artworks-by-lori-earley-part2-20

Keep Art Alive :: Art by Lori Earley

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty,
sound of their breath fades with the light.
I think about the loveless fascination,
under the milky way tonight.”

Rae had seen too many faces, and lived in more towns than she could readily name, enough to fill a few lives with, enough to make her wary of setting down roots, or letting anyone in too close. She had never met her Aunt and Uncle before now, well, maybe when she was in that hazy age of never remembering, when she was small and still had both her parents holding her close. Those days were more than a few lives ago, though. They seemed nice enough. Her Uncle had kind eyes with the telltale wrinkles at the edges that signaled a lifetime of smiles and laughter. Her Aunt reminded her of a dragonfly, ever fluttering about, talking nearly nonstop, often to herself, her body ever wrapped in gauzy fabrics that spanned an entire rainbow of colors. They were far from typical, yet there was a stability that emanated off of them that Rae could not help but be drawn to.

There was a boy there as she arrived. He was tall and lanky, shaky and awkward, with a hard to miss wide-eyed wonder that reminded Rae of herself, on good days that is, when she was not drunk on too much caffeine and jaded pessimism. She usually made it a rule to not speak to anyone unless she had to, to not reach out, to never show interest, but this boy seemed different from anyone she’d come across before. He seemed lost like her, out-of-place, lonely. She would call it a kindred spirit if Rae believed in such things. Her Mother used to, though Mom seemed to find kindred spirits in everyone, following them here, there and everywhere, dragging Rae along behind her. That is, until she met Rick the Dick, who had three kids of his own and wanted nothing to do with a wayward teenage girl who wore too much make-up, was not skinny enough, pretty enough, or kept her mouth shut enough. Her Mom hadn’t believed anything she told her about Rick, about his wandering hands, hateful glances across the table, or threatening words whispered in the middle of the night when everyone else slept. Her Mom had believed Rick the Dick, and all his spell-cast lies. She told Rae it would do her a world of good to get away from the city, to breathe in some fresh air, to have time to think. She promised Rae that she could come back someday, when things calmed down, when Rae had calmed down, and apologized.

Her Mom should have just told her right then and there that Rae was never coming back, not as long as Rick the Dick was there, or  perhaps after her Mom had found some new “kindred spirit” to cling to.

For now, it was this nowhere desert town, living with an Aunt and Uncle she just met, above a gas station right off the highway, down the way from a boy with big blue eyes who carried her heavy box of books up the stairs, those big eyes lighting up like a fucking Christmas tree at the mention that there were books inside, a boy who just might be her kindred spirit, if she believed in such things, that is. For now, Rae stares out the window, her own eyes wide with wonder, at all the stars she can see in the night sky above.

She has never seen so many stars.

It was out there, under the stars, leaning against the Joe’s Gas sign, that Rae sees her. Tall and frail, all sharp angles and long limbs, her hair glowing blue under the neon, and her skin so pale it was almost translucent. Rae rubbed at her eyes to make sure of what she was seeing, that this strikingly ethereal girl was real and not some figment of her exhausted imagination. There she was still, leaning there against the sign, her lips moving along to some unheard song playing out of barely visible headphones. The sight of her, this blue haired angel of a girl, took Rae’s breath away.

Under the Milky Way :: The Church
from the album, Starfish

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