The little girl like to cause ripples. She enjoyed watching them as they hurried away.
Depending on the size of the stone she threw, the resulting ripples were either large or small, faster or slower. She’d been experimenting for a while, paying close attention to the results. Each time she threw a stone she waited for the water to return to normal before throwing another. When the water resumed its glassy calm, she could see her own reflection and the blue sky above.
She could also see the man.
The man had appeared between two stones. All afternoon the little girl had been alone, but now, when the ripples ceased and the water stilled, there he was, grinning at her.
“Hello, little girl,” he said. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing,” she said.
“Nothing is nothing. Can I join you?”
The little girl didn’t respond. In the glassy water she could see herself, the man, and the blue sky above. She continued to throw stones.
“You shouldn’t be all by yourself,” the man said.
In between ripples, she watched as he glanced to his right and to his left. Only the man’s eyes moved — his face and his body remained perfectly still.
“I’ve been watching you for some time,” he said. “There’s no one else. It isn’t safe to be alone, you know.”
“I’m not alone,” she asserted. “There’s Gertrude.”
In the glassy water, the man’s reflection grinned. “It’s not good to lie,” he scolded.
The last time the water stilled, the man’s reflection was holding a large rock — he was holding it straight-armed above his head. The little girl had thrown all of her stones, even her special stone, which she’d thrown last and which made a splooshing sound when it hit the water. Now they stared at each other in the water, until another fan of ripples upset the surface, this time originating from elsewhere, to lap the shore rambunctiously.
“That would be Gertrude,” said the little girl. “You’ll want something bigger.”
A woman asked her lover, “Which of my features do you find most mesmerizing? Is it my long, dark hair?”
“Yes,” her lover replied. “I am most mesmerized by your long, dark hair. From the very first time that I saw you, I wondered what secrets it might reveal — of your beauty, of your hidden pain. Now that we are lovers, I want nothing more than to bury my hands in it, to grab urgent fistfuls and tug at the root.”
“But what about my eyes?” the woman said. “Are they not alluring, too?”
“Most certainly,” her lover replied. “I could spend hours gazing into your eyes — hours upon hours, and more hours. There is a stillness I find there, but also a volatility. They are never the same color, from day to day, like the sky before a storm has arrived, menacing and beautiful at the same time. Your eyes cause in me paroxysm of desire.”
“But what about my lips?” the woman said. “Are they not worth a brief mention?”
“Your lips!” her lover replied. “How could I not mention your lips? I don’t believe there is anything more soft in this world than your pouty lower lip. And where can I find a curve more alluring than your elegant upper lip? Your dimples, the tiny gap between your teeth — I only wish you would loosen my chains, dear, so that I might kiss them over and over again.”
The woman sighed. “And I,” she said, “only wish you could make up your mind. If everything feature is my finest, then nothing is. Perhaps you should ponder for a while longer.”
So she left him there. Chained.
Once upon a time, there lived a woman who was so bereft that she removed her heart and planted it in the ground. She planted it under a sapling tree.
Without a heart, the woman could no longer distinguish hot from cold. She ventured outside in all sorts of weather, regardless of the rain, snow, or boiling heat.
Without a heart, the woman didn’t feel tethered to any one place. Nowhere was her home. She wandered across the world, never pausing for very long and never missing any of the places she had visited.
Without a heart, the woman had trouble recognizing faces. Everyone looked the same to her — men, women, or children. There was no one she loved, no one she took pleasure in seeing.
Without a heart, the woman became a ghost.
One day she found herself standing before the same sapling tree. “I have lost much since I removed my heart,” the woman said to herself. “But look at this tree! Look how tall it stands. Look how colorful its leaves. Clearly it has been nourished by my heart. Clearly my heart has served a purpose.”
But she said the same before any tree.
This is a repository for JY's original content that's yet to be bound in a book -- essays, short fiction, etc. There's little rhyme or reason, so jump in!