Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Calm; Stay

What should have been deafening roar is uncannily absent. Even a terrified voice counting to four cannot be heard. Only rapid heartbeats assaulting a mind moving too slowly to comprehend can even be felt. Feet scramble for purchase, but are met with only the horrifying, and wonderful, sensation that the sidewalk had ended. Finally, a sound... jumpmasters on the ground barking orders for the first-time paratrooper to quit screaming in the air. A look skyward reveals a parachute wide open and gods not believed in are silently thanked. There is pain in the neck and between the legs, a harness too loosely rigged, as a body goes limp in anticipation of impact.

Stay calm. The ground is almost here.

The corridor is dark and the only noise discernible is from the firefight still happening in the streets outside. Illogically, a pounding heart is cursed, not from anxiety, but from the fear that an enemy might be able to hear it. Feet glide close to the ground, quieting their own forward progress. A safety is thumbed free in full expectation of an encounter with a stranger. The trigger provides a sense of comfort that it should not, disguising its power to change the destinies of both wielder and target. Thought, too, is an enemy, and one that needs conquering quickly, for there are no second chances here. There's a subtle pain in the shoulder from a weapon held too tightly, a reminder that the hunter may also be the hunted.

Stay calm. This, too, shall pass. One way or another.

She approaches from the sunlight, making it hard to maintain any pretense of nonchalance. A heartbeat tries desperately to chase the presence of a first impression long forgotten. Footsteps are soft, confident, deliberate in their attempt to give nothing away. She stands there, a reminder of days gone by; days more innocent. There's hope that she notices only a nervous smile, and that she remembers, too. Warm flesh in embrace overwhelms senses and eliminates pain from reluctant memory. It won't last forever, but solace is taken in the knowledge that it will linger. It's been far too long since desire was so close.

Stay calm. Never was an instant more exhilarating.


  1. Yest another fine piece of writing. You have a great ability to capture the atmosphere of the moment.

  2. The Buddhist here and now feel to this is so apparent in this piece. That ultimate nature of reality that is so difficult to grasp in the real moment. Nice work. -Jayne

  3. Great little peeks into anxiety, with a few lines I really like.

    Did it stay 'just' an embrace?

  4. wow. another great piece. you capture the emotion of the moment so well...

  5. Did you say you were a military man in a past life? You have such imagery that only someone who's been through that could really capture.

  6. Baino: Yes, am a vet. Going back in for a couple of years, as well. I get bored easily.

  7. This is very good. I would think about moving the last sentence of paragraph 3 up further in the paragraph. Perhaps before "A safety....". For me, the flow would be better.

  8. I haven't seen this before. Just as I suspected.

    "It won't last forever, but solace is taken in the knowledge that it will linger."

    I like this line.