short fiction

A Thousand Times Over / Ryan Brockhoff

I stumbled barefoot out onto the cabin’s front porch; unmentionably, into the delicate, frigid morning. The floorboards didn’t creak, the porch light shining; I walked an awkward walk without hearing or feeling much, though I should have. The sentiment I had and felt and saw all around me was unearthly. That feeling that feels like drowning up, instead of down. That moment where even the most staggering of views and noises are muted and used up to balloon a facile notion of the concurrent everything.

I leaned on the sides of my feet as I went out into an embarrassed morning, not yet fully dressed or done up: a languorous and personified amber yawn. I knew, and it knew, that neither of us were quite ready to be seen, didn’t want to really know the men we came here with. Every set of blue eyes a canoe, an inaccessible craft of feelings and likelihoods. I feel for people, you know? I’m loopy with the inclination to not only love them, but to love for them, and to cross that membrane a thousand times over.

But I feel so constantly estranged to the people that share my skin, my thoughts, and my inability to pronounce the endings of longer words. I’m not sure how dreamt up they are, or how closed off they are, or I am—perhaps exclusively. I can feel their presence and the forthcoming Norwegian accent; I can feel how long they’ve been stuck here in this place, how often they come to this bar, how often they rarely remove themselves from it—the lackluster fizz of spoiling pop. Most of all, I can feel my fingers tucking incredibly inside of their jean pockets.

I crave the friction of time, whether it be a stranger, or the callousing passage of landscape, while I go furthermore round the grand racetrack, always in the same lap and breathe: never drinking a glass of milk from the same glass or home twice, never learning where the coats are hung up, never learning the name of the neighbor’s dog.

I know that this man, and the next woman, and the next long lull of time banked alone on a mountain top will never be enough. An excessive unwrapping and under-knowing of many worldly happenings: hardly remembering the differences, not that there really are any. I know that he, like many others, will want to keep me somehow, will want to keep me long enough to impress me some more. But he won’t. Ha. I’ll brandish that fear of the temporary; I’ll weaken that promise of time; and I’ll race indefatigably into the embarrassed morning, not yet fully dressed or done up.

I feel for people, you know?


by Ryan Brockhoff:  I am a writer and photographer from Kansas. I spend most of my free time traveling around the world and writing poetry on airplanes. I want to capture the enamoring truth of the world we live in. I’m obsessed with mountains, people, and the way they make me feel.

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