Since she was very young she’s dreamed of tornadoes. Sometiems animal packs of funnels driving through a field of pale yellow corn. A limestone sky is always setting, hosting various sizes and intensities of live, animate storms— cells seeming to have intent and emotion, destroying exactly what they want to destroy, eventually setting their furious minds on coming for her. Not all of the tornadoes in her dreams have souls. There was the storm in which she died. That storm felt dumb and blind and impossibly thoughtless. No desire, no pattern, no want for control over it’s own winds at all. But it swept through an old hotel and killed her instantly. She remembers how it felt to die instantly— it felt not instant at all. Her body turned to one bruise, her throat parched, her eyes burning. And then she was reborn as exactly the same human being, but some bizarre luck, and walked out into the lobby again, only the lobby was eras forward, a futuristic interpretation of what the lobby had been. And in that future lobby, she sought out her old cat, her ex lovers, her husband, her mother and father. Somehow, they were all there where the tornado laid ruin once, as if her whole narrative had been swept by this dumb giant of a storm into one specific dimension, one specific place for no specific reason. She sighs. Her head hurts. The afternoon is nearly gone and she can’t remember what she’s done with it. She reaches into the box of books and pulls out one title. She licks her hand and wipes the dust from it’s cover clean. The Story of the Eve by Bataille. She opens the soft, corner curled cover to an inscription: ” …. is for the …. ” It is not a neat scrawl. It is nearly gone. And good riddance. But she remembers the night. She hated the book as a gift. She hated the young man who gave it to her. His illness and his ego— the empty bottle of wine he left at her curb when she wouldn’t let him back into her world. The note in the bottle she never cared to retrieve. She hated the sound of breaking glass. It unsettled her then as it does now. The stories he had told her about taking wild cross country trips with his vagrant teenage friends as he brushed her hair away from her face had made her feel sick to her stomach. The way he played the piano too hard and without any nuance made her sick to her stomach. The way he eventually gained access to her little one bedroom apartment again by threatening to off himself, only to leave her at her most vulnerable in the middle of the night because he was bored with her melancholy made her sick to her stomach. … It’s so quiet now, she thinks. Am I inside the eye?
-Shannon Moore Shepherd