For a few more days, I am living in a tall little house with an outdoor deck on the top floor, past a sliding glass door I have not opened in months. On that deck are a table and two chairs, black metal, positioned such that you can imagine two good friends sitting adjacent at the circular surface, setting their drinks down on its swirling flowers that clang when a glass tips over and its pink innards splatter on them both. They laugh, pull their chairs out, and set their drinks on the plastic slats that pretend to be wood before picking up where they left off.
I am neither of these people, speaking their secrets into the late summer evening. I never was. My hand rests on the glass, the amoeba of my fading warmth obscuring the milky landscape beyond. The chair are caked with white. The deck has been repainted the same, bulked up several inches. My other, warmer hand grips a plastic travel mug, the corn tea inside long since gone lukewarm. Every shuffle of my slippered feet on the hardwood sends a faint scratching sound that returns to me from above. This tall little house is old, and makes strange noises, and makes normal noises strange, too.
Tipping my chin upward, I stare wide-eyed at flakes (bundles? balls? This is not my element, and I do not know the proper words) racing my way, big as walnuts and limes but so much softer — this I know, when they vanish in a puff mere inches from my flat nose. The sky beyond is the color of the haze at the edge of dreams. What assails the glass is only the proper color once its fallen. Before their final impact, they are like tiny river rocks, fluttering impossibly lightly, thrust this way and that by the same breath that sweeps the rooftops beyond and shr everything in icy mist. They skirt about exactly unlike a school of fish, until the air stills once more and only their mass pulls them to me. If I squint, I can make out noise, static, just in front of the sky: more of the same, whip away so their corpses may decorate other deck chairs. Like a massive flock of migrating birds I saw once, many years a twisting cloud of dark flecks that seemed to go on forever — only now it's like looking at them from the cente the earth, so miniscule are they and I to each other.