A Life Refracted


Her cheeks felt like late autumn apples, the wind about to bite into their fleshy rounds. On perfectly clear days like this where the wind bites into apple cheeks and puddles lay frozen in a permanent state of reflection there is a crisp clarity that holds the horizon in one’s mind like a postcard. The cold reality of the world in all its postcard clarity made her think of a coal-miner in a small north-western town. She felt ridiculous that her mind took her there because she had never been a coal-miner in a small north-western town. She had no commonality to identify with, she just felt like both her and a coal-miner felt the cold in the same way for once; an unforgiving and relentless fact of life. Then she thought about musicians evoking the feelings of coal-miners and everyone identifying except the coal-miner. They are too busy living it to stop and think about it; no head in the clouds, just a hard hat and miles below solid earth.


At night she looked to the stars and saw the lights of millions of lensometers. Maybe up in the unfathomable darkness there were licensed opticians trying to get us all in focus, each prescription different. The problem is ours is a flawed lab. None of us come out perfect or in focus. The sphere is over-powered, the cylinder under-powered, the axis 15 degrees off. Our edges need to be filed to fit. We have chips and pocks. There is crazing in the anti-reflective coating. And still the lights beam down on us every night and try to get our lines in focus. There was something deeply beautiful to her about their persistence.


She wished it was easier to be in love with who she was in love with. She wished her heart would cooperate with her head. Instead she had her head in the clouds and a hard-hat on her heart. Her edges felt raw from filing. At this rate she would never come into focus under those watchful and starry eyes. Hers was a life refracted by his. 


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