Sunday Night Aesthetic :: F, L, & W

aes·thet·ic
esˈTHedik/

adjective
concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.

noun
a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.


Strained silence greeted me when I entered the barn, a sort of tangible stickiness in the air as if I’d just missed the peak of an argument. Two of my brothers stood at opposite points across the dirt floor, throwing glares sharp as glass at each other’s chests, with the breeze from the open doors whistling a fight-song between them. Rafters groaned in the settling July heat above the familiar hoof stomping, chatter of equine bodies. A calico kitten lay pooled under the shade of a wheelbarrow swatting lazily at a fly hovering above her by the door. At the light tread of my boots, both of the men seemed to visibly deflate; their shoulders caving in from the tense muscles at their necks and deep breaths rattling from their lungs.

Finch’s eyes were bloodshot when they met mine – tiny red, spider webs filling in the whitespace around his emerald irises. His hair was too long, brushing his collar bones in wheat waves, forever unruly and tousled. I envied the golden skin, already filling with graffiti freckles from the summer sun, across the bridge of his nose; after two breaks, it was the ridged silhouette of a washboard.

“Wren,” he grinned stiffly, opening his arms, “you’re home.”

His hugs were the medley of fresh cut grass and sweet feed, spearmint gum, and laundry soap. Standing a full foot taller than me, his easy-going disposition usually managed to dominate spaces with whirlwind energy and a smile built of light. Today, a hovering fog clung to his edges, almost like the warning humidity before a thunderstorm.

“Why do you look like you haven’t slept? Your eyes,” I murmured, pushing away from his arms to glance at his face. Riding shotgun with the bloodshot corneas were two deeply-dug circles the color of rebar under his bottom eyelashes. Up close, a fading bruise was melting from purple to mustard at his jawline. “Finch.”

“He hasn’t slept, so don’t give him the opportunity to tell you he has,” Lark stated, still leaning against the far stall. His charcoal eyebrows were drawn into an irritated scowl and, unlike Finch, did nothing to mask the rage radiating off of him. His baritone was dipped in gravel, as if he’d screamed his voice raw the night before, under the grit of poorly veiled challenge. Lark’s arms remained barred across his chest – a granite statue perched at a distance before a tannerite explosion.

Where Finch stretched lean and moved like a fresh colt on new legs, Lark supported the build of a bulldozer across his shoulder blades. My brothers were a study in contrasts: Finch’s citrine-energy versus Lark’s battleship-steadiness, Finch’s teasing laughter like rippling waves butting against Lark’s oak ribs, one the bluebird sky of summer and the other uncharted, inky-black depths of the ocean.

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