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day 32

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Day 32/50 • "Fiction Friday"

(By the way, I want to mention the reason I'm keeping these stories so short is so they fit within Instagram's 2200 character limit.)

For twenty-seven years Jack had managed to walk with the posture of someone who hadn’t a care in the world. The dirt under his feet, though, told the truth. You could see the extra give of the earth from each step. The weight of one’s heart is felt more by the earth than seen by another. 


That’s why no one on the trail saw Jack as anything other than a smiling man on his way to meet a friend. It was Saturday morning. Joggers, dog walkers, and lovers after coffee passed him without a clue. 


But the trees knew. See, their roots sit just under the surface of that earth giving way under Jack’s feet. They send word up to the leaves, “You’ll feel the wake of this one. Just you wait.” The leaves, then, turn that pain into oxygen and blow it right back. That’s why breezes calm.


And that’s why Jack was walking a little slower. It made him see more. Today he was noticing what’s written on those joggers’ faces. And picking up on the messages running up and down the leashes of those dogs. And enjoying the laughter of those Saturday morning lovers. It was the same laughter he remembered from twenty-eight years ago.


That’s why the sight of those kids caught his eye. Crossing the bridge he came up on a stack of kids climbing onto the rail and jumping into the creek. He slowed his stride just enough to see them fling themselves into the air, each one trying to outjump the other. Each one outliving their friends with fearless flips or wide arms buying more time in the air. 


The air swirled off their backs and mixed with the breath from the trees. It stirred and sparked. It twisted and rolled onto the skin of Jack’s arm. It dried the sweat of twenty-seven years and left the thinnest, sweetest layer of salt. He brushed his arm, and his pores opened up. He wiped the back of his neck, and the air got in. The same air made of his pain and the lives of all those joggers, dog walkers, and lovers seeped into his veins. It made its way to that place in Jack’s heart where the weight was heaviest and the hurt had bedded down long ago. It whispered in its ear, “Hey. Your work here is done. It’s time for you to go.”

Day 32 SOLD
Size: 24 x 30 inches

Oil paint on linen


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