by Belinda Roddie
If you move fast enough, it looks like everything else is frozen. If you keep your speed consistent after that, it's almost as if you're traveling through one singular moment in time. The gentleman caught mid-bite while decimating a pear. A paralyzed young girl with her jaw hanging open at the sight of a glob of ice cream suspended in the air. And the clear, monotonous tone of words and songs that are caught on one note, one syllable, resulting in a mesmerizing, mechanical hum that sticks in your ears like accumulating wax.
I am not a superhero. I do not have super speed. But I can catch moments, and save them, like I'm preserving human passions in amber. Like I'm sticking idiosyncrasies, smiles, and questions in the freezer and refusing to let them thaw.
I went spelunking one time and let my hand fuse itself onto a monolith of blue ice. Once I removed my palm, the skin did not tear, but the imprint stayed, like the tower had stolen a shadow of me for itself. In that moment, I was as still and cold as the ice itself. It had a face. I had mine.
Stopping one day at a grocery store, I hurried down one aisle and took a mental picture of a boy pouring cornflakes from a box into his extended mouth. When you see the still frame, it is almost as if you are staring into a gaping tunnel, where all edible particles go to sleep. Then the moment stopped, and I was left with the scolding remarks of a mother scraping against my brain, craving the same sustenance that I gave other higher prioritized events.
The only time this doesn't work is when I'm with her. The kisses don't last long enough. I can't retain the warmth of her hug for too long. I remember our days together, her sweet reflections, my bad jokes. But the time we spent together moves faster than I do. It is the only thing that beats me in this race. And that's what makes me return to her, every time.
I want her smile locked in my pocket watch. I want it to run the minute hand and turn the ticking into her laughter. She might be the only person I slow down for. She earns that privilege.
At night, we press our bodies against one another and create a natural furnace. She breathes into my hair, I breathe into hers. Our hands are clasped together, and for a brief minute, we are gifted with the illusion of stopped time.
And we are frozen.
This week's prompt was provided by Arden Roddie.