The City of Stones

“So, like, tell me,” slurs Cedar, who is drunk again. “Tell me. Tell me…”

“Yes?” says her new friend, who always seems to be laughing at something. “Tell you…?”

“Tell me about the stones. You’re famous for them! There’s got to be a story there.”

Her new friend smiles. Cedar squints, trying to fix her friend’s face in her mind. She can’t quite hold it together. Everything dissolves into bits and pieces: a nose, a mouth, two eyes, cheeks, planes and hollows. None of it means anything, none of it adds up to a face.

“Oh, who knows?” Nothing looks like anything. “All the walls, maybe?” Cedar looks at her hands and all she can see are fingers, thumbs, knuckles, skin and bones. Not a hand. “There used to be a lot of rock walls before it all got replaced with concrete.” She starts hyperventilating. “Hey, are you okay? You’d better drink some water.”

Her friend is gone. She’s adrift in a sea of unconnected images and signs. She casts about desperately for something to hang on to, some solid place of rest; for an instant, just before she blacks out, she suddenly gets it.