Issue 11, December 2013
{ Diorama }
by Traci Skuce

I've abandoned them, those characters. A month ago, or more. They've been waiting for weeks on the granite outcrop under the push of an afternoon sun. No hats. Hardly any water. It was going well, for a while. The three of us conspiring, creating a situation. I told them they'd each have their say, sliding the POV from one to the other. But here's the thing: they are timeless and waiting. Forever twenty-one, plump with collagen and ideas about love. Forever thirsty and longing.

But not me. I have time to pass through. Teeth to brush and toilet paper to consider. I must send off applications and think about ways to make money, coax my children to school. I'm using castor oil to moisten my skin. I study the silver lines in my hair. Love eludes me, but I keep at it, opening my heart on Thursdays. The car insurance is running out and my license expires on my upcoming birthday.

In the meantime, I've left them there, as though frozen in a museum diorama, like the mammoth forever hunted by the cave man. Here, though, it's a seagull that hangs from the blue sky ceiling. And the breeze is static, forever still over the glassy veneer of water. Maybe she is pointing to the horizon, the one painted on the edge of that west wall. His brow is furrowed as dust falls in a layer over his lifted foot. I keep thinking about them as I put away groceries. I keep thinking of their unrequited lives and that Chekhov passage I should allude to. You know the one. About the ocean and the way it has been there so long, before the name Yalta ever fell on its shores and the way it will be there long after its name is forgotten.

Traci Skuce lives and writes on Vancouver Island. Her work has appeared in Prairie Fire, Forget Magazine, Room, Event, Fireweed, ARC, Island Writer, Other Voices and CV2. She's been a finalist in the 2012 Canadian Writers' Union postcard fiction contest and short-listed for the CBC Literary Awards. Currently working on her MFA through the low-res program at Pacific University in Oregon, her characters are moving out of stasis and across the page.