The sun was blindingly bright. It was almost as if Julia wanted everyone to see what she had done. There was incredible peace: not a sound could be heard, except light splashing of water as two main types of boats cruised down the main boulevard and side streets. They were either rescue teams, or looters disguised as civilian victims. They all kept their voices low or avoided speaking altogether. It was maybe because they were going through post-traumatic stress. Or maybe they were just speechless at the devastation. Or maybe they were keeping quiet simply out of respect for Julia, out of fear that she may come back again. They had all suddenly become Minimalists, regarding language as inadequate, as a pointless tool in moments like these. What is the point in saying anything when the picture says it all.
For some of them this was a new feeling. They felt small. They felt insignificant. But not John. He looked at the broken glass on his kitchen floor that had been mixed with dirt and leaves, and he felt Julia’s anger. His eyes studied the overlapping layers of glass fragments, curtain, twigs and miscellaneous debris that had flown in through the window, now sitting completely still, forced to be buried next to each other. This was Julia’s abstract sculpture. It was a monument to her anger, a monument to destruction. Looking at the mound of chaos John realised the chaos inside Julia’s heart, the devastation that she must have felt inside, for a long time. And then he saw through her anger, and he felt her pain. And the pain was deeper, stronger than the anger. It felt like a thousand cuts, as many cuts as there were fragments of glass lying on the floor. A tear started forming in the corner of his eye.
He followed the path of the sun’s rays with his eyes and got up from the wet floor. He went to the window and looked down. The Shell petrol station from two neighbourhoods over was blocking the entrance to his building. It was half-submerged in the flood. At least he was safe from the looters.
(from the upcoming novel A New Earth)
to read from the beginning, go here
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books