A rift in the continuum was leaking tears, being cried on one side, pooling on the other, an ethereal osmosis. Sylvain Forester scooped the tears up with his hands and distilled them into pure emotions, keeping enough of them in a vial for eventualities. One never knew. The night was too dark for precise decisions, arguments about purity, and the stars of no help. He put two tears into the corners of his eyes, but he couldn’t get himself to cry. He wasn’t surprised, the night being what it was.
Somewhere gusts of wind were banging shutters against windows, imitating drums. An entire orchestra fell into a chaos of disparate rhythms, the conductor helpless with his baton. Sylvain would have like to help restore the necessary order, had it not been for the tears. He needed all his faculties to carry the crystallized emotions through the night. He couldn’t afford to trip, be tripped, or he might have lost everything he knew.
A woman walking beside him kept pulling varicolored threads from among the stars and rolling them into balls. Later, she would weave them into tapestries, for keeping warm and for knowing. He offered her some of the tears to work into her patterns, but she shook her head and looked away. Yet when he sprinkled some grains of his distilled emotions into her eyes, she didn’t wipe them away. He was sure he saw a tear roll down her cheek. He wished he could have added it to his vial.
He took her into a forest to show her his own emotions, strung haphazardly from branch to branch. She gathered them up for him and rolled them into balls, then wove a colorful poncho for him to wear over his shoulders, for comfort and for recognition. A light rain began to drip from the trees, and they scurried through the forest until they found a rocky overhang. They huddled into their shelter and listened to the drumming of the rain. The orchestra found its rhythm again and played them through its concerto, as if for a reward.
They rocked their own world to the rhythmic accompaniment, grabbed at lightning bolts, shuddered with the thunder. The orchestra worked itself up to the charged finale, cymbals and kettle drums, wild violins, the conductor ecstatic in the potent night. They rode the waves of instrumental passion until they collapsed in their shelter, clinging to each other with the fervor of excitement, the knowledge of trees and rocks and rain rolled into a ball. It would take her a long time to weave the tapestry in all its complexity and depth. When it was all done, she gave it to him to adorn his room, and to remember. She didn’t need a reminder of her own.
A train took them into a different countryside where leaks were plentiful and threads were hanging everywhere from trees. Sylvain pressed his ears against the cracks and listened to the voices on the other side. He scooped up shards of observations oozing through the cracks and distilled them into absolutes for filling in complexities. The woman gathered threads as if she couldn’t get enough. She already knew what the tapestries were going to be. The orchestra had launched into a symphony and there was no wind clattering shutters, no shutters to clatter. The woman told him about the tapestry she was going to weave for one of his other rooms.
They celebrated in the soft grass by the side of a thundering waterfall, the crescendos of the orchestra still ringing in their ears. They spread themselves out after the constrictions of the overhang, basked in the sun after the arboreal rain, spun their own threads and wove their own tapestries to the rhythm of the river tumbling down into the pool. Even the clear blue sky was full of cracks, the light breeze a succession of revelations, the river spilling out of the pool an irresistible temptation.
Afterwards, they gathered everything they had learned and gave themselves over to the current carrying them through a landscape of promises and potentials. When the afternoon rolled into evening, they pulled themselves ashore and built a nest of fragrant grasses, close enough to the river to know that it was there, far enough away to hear the voices of the night. The leaks were still there in the darkness and the threads were dangling down from among the stars, but it was the night that provided the emotions, the river the rhythm for their dreams.
Sylvain was the first to waken in his room, the first tapestry already hanging on the wall. He climbed out of bed and touched the woven treasure with his hands, feeling everything all over again. He took his bottle of distilled emotions and sprinkled its contents over the tapestry to add his own touch, his own ambitions. The woman opened her eyes and smiled, then turned around to slip back into her own world of mystifications and enchantments. The sun was already high in the sky.
Peter Baltensperger is a Canadian writer of Swiss origin and the author of ten books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His latest book, Inside from the Outside: A Journey in Sudden Fiction, was published by iUniverse Publishing in 2013. His work has appeared in print and on-line in several hundred publications around the world. Most recently, he has been published in such publications as The Big Book of Bizarro, Danse Macabre, The Medulla Review, Apocrypha and Abstractions, and Black Heart Magazine, among others. He makes his home in London, Canada with his wife Viki and their three cats.