I put mum in something of a terrible mood last night. There were more whispers when she turned off the lamp, and it felt so cold. Oh so cold. What a terrible thing it is to be cold and not be able to get warm again. I shrieked and overturned the bed, and I took the spade that father gave me before he went off to the war and I started banging it at the floor. I was so upset. I thought about when he might come home, and clenched my teeth. I hopped up on the spade and dug it into the floor boards. I suppose I was trying to dig at the whispers. It was a pointless, stupid thing. I was clumsy and I wobbled and fell over, scratching the boards. The metal tip grated against it, and my body crashed against the lamp. The lamp fell over and the bulb brightened and cracked and went out.
Mum. She was so cross when she came in the room, with the floor scratched up and the bed overturned and the lamp broken and all. She grabbed me by the wrists so hard that it hurt. I told I was sorry.. I threw myself into her body, but she pushed me away. She collapsed and cried and told me that she just wanted some rest. That was all. She hadn’t had a good day of rest since the bad day. Her neck was pale and her cheeks were red from drink and there were dark circles under her eyes. Mum looked so tired.
I told her again about all of my bad days since then, about the whispers and the coldness and the rough blankets, but mum just shook me, and she said shut up, shut up, shut up. She drug the bed and the broken lamp into the hallway, and she took my sheets too. She left me alone the dark with nothing. I was too tired to cry myself to sleep.
Tell me, the boy said, his feet still dangling in the pool.
What did the mythmakers say, about becoming a solid?
Oh, different things. Some would say it’s just you’re time. Others? Others would say that you just have to remember.
Remember. Remember what?
I don’t know. Just that you would have to remember real hard.
Remember what real hard?
And the boy was right. There was nothing to remember aside from the long walks and the shadows, passing through myst and vapors and rocks, feeling afraid and avoiding eye contact with the others, and just drifting and drifting. There was no time in this. There was no memory in this. The past was the present and the present was the past and the past was the future.
They used to say, the girl said, that if you remember really hard, that you would feel yourself change and get pulled away.
The girl paused. They both swirled their toes through the water and felt nothing.
Do you know what all that means? The boy asked.
Not at all?
Sometimes I have an idea. Like something I used to know. The things they call colors. And taste.