Lost & Found – Rock, Paper, Scissors

As a child, his parents take him to visit a circle of enormous pagan stones standing in a silent field. Inspired by this, he practices transforming himself into rock. Stone, he reasons, is impervious to pain. A rock is not afraid of darkness or weather or time or death. One molecule at a time, he solidifies. Great, dangerous waves foam and break against his unyielding skin. When savage blows rain down upon him, he imagines they are no more significant than the summer rain he has seen dancing on the shoulders of marble graveyard angels.

One day, he sees her sitting in the sunlight at a patio table. She is made of paper, and the light shines right through her, so that she seems to glow. As they talk and laugh, her every breath is significant to him, a perfect haiku. There are subtle intaglios beneath her skin that only he can see. There are mysteries and riddles. There are fairy tales and sonnets hidden between her sheets.

She is at a point in her life when she admires all that is solid and real to her touch. She has lived for so many years amongst the shiny scissor people. Once, she admired the way they would sharpen themselves; had been drawn to the beauty of the sparks falling from their whetstones, the sweet danger of her own combustion. But she has seen too much of tearing and cutting. She is no crepe-paper ribbon, no crude snowflake, no paper doll.

In the silence of their bedroom, she unfurls like a scroll for him. In return, he unearths for her the buried treasures, the veins of gold, and the rare, extinct creatures deep within him. She brushes back the hair from his smooth, hard forehead. She whispers into the shadowy passages of his ears, and listens for the echoes of her love calling back to her.

Sometimes, though, he worries that he is blocking the light from her skies. He feels like a crude monolith, casting ink-black shadows across her world. He withdraws into caves of mineral silence, becomes as distant as the moon. The poems he used to read in her seem to be written in some language he can no longer understand. Like a comet, he carries a burden of ice and fire and bad omens. He moves into an ever-widening orbit, dangerously close to spinning off into absolute darkness.

Always, though, she travels to the hidden centre of things. Always, she finds him and enfolds him. And the rock gives way.

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