Wiggling those scorched toes of hers the way she wiggles like a caterpillar in her dreams, the light of the fire sends her into a trance. Like the headlights of an approaching car, the two logs glare at her like eyes, beady at first and then as bright and as whole as sibling moons. Occasionally, when she had trouble sleeping and couldn’t settle, her parents would take her for late-night drives. Deep into the countryside, they would go, just the three of them, a proper little family straight out of The Shining. The twisting roads and miles of nothingness that stretched forever were of great comfort to Gretchen. Snuggled up in the back of the car wrapped in a blanket with the radio playing Motown, it was like being in that matchbox full of cotton wool, or going back further, incubating in her mother’s watery womb. When the car twisted and turned down darkened roads with no names, she would press her face against the window, and the coldness of it reminded her of space. The dark, infinite space above her head, pierced at random intervals by tiny lights of infinitely distant stars. Just like the way she swallowed her cookies, the sky swallowed her, its hungry touch stirring within her something she couldn’t describe—neither as a child afraid of her shadow nor as a woman searching for her place in the wider world.
X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK
X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US
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