THE FOULARD FLUTTERING IN THE AIR

Submitted into Contest #108 in response to: Write about a person or object vanishing into thin air.... view prompt

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Mystery Fiction

THE FOULARD FLUTTERING IN THE AIR

Alexia was coming back home. She walked with firm (decisive) step, quickly. Her gymnastic teacher, in middle school, used to urge their girls not to have the pace of those who walk on eggs. She was right, Alexia said to herself still now. It’s nice to feel the ground under your feet, even when under your feet there is the sidewalk, or the asphalt of the street, or the floor of a room.

In the sky the glow of the sunset had just turned off. It was almost evening . The air was mild, there was a light, fresh breeze. In the blue of the sky, that was fading into gray, white small clouds traveled , like sheep.  Alexia always had the same foulard at her neck, winter and summer. It was a foulard of flowered fabric, the flowers were drawn in a vaguely Art Noveau style.

Step by step the light faded and it seemed to her the air was getting thinner. It was as if that air, becoming thinner and thinner, it crept into her clothes. She felt it rustling on her skin,  and even under her skin that air crept in. Suddenly Alexia seemed to smell the perfume of violets. While she thought it was impossible there were violets in the meadows there around, since it was autumn, here that , in the opening of the wings of a little bird, which rose in flight from a branch of a tree, right in front of her, a small purple surface appeared, just a clove of purple, which was suspended in the air. While she stared  looking at this small purple triangle, in amazement, wondering what was it, that is, for what optical effects a such wonder appeared to her, that piece of purple started to move away from her, going very fast backwards, towards the horizon, until going to place itself in the sky, where it soon disappeared , slipping under a white cloud. Alexia left the sidewalk and started walking on the ground beyond it. Here, walking on the grass her steps were lighter, she felt lighter. It was that lightness that once, time earlier, gave her the feeling that she could have taken off.  It wouldn’t take much: she just had to get up on tiptoe, stretch her arms up, wave her arms, and she would rise in flight.

Walking in the grass, her steps becoming lighter and lighter, here that a flower came out here and there in the grass. They were flowers of which she barely smelled the scent, whose petals barely moved in the wind, as they winced, as if they whispered: how much effort to become just a color, just a perfume.

The air , rippled by that breeze of wind, at times crisp, continued to get thinner and thinner. Alexia could feel it creep into her body, between one cell and the other of her body, which too was becoming increasingly thin , almost without thickness. It was becoming more and more like air, transparent and thin as air.  Alexia felt herself lifted off the ground. Oh, what a thrilling sensation….ah, unfortunately it was only a sensation, she said herself. But when she lowered the glance , she could see that her feet really no longer touched the ground, they were just above the grass. Exactly, yes, as if she was about to take off. She heard a crackle in the air, it was like the crunch of a dry leaf that curls up, but she thought instead that it was the sound of a crumpling cloud. Suddenly a purple veil, very thin and transparent , came between her and the  waning light of the evening. At the same instant she was submerged , stunned by an intense, all pervading perfume of violets. “ I’m flying! I’m flying!” she said aloud, euphoric. She started waving her feet, her arms. her hands. Oh, how incredibly light she felt herself. But, sure, she could fly, since she had become light enough to be weightless. But Alexia was wrong. No, she was not at all going to take off as she hoped and she believed too, and her heart was ringing as a bell dazed by joy, as she believed it. Sure, she got up a little more over the ground, and, all bathed in that purple light and in the all pervading scent of violets, she really could believe that she was going to take flight that would, at least, have taken her to the moon. Instead something was going to happen to her that she would never have imagined, that perhaps she would not even have wanted. But maybe, who knows, if not that very evening that it happened (to her), she sometimes could have thought, have hoped it. It had happened to her often, and almost always while she was walking down the street to go home, that when you die , it is still your body. Ah, she would have liked  her body to disappear along with her, instead. Yes, she wished that when she was gone, that is, when she was no longer alive, her body would disappear too. And that evening to Alexia right this was happening : her body was becoming more and more inconsistent, more and more ethereal, it was going to disappear. Of course, she was still alive while her body continued to thin out, to become more and more like air, to mingle with air. She, Alexia, was still alive and sentient, but she did not realize what was happening to her. So , as her body was dissolving, she thought that feeling of incredible lightness, like that her feet did not rest on the ground meant that she was flying. Besides, none of those who passed by that road while Alexia was vanishing into the air seemed to notice the extraordinary phenomenon which was happening under their eyes ,but that was not at all showy. Even people who saw her disappearance could see only sparks, tiny dots of light, that lit up, shone for a moment and immediately disappeared in the dim light of the evening.

Alexia, on her side, did not seem to realize that she was vanishing. She felt herself rising high, higher and higher, she felt euphoric because she thought she was flying. Only the multicolored foulard that she had always kept around her neck, summer and winter, remained fluttering in the air , not far from the ground, when there was nothing left of her.

August 28, 2021 01:04

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