeper meaning of words and their ability to convey far more than their typical meaning.