September 2004 / Volume Five / Issue Four
Andrew Yves Aulino

In April all living things seem overwrought and ecstatic; the bush that year
was flush with roses, the grass with asters and the dogwood was like an
exasperated bridesmaid, the petals cast down around her feet. Even human
beings swarm, rushing with delirious hunger towards their every destination.
She appeared at about three each day, around the time I would sit shaded on
the porch, kicking the screen door and pretending to read. Her face was never
quite visible, but it was clear that I'd have recognized her. She'd stand in
the open space, and as though testing the grass, gingerly press the long damp
blades with a flattened foot. Too pale for such lush afternoons, she bent her
knees and arched her arms in strange faux-ballerina stances. This series of
awkward movements built into an awkward dance; she flounced about the lawn,
diffuse blossoms blowing by her, ones she tried to accompany with clumsy
pirouettes. Once, she seemed to have stepped on a bee inside a bunch of clover
and bounced around on one foot for a full minute afterwards. Every afternoon
for days on end she did this, leaping and whooping and turning her face to the
sun. I was the sole spectator. Though dozens of cars passed every day, spastic
dance routines to music no-one else could hear are generally the domain of the
psychotic; if any passersby could see, they probably looked away quickly. If
someone had actually watched, they'd surely mention it a few times in their
first few post-trip conversations, but her memory wouldn't outlive the day. In
the end, our survival depends on how much we're remembered, and she'd managed
to escape the notice of the world around in her, in all its blooming and
swarming. However, to exist in no other mind but one's own is a kind of
freedom. I thought occasionally of crossing over and talking to her, but she
seemed absorbed in the most private of performances, and there was obvious
pleasure in her gawky jerks and stretching. She reciprocated the indifference
of a world she existed beyond and apart from, completely. These were movements
conceived without so much as the idea of an audience, the way planets create
themselves whole in the utter privacy of open space.

"Schon ist alle naehe fern."