Wren Gradey

looking for the secret

The Last Three

- but when it comes looking for him, the brush with death is everything he never imagined.

A door in the building opened and I looked up.
It was hers; they stepped out. Both sets of hands lit cigarettes. Both were clothed just as they'd been during the day. Valerie's head fell back after a long draw, permitting scant gold light from her window to drape across her face. Her eyes starred overwrought and wide. They starred into the black a long time, and when she righted her head she did it delirious. She turned her back to me to lean against the outer rail.
He put an arm on either side of her to press in, then rolled away and leaned next to her. They drew more smoke. They shared an energized enthusiasm almost excited enough to overcome despair.
When they went back inside I started my car. I maneuvered my backing up, deciding on a careful risk. I wanted to get a headlight to graze the tailgate of his truck. I wanted a better look, if I could get it unnoticed. I turned the wheel, I moved back some more. I swung around and the light caught the spot. I pulled quietly onto a leading-away street with a wondering furrow. The hole certainly gave the impression of the kind of mark left by a bullet from a gun.


Me, I came this way because I had to. Because it happened in spite of what I wanted, and because I could not travel that course letting this pass me by.
More astonishing, almost, than when the crisis hit, came the discovery that there are those spending entire lifetimes without encountering it. Getting up everyday, going to sleep each night, entirely unaware that it waits. Unaware of what it can do. Maybe not everyone can embrace such a change. But all around scatter unending forms of need, and this, this place, it's what we're really here to find. The world we live in isn't ideal and yet life becomes a perfect flame.