Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Awake - Flash Fiction

Men were men, as trees were trees. Our home was filled with women, six of us, Father a silent presence in the evenings. The neighborhood boys I played with were not so different; a little taller, sometimes rougher, but similar beings just the same. I gave them no thought beyond who would be available for a game of football, or lend me notes for the next exam. Then one day, I sat in the library with Mr. H., my tutor, as he read through my latest attempt at unraveling the mysteries of the ancients.

Some things creep upon us in a stealthy tide. Take sickness; there may be a twinge or two, a moment of uneasiness, a day of lassitude, and then suddenly it becomes apparent. Why, I don't feel very well! We search ourselves, and the hidden comes to the fore; a bit of a sore throat, maybe an ache or two, and suddenly we are in the throes of a violent spell.

I'd sat next to Mr. H. innumerable times, and yet on that day I was aware of him for the first time. My feline consciousness lazily opened its eyes and fixed on him. His sleeves were rolled up to the elbow, and his naked arm lay before me. Large, muscular, with a fine coating of hair, ending in a powerful hand with neatly trimmed nails. He cleared his throat and scratched a comment in the margin of my paper as I studied him more closely. A neatly trimmed beard, with here and there some peppered skin; I wondered what it would feel like, did he shave with a blade, if so what would it be like to watch. The contours of his face so different from a woman's, heavier, rougher, fuller, and the idea of touching it, just once, seemed to contain all of the elements of magic and mystery in the universe.

He shifted in his seat and I breathed him in, aftershave, fabric softener, the undefinable scent of warm male skin, then felt myself blushing furiously. Somehow I had eaten from the Tree Of Knowledge; this, then, was the excitement and shame that Eve had felt. I hugged it to myself, this secret. My awakening.

I doubt that Mr.H. ever knew, although he might have. He never gave any indication. I went out among men, grew used to them and their ways, and somehow drifted into, then out of, many relationships. You ask me why I never married, what I am waiting for, and how I will know when it's love. I am waiting for the revelation once again. Waiting for the moment when my world hinges on the touch of my hand to one man's face. It will dawn in the same way as each morning's realization: I am awake.



  1. Hi Li - this is perfect. It is exactly that moment and that feeling of being truly awake. And then when it happens again, you're not aware your world can shift and hinge on such a slight touch. Beautiful!

  2. Very nice, Li. I can't explain why, but I really responded to this. perhaps I felt something similar and have yet to recover that moment. Just a vague sense sits at the back of my memory.

    I like the notion of realizing in That Moment that we are Awake. Yes.

  3. Really a wonderful little story that brought back memories of my own awakening.

  4. Very thought provoking Lisa. I try to think back to my own moment of awakening but for now it eludes me. I'm sure I will remember though. School is still not long ago for me and it's a blur of emotions in that department.

  5. I don't remember it either, per se. This is fiction rather than my own memory, although I know that it must have taken place at some point. I do know the experience of being acquainted with someone and not taking any particular notice of them, and then one day you look at them and really see them for the first time. (Not well phrased, but I'm a notoriously bad communicator.)

  6. So love your descriptive writing style. My feline consciousness – love it!

  7. Wow! Such an elegantly written and passionate piece. Brilliant!

  8. Delicate write Li, and great theme. There are so many awakenings, very few of which we are truly aware of at the time, the recognition of their importance comes with reflection. Awareness itself is minutely reflective, always an awareness of the past. Some really nicely captured images - how evocative are the hairs on a man's fore arm.

  9. I love awakenings, moments of recognition and finally really seeing for the first time. I love how she blushes when she realizes how she's feeling.
    Is it weird that I think forearms are sexy? haha!
    You definitely know how to capture the rare and beautiful moments.