art by Jonathan Westbrook
Wildness and Wet
by Lee Hallison
Faint music stirs the night and trickles through the sheer curtains into Leah's room. She looks up from her book when the street outside explodes into sound. Heart pounding, she pushes up the open window to watch a wild dazzle of zebra-like dancers.
She leans out to better see the midnight flash dance--striped figures twirling through light-beam shadows on wet streets. Around them, joy splashes, changing the smell of rain-soaked asphalt to the washed air of a summer-sweet thunderstorm. Communion thrums, passionate. Dancers spin in a nimbus of electric delight.
They are stunning.
Boys, stripe-shirted, reach toward mist hovering around bright overhead lights. Girls twist black-white skinsuits and turn under-over-under each spinning boy. Pounding, soaring, zebra frenzy!
These are the ones--the ones not long for this world. The ones her father warns against. Leah agrees but still yearns. Still wonders and wants what they have.
She reaches out, nail-bitten hands and white-clad arms stretching toward the group.
"Please," she calls. "I am lonesome."
The flash mob swells and morphs, subsides and stretches, amoeba-like to the sidewalk below her window. Leah sees young faces between the toss and wave of long loose hair. She touches her chest where it aches.
She reaches out.