All Stories, General Fiction

Priorities by Penny Faircloth

When I was about seventeen years old I met myself in a downtown park sitting alone on a concrete bench in a small amphitheater. I was not skipping school—I did not do that kind of thing. And anyway, it was summertime. It was an ordinary summer day with oxygen blue sky vibrant behind the office towers with revivifying sunlight. The few trees were green, the leaves glossy and stiff with chlorophyll-rich fibers respiring life. Either side the park, steady sparse traffic rolled by in opposite directions on one-way streets. When I came upon him there, I did not recognize the man life had made of me. I was about thirty years old in that malingering guise. My seventeen-year-old self was with a friend and nor did he recognize me. But I may be forgetting, I am grown older … Even I, who saw so clearly, have become confused about what is what and contradict myself at every turn; at every remove, remove myself further from myself. Soon I will be unable to return to who or what I always was, and my dissolution will be complete, as is the way of all flesh; as is the way of all that may be said to exist. Do not believe me, see for yourself. It’s more miraculous than ever you might imagine. What is more miraculous than anybody could ever imagine? What is? Exactly!

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