In the spaces between / by Christina Rosalie

The roads have turned to mud now: layers of ice-hard earth thawing to slush, sticky and trampled. The yellow evening light is speckled with the flutterng wings of bugs, newly hatched, air eddying around their tiny exoskeletons.

We go for a run, just the two of us, conversation filling in the spaces between hard breathing uphill. A chainsaw whines and the scent of fresh cut wood makes my nostrils flare. Our feet sink a little with each step; muscles suddenly thrumming with heat and momentum. The air is soft, and while the snow still lingers at the edges of the fields, the brown grass lies exposed to the sun most places.

“Every step I take my feet sink,” DH says. The setting sun is at our backs. The sky is like the water I dip my brushes into: a bowl of pale ultramarine and pale saffron spilled at the horizon.

We’re holding hands. It’s the end of our run, and we’re walking back along the muddiest part of the road. In our heads both of us sing, every step you take…

Neither of us sings it aloud, but I know we’re both tuned in to this same static. “Did you just sing that song?” I ask, to be sure.

He nods, laughs. Even more than me, he’s the one doing this: filling in the spaces between thoughts with the flack of a thousand sitcoms, commercials, songs, clichés.

We do this all the time. Pop culture interference broadcasting stuff into the spaces between our thoughts. A word triggering the memory of another. Phrases tumbling unbidden into the twilight in spite of us. Turbulence in the spaces between. It’s a lovely day.

In my palm I feel the heat of him there next to me; so much between us unsaid.

What were like, before it was like this? Before thoughts were so commonly shared: before mass media and marketing, email, texting, technology instantaneously and exponentially making each thought at once more available and more clichés. In the spaces between, there was once an arc of silence. A breath beat without stimulus.

Now our minds hum constantly with unbidden music. Random access memory. Filler.

Without it, what would we be like?