Fall Back into Place

Fiction / Charles L Crowley IV

It’s raining at three AM. Unreflective. Itching in shadows. My bedroom is dark.

I can hear the rain moving over me. Drops pang the roof and the echoes of their impacts bloom and die like a glistened, floating light over the inside of my shuttered then shut eyelids. Rain says, You are connected to everything and also not. Rain says, I fall and fall apart just like everyone and everything else. Rain sings from my rooftop, and I hear it…a distant harmony, maybe sung by thunder or the heavy winds on a breaking wooden gate. It plays like a deeply buried melody on my favorite song, ever-present but also never really there.

Staring into nothing in particular, I feel thin and buried. In my sheets. In the darkness. In the rain. I am buried alive in an empty space. So blotted out by nothing-at-all that it becomes hard to even see my hands. Like a dream of disappearing a smaller me may have dreamt up a long time ago finally manifesting, an unknown dimension unfolds on me and lets me only sort-of exist for a moment. I am less than the rain right now. I am a speck of breath in the darkness of my room. And if I never turn on the light, then the unknown boundaries of this new dimension will remain infinite, and I will remain this little speck. And maybe, listening to the drip-dropping harmonies played on my roof for a while longer will leave me happy.


It’s taken me so long to get here. Blistering. Peeling in the cold. It’s early January and I am writing a story:

“I lay in bed, soft, tender, bruised from fingers pressing into my skin. You loom, an unmanned satellite above me. Hanging over my roof, an echo of trauma, and a vision of impending doom.”

Melodrama speaks to me. This is my second attempt at misremembering this story from scratch. Why do I always write about space? Why do I hectically tap my fingers against my smartphone’s screen? I am emphatic and desperate in my attempt to catalog these loose thoughts about space and time that nobody but me may ever read. My brain is so back and forth in its willingness to cooperate. I am afraid this fever will leave me…

“You are an unmanned satellite looming above me. Keeping me in place—I fear that any motion I make will cause you to fall like rain, simply and softly and with gravity from the sky.”

I re-misremember those lines later in the month. It’s almost February now.


RESET TO DEFAULT SETTINGS.
BOOT PRESETS—FUNCTION—AUDIO—SIN WAVE FILTER.
I AM AN ONSCREEN KEYBOARD.
I AM THE DECOMPRESSED BEAT OF YOUR HEART BLEEDING THROUGH LAPTOP SPEAKERS, REMINDING YOU OF YOUR HYPERSONIC, FUTURE-FILTERED AYAHUASCA VISION:
A FORTUNE COOKIE TALKING IN CIRCLES.
THE FORTUNE COOKIE SAYS,

One day when it rains the police will pull you over for no particular reason.


I am planning to buy a dress. Nervous. Uncertain and wishful. It’s February and I tell a group of friends, I might dress in drag at our next show. I commit half-heartedly aloud. In my head I am certain. And here and now I am afraid to peel back my skin a little so everyone can see me, pink on the inside. Afraid like how I was afraid to wear pink as a child. No pink on inside, no pink on the outside.

In the middle of February I try to remember correctly the lines I keep forgetting. I start again from scratch:

“The sky is pink as night comes home from the other side of the world.”

Everything is always pink, even when it’s not. My voice is especially pink when I try to sing. I can see it in my head. Itching in the darkness of my body to get out and float somewhere. I am in a garage recording music. I am playing guitar and it’s now, as the metronome clicks, that I remember poorly the first time I fell, really fell, for another boy. Beautiful in my recollection, I know I am forgetting details. I don’t say anything to the people around me. I just let the guitar speak a little louder.

Later that week, I write again about rain. I write more about the color pink. And I write about an unmanned satellite hanging in the sky. Maybe I write about falling. But also maybe I don’t. I can’t really remember.

I want to write about something in particular, but I can’t fully decipher the memory. I wait until the end of February and I try to conjure the right words:

“I am washed in red and blue lights. The sky is dark from cloud cover. And I step out of my car shivering. Blue men approach me. I’m only two blocks from my house, but standing here, like a single rock floating in the void, I feel alone. Not quite falling. Not quite stable in the space I inhabit.”


I write about the rain again. I write about the darkness again. I write about all the little atoms that make up the chemicals in my brain that keep me balanced—for the most part. I remember that other dimension where I lived for a moment. Maybe that place was happiness. If I can’t see who’s there—if anyone’s even there…. If I can’t see myself. If I’m not there, can I be unhappy? If everything is just darkness. And I am not pink but also just darkness. Then how could I be anything but happy? I don’t respond to anyone’s messages. I stay inside and listen to the rain.

In the last moments of February I write:

“The color pink reminds me that I am alone.”


It’s May. Manic energy subsiding, the world comes into focus like a slow cloud rolling over the sky. Smog lies over hills and light makes the particles dance pink, purple, light-blue—maybe violet, maybe lavender over green. Night is coming slowly and the days are staying longer than I’m used to anymore.

It hasn’t rained for a while. But I misremember the drip-drops well enough to keep the image fresh at the front of my mind. The words have almost slipped by my teeth too many times these last two months. What does it mean to ‘come out’ in a piece of writing? Is that what I’ve been trying to do? Is this what my frantic fingers have been trying to get at the whole time? I am longwinded and tangled up. What does it mean to ‘come out’ at all? Maybe there’s a video online that can teach me. Maybe. What does it mean to spit up the rocks in my mouth? To peel my skin back and find a pink secret truth inside of me? To turn on the lights and see everyone there like they always were, waiting patiently with arms wide-open for me to find myself in the darkness? Should I do it now?

I think I’d rather keep falling.


“I’m an astronaut. A voyager. Bright light full of blasphemous contentment. Little dim rock, absolutely and apathetically candid in its splendid, unfettered floating.”


It’s the middle of May and I’m listening to the freeway instead of the rain. I misremember what this piece was supposed to about. All I know is that in the darkness it’s too hard too tell whether or not you are falling. I wish I had turned on the light. I hope that I will, if only to see where I’ve landed. And if I’ve landed somewhere, I hope that is where I’m supposed to be.

Charles L Crowley IV is musician and writer from LA. He lives in Pasadena, CA where he survives both Soledad Flores the curandera and Charles L Crowley I the Arkansan moonshiner. Read his words in Whale Road Review, Dirty Chai, Unbroken Journal, Gravel Mag, and more.