A-Z story, installment R.
Claire's mind drifts. She finds herself in a garden: herself as a barefoot child, running, easy as a lazy wind, through swathing grass. Lilting air presses her face, whispers, indecipherable and ticklish. Light tilts, she jousts back. Broad leaves on a smooth barked tree: in the sun, the leaf glows, shows its skeleton. She holds her hands to this bright sun, then cool mist, then shivering wind, then fresh rain: years of seasons pass, they tangle up like riverweed: they knot and twist until she remembers all of it, receives it like a solar plexus kick. From the edge of the bridge, how the air pushes back at her, how her fearful limbs flail; the icy metallic smack of the surface, how sudden it is; the water that closes over her head and how her mouth opens, closes, silent and pointless. A swell of tears wakes her up. The fire glows. Shadows play, against the light.
‘Like stars fell,’ she says. It kind of makes sense now.
Perfect Echo is lost in sleep. Claire smiles; nothing is lost, she thinks; absorbed, transmuted; not lost. Every life is obscure, is brief, is the tiniest finite thing, is so uncounted, is unaccountably precious. It makes sense.