Interlace is another one of my favorite words. It always evokes warm images of closeness. I tried to reflect that here, but I did change it up a little… Well, without further ado (or spoilers), here is The Castle in the Air.
The Castle in the Air
Interlaced (v): cross intricately together; interweave.
Zoey’s mother lived through wires. Colorless ribbons of fate her frail body was tangled in. And Zoey worried how, when her mother finally woke up, would she ever disentangle herself from the complicated knots and gnarls of life that had only grown more unruly in her absence.
Sometimes, Zoey felt brave enough to reach for her mother’s hand, imagining that she was guiding her mother back from the mesh of mortality to the realm of consciousness. Could she feel their interconnected hands from wherever she was? Zoey liked to think so, imagining the warmth of their connection would draw her mother back to her.
The thin tubing sometimes took on the guise of a spider’s web, and her mother was the jeweled butterfly, encased in a cobweb tomb. Zoey desperately wanted to wrench away the wires and shake her mother awake, but she knew if she did that, she would rip away her mother’s wings and the butterfly would fall to the ground like torn tissue paper.
On those days, she feared a single stray sigh of air would sever one of her mother’s lifelines, and she dared not even look too hard at the pale, emaciated face that sometimes became unrecognizable.
At those times, she would tug her mother’s favorite scarf closer and try to re-picture all of the small details she wished she had paid more attention to before. The scarf was the only link to the memories she had left. The memories that would maybe have to sustain her a lifetime now.
No, she couldn’t think like that. They would be back soon. She just had to be patient…
She just had to keep waiting.
But she was getting tired.
She was like the last fairy in Sleeping Beauty, who was trapped in the disintegrating Castle of Dreams, awake and left behind forever. The kingdom lay in tatters, deteriorating to ruins even as its residents remained forever unchanging, as if frozen in time.
And she was chained.
Zoey could come up with thousands of words and explanations, but they all crumbled away at the widening abyss between her and rationalization.
So many things had been swallowed by that abyss. And now her mother was dangling from the edge by a single spool of yarn.
Everything always spiraled out of her hands.
She had looked at the abyss for so long, she didn’t know how to see anything else.
When would they come back? Why had they left her? Where were they? Would she ever have an answer?
Zoey hated the last question the most. If she thought about it too long, she instinctively knew that she too would be devoured by the abyss.
Before leaving the hospital, she stopped by her father’s room. He was a sailor, lost in a sea of dreams, like always.
She left a paper boat on the bedside table, reaching for his pale hand that had once reminded her of the Sun. Warm and strong.
There was nothing left to say.
“Please come home soon.”