You once told me about your kneeling parents—both of them groveling, hands cupped in front of their hearts as if receiving alms—though later, as I came to know, my memory of your story was wrong: reworked from the stuff of my own recollections. These two figures were, in fact, my own parents: unyielding, pleading, and old.
“I remember when you told me this story,” you said, though then, all I could picture was my own groveling: fingers woven, my body before you. You chose to look at my hands, and not unkindly.
It was then that I, as a supplicant, admired your body backlit by lamplight and said, “Yes, I remember, but my parents were standing, and far apart—as strangers, as conscripts—not looking at me or at their hands or at each other, but at the horizon whose refraction held the aether of morning light cut through by a sun that would then, later that day, fall behind a single, lavender cloud.”
Or was it gray—the gray cloud of pre-rain—and was it you who knelt before me: eyes kind, hands clasped, begging for me to look at you—but for what? And why was I looking not at your face, but at your hands that, in this moment, appeared as a child’s? You: childlike, kneeling as for communion, as with bedtime prayer, your parents standing in the doorframe, their eyes kind and altogether elsewhere.
Erinrose Mager's fiction appears in The Adroit Journal, The Collagist, DIAGRAM, Passages North, New South, and elsewhere. She is a Creative Writing/Literature PhD student at the University of Denver.