Amy in the Dark by Carmen Tudor

In a place where the tree limbs curled and unfurled like wings, that is where she went.

The sky too was dark there. Not as dark as the reptilian scales of the tree bark, but dark as an extinguished candle. A little haze hung about, and where the clouds covered the moon, that is where the candle-like look went.

She sat under the tree. Taking from her bag a wrapped sandwich like the ones her mother made her in her school days, she tasted, nibble-like, from the corners. Forcing the bites down one labored swallow at a time, she bit down the inner side of her cheek.

The girl with the dark hair and blue eyes she insisted were blue-green sat waiting. This was the hour, she knew. It would either come, or it wouldn’t. It was funny, she thought, the way a waited-for thing would either come. Or it wouldn’t. She tossed the bread aside for a little bird. Or a big bird. Maybe a black bird of prey.

Only it would waddle, she thought. It would waddle and stare into her eyes and forget that it was a monster to some. It would eat from her hand, if she only looked back into its eyes and told it it was okay; that it was the right thing to do.

Perhaps the monster bird was sleeping, or perhaps it was the wrong time to fly. Whatever it was, the monster bird, and the waited--for thing, didn’t come, and so she sat. The outline of the bread on the carpet of leaves and grass stared up at the girl. Its eyes, unlike hers, unlike the monster bird’s, were not the seeing kind.

But still, the bread watched her as she watched the outline of the hazy moon. It waited, she thought, for her to pick it up, dust it off, and taste from the corners, nibble-like. But her empty stomach didn’t ask for food. Only butterflies. Or fireflies. Or some angelic, winged thing to flutter about and create a chaotic little tempest within her.

But the waited -- for thing still didn’t come; nor, rightly so, did the winged thing.

A lone leaf was stirred by some night-time breeze. They were the best kind, she knew. The kind that went unheeded and unknown except by those waiting under a tree in the hazy light of some extinguished- candle moon. The leaf broke away from the curled fist of the limb. It spiralled down to where she sat and fell on her knee. The girl picked it up and put it in her backpack.

She closed her eyes and leaned back against the scales of the tree. The bark tickled the back of her neck like the fingers of a shadow. Or a monster.

She sighed lowly and waited. That place, that lone place...that is where she went.


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