"I Knew Rooms full of Ashes"
Summary: The shape of it was hazy against the horizon; a suggestion of a future.
Notes: A few weeks ago (and I am just now getting to uploading this here), my good friend brodiew tossed a mini-challenge my way – and what was I to do but accept it, and return one in kind. The scene he gave me to write an introspection on was Kirk's morning motorcycle ride before the Enterprise in five hundred words or so.
So, here we go . . .
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine but for the words.
I knew rooms full of ashes,
tunnels where the moon lived,
rough warehouses that growled Get lost,
questions that insisted in the sand
Everything was empty, dead, mute,
fallen, abandoned, and decayed:
inconceivable alien, it all
belonged to someone else-to no one:
till your beauty and your poverty
filled the autumn plentiful with gifts.
You have never felt completely right walking upright on solid ground.
And so you drift. You wander – like dust on the wind; a seed on the breeze looking for fertile soil. You drift quick, and you drift fast – the next best is always that illusive thing to you, and so you seek it out with a vigor. Drinks, women, the fights that came with both – you let both of them steer you like currents, looking for the one that would snag you and keep you steady.
Around you the fields of your childhood stretched on and on until they made the horizon beyond seem an almost insignificant thing. There was life to be found there, you knew – the crops and the harvest, the smell of growing things in the spring and ripe and full things in the autumn. There were many honest men and women – decent folk, who had found their way by so. They let the ground anchor them. They let the ground define them; the soil catching at their feet until they forgot that there were stars to look above to.
The soil against your boots tugged at you, but it never anchored you. It never held you down.
Amongst the fields in the mist, she rises out to greet you in the night sky like a half realized shape. You could not see the edges of her, you could not fill in her corners or read the vertebrates of her creation. The great lady – the one they would someday call the Enterprise– was nothing more than a suggestion against the horizon, an impressionist's painting of the future. The great framework of her was there – like dragon's bones, waiting to be begotten in fire; but her scales were not yet forged, her great eyes were yet unblinking.
You stopped short before the shipyards; letting the engines idle beneath you, and your boots catch in the fertile soil in order to stare at her. She was lovely – even as bare as she was, you admitted, and the dawn was a quiet balm against your back that let you admit such a thing. There was something vulnerable about her, something about her that drew the eyes and quickened the breath. She was all skin right now – ready to hold a pulse steady; ready to be covered by armor and close herself over breath and lungs and heart.
For a moment, you wanted nothing more than to be that breath – the glow that she closed over as she shuddered to meet the stars. She was nothing much at the moment – bones waiting for skin – but she could be something glorious. Something worthy to behold – a flagship in more than but name. She could challenge the night sky – find the empty places between the stars and define their eternal light.
She was chafing against the ground as she was being built – piece by piece, bolt by bolt, frame by frame. She wanted to fly– to chase the sky and write its histories anew.
And for the first time in your life, you – the son of a dead hero, a whisper of a just might maybe – wanted nothing more than to loose the ground beneath you. There was a challenge echoing in your ears – rough words glimmering with truth and hiding and invitation. The bloodied skin at your knuckles ached, and copper still smeared your shirt. Neither sensation grounded you, neither seemed real to you as you let the great ship before you sing to you a song more enticing than any siren's – freedom; freedom from your father's shadows, and your mother's sad eyes, and your own restless feet.
She was life to your eyes, and more than anything, you were ready to let her anchor you.