Margins: “Stuart”

Stuart shields his eyes from the glare of the hot sun. He can hear his uncle now, in a gruff voice that betrayed his loving and tender nature, saying, “You have to remember your glasses.”

Well, Stuart hated his glasses. They were unbecoming. Or at least he thought they were. He still wasn’t entirely sure what the word meant. His mind wanders briefly to the book he had hidden in the desk. All the unfamiliar and engrossing words land sweetly on his tongue but are bittered by his lack of proficiency to pronounce them. But the rhythm the words made, the way they lifted themselves from the page and danced in the air before their fate of being mangled, that’s what he is here for. 

His eyes are slow to adjust to the limited protection the shade from his hand provides. He scans the area carefully; he needs to be absolutely certain he is alone. A movement in the distance catches his attention and he freezes. A tense moment passes as the shape wavers in the heat. 

His breath slows as the shape comes into focus. A piece of scrap metal, floating and twirling in the rare afternoon wind. Stuart chuckles to himself. If he had been wearing his glasses, the glare of metal would have been more obvious, would have saved him a scare. Maybe his uncle did have a point. 

Satisfied that he was indeed alone, Stuart crosses the open boundary quickly. His skin still burns from the speck of sunlight that catches him, then there’s cool, quiet darkness and excitement. He flips the switch, and the antiquated lights buzz as they illuminate the room. The first measure of his symphony. 

He takes a moment to settle into the buzzing, breathes in the tempo. Then he gets to work, transforms the space to match the contours of the words swirling in his mind. His only solace in a world on fire.