Relief from Incongruity


Alli was standing in the tree, on one of the thicker branches, looking down at the white-green leaves littering the ground. Nealy was standing above her, on a higher branch. The dappled sunlight cut through the canopy and fell on them both.

Nealy kept one hand resting on the trunk, while she held out a spoon, that she had brought with her. “Watch this,” the high schooler said.

The silver utensil bent, the silent depression turning inside out and the business end, undulating and twisting around, like the instrument had been made of leaping mercury and not stainless steel.

A spark of familiarity flashed through Alli’s eyes. “I can do that,” she thought. What she didn’t realize was that she had said that aloud. “Then do it,” Nealy challenged her. She dropped the spoon, and Alli deftly caught it, before it fell to the forest floor below.

Alli held the spoon, since returned to its former shape. The surface felt lukewarm and dull to her tiny fist. Alli huffed. The mindless metal was suddenly alive in her hands; the scoop wrapped itself all the way around, curling 360 degrees. Alli felt a slight ache in her forehead and a bitter, coppery taste in the back of her mouth. A faint, high-pitched whine receded in her ears.

“See,” Alli looked up, at the other girl, standing there in jeans and a jean jacket, “I can do it!”

“Heh,” Nealy said with a wolfish half-grin, “I knew you could do it.” She laughed and glanced at the sun and the passing clouds.

Alli laughed too and dropped the spoon. It hit the murky carpet of dirt and bounced back up, at her beck and call, like a rubber ball – morphing in the air, like a bubble of silly putty. Alli gasped and chuckled. “I haven’t done that in years,” she said to Nealy.

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