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Here and There

Nola Poterri built her first bridge with alphabet blocks, and so discovered her life’s calling. She built bridge after bridge and sat back on her legs and studied the bridges. “It’s unusual,” her mother said. Her father merely watched. They didn’t know if this was a phase, or if they were reading into it, or whether it showed an actual precocity. They were interested, however; they took her to real bridges, stopping and getting out to study them. They went to abandoned, picturesque bridges, bridges they could walk on and lean over railings to stare at rushing water or murky pools. Her parents began to love bridges, too; it was obviously some sort of genetic inclination. They could look at bridges all day long. They could look at keystones and suspension bridges, at stone bridges and bridge-tunnels, even at photos of woven bridges way up in the mountains, dangling over precipices. “Not solid,” the mother said. “Not really a center to it, is there?” the father asked, moving his finger along the photograph. “A bridge should have weight.”

And then they’d look at Nola. What did Nola think?

She seemed to think through her fingertips, always reaching for shapes that she could use to build her bridges. She liked keystone arches up until she was about nine, and by twelve she had progressed to building small suspension bridges, and their back yard was a series of rudimentary bridges rising just three or four feet above ground. Then she moved on to box bridges, girder bridges, tubular bridges, and skyways, and instead of removing the first layer of bridges, she built over and across them, forming a crosshatch of bridge layers, with new, higher bridges spanning the bridges below them.

The stacks of bridges formed different journeys, as she called them. One led to a neighbor’s house, who liked it for a while because it functioned as a balcony, until the structures Nola built above that one put his house permanently in the shade. He talked to other neighbors who had been watching the increase in bridges with alarm. There were ordinances about backyard structures.

Her mother was dying, at that point, and her father talked to neighbors as best he could to placate them. But soon there was a petition and then they brought an action.

Nola moved indoors and built wispy arches around her mother’s bed, listening to the rhythm of her mother’s breath, intent on building a bridge that would cause her mother to stay. She never succeeded.

After her mother died, Nola got very still. She slowly took away the arches she had built around her mother’s bed and moved them into the yard. Her head was bent, her hands were slow. She began removing some structures piece by piece. One neighbor reported this, and some of the complaints subsided while they waited to see if all the structures would come down.

They did not. She was just making room. Nola was testing out what she called reverse-suspension bridges.

Her father, still mourning, was inclined to let her do whatever she wanted. Let the neighbors sue him if they felt like it. What was a reverse-suspension bridge?

“On suspension bridges, the cables carry the weight from the roadway and transfer it to the towers,” Nola said. “The cables hold the roadway up. But what if the roadway has to be held down instead?”

“You mean it pushes up?” Her father thought he was being ridiculous so he laughed. His first laugh in a while.

“Exactly,” she said. “What if the weight of one end forced the other end up, like a seesaw? And the point was to hold that higher end down? Wouldn’t that be interesting?”

Her father got some rebar, and together they dug under the cinder blocks of the foundation. She put one end of the rebar there as a kind of lever, and then tied cables to the other end, forcing it down and refining it until it achieved what she wanted. Then she built a larger one, still small enough to be unimpressive, but that worked as well. Then she restructured a tower on one of the lower bridges so that the end of the roadway bent under it, and then had the other end go up to the third layer of bridges, straining to leap up but held down by cables.

She fooled around some more so that cables going up and cables going down balanced themselves out, eventually building a bridge without towers, balancing between its urge to go up and its need to go down,

The mesh of bridges grew again, and suddenly there were new papers with court dates in it, and orders to cease and desist.

“Nola,” the father said finally. “They’re taking us to court. And we really can’t afford it. The bridges were fine for a while, when they were really just garden structures, but the neighbors are complaining that we’re not zoned for architecture like this. And we aren’t. You’re exceeding building heights and building codes. I’m sorry—”

She looked at him intently. “What heights? What are the limits?”

He gazed at her, nodded, and wrote her questions down on paper. The next day he consulted the Commissioner of Buildings and some architectural firms.

“I have it,” he told her. “You can’t build more than three stories high in this zone. You have to have a setback of ten feet from your neighbors for any approved structures. It looks like you can call some of it a gazebo and some of it a tree house—both are permitted, but we need approvals. But the interesting thing is that the higher you go, the less they can regulate. You get into air rights. It looks like we technically have air rights up to about a hundred feet, if I understand it. And it’s tricky. So the problem is that you can’t build things above three stories, at the same time that you own air rights up to about a hundred feet.” He looked at his daughter anxiously. “Sounds crazy, huh? An interesting technicality.”

“Can I fly a kite?” Nola asked.

This disappointed him. He didn’t want his daughter to give up her bridges; he didn’t want her to be interested in kites. “I don’t see why not,” he answered slowly.

“And how far down can I dig?”

He smiled. “You can’t impact on the integrity of the neighbor’s dirt. That means you can’t dig anything that would cause their yards to collapse or be changed in any way.” He was more hopeful now.

“Right,” she said, and set to work.

She got a huge kite, spanning about eight feet, added a loop and a long string through the loop, and flew it up. She tied a cable to one end of the string and pulled it up and through the loop and used that to anchor the kite some ten feet from the left neighbor’s yard. She dug down under her own foundation at an angle, and she placed a stanchion there, also at an angle, using the house as a fulcrum. This was twenty feet from the right neighbor’s yard.

She connected the cable from the loop in the kite to the stanchion below the house. Her father came out to watch it as she finished. The weight of the cable kept the kite from flying too widely. It appeared to rest stably in the air.

“But what is it?” her father asked.

“It’s the bridge,” she said. There was pride in her voice. “From the earth to the air.”

“But won’t it move?” he asked.

At that she smiled. “There is a center point at each end,” she said.

Her father looked up at the kite and blinked; he lowered his head to look at the stanchion in the earth and pursed his lips. “I don’t follow,” he said.

“Watch,” Nola answered, and she spread out her arms and put her foot on the stanchion and walked slowly up to the kite and then halfway back, where she paused and surveyed the scene. The view was as lovely as the views from the bridges of her childhood, when they’d all gazed over the railings and down to rushing water. There was a moment, when she looked down and her father looked up, when she felt astonished. The world was sharp and poised and she felt happiness like a perfect movement.

“Nola!” the father cried automatically. He was shocked to see her twenty feet above him, smiling down with a strange, bemused look.

“All right,” she said, and walked back to him.

He grabbed her and hugged her. She leaned into him, lifting her arms to pat him gingerly. “It’s all right,” she said soothingly. “There was never any danger.”

“Why didn’t you fall?” he said. “It’s so narrow.”

She shook her head. “I walked in the center, that’s all. Just think—if you painted a line on the ground, would you fall off the line?”

“But it isn’t a line, it’s a cable.” He was getting his breath back, and he didn’t know whether he felt foolish or annoyed.

“I ran the cable along a series of points. All the centers of the points,” she said, thinking this would make him understand. “Try it,” she said. “Just walk on it, you’ll see.”

He didn’t know if he was a brave man, or a risk-taking kind of man, or the kind of man who went through life without learning anything. But he did know he trusted his daughter and he had seen it with his own eyes. He took a step on the cable.

His foot found a calm clear purchase. He looked down and he saw nothing, just his foot and the cable. He lifted his other foot and the same thing happened. He straightened his back and walked gingerly forward. He saw Nola’s face turned towards him and at once he felt a great sense of vitality. He gazed back and forth at each end, and there he was between them, happy.

He felt lighter in a new way—not just about weight; there was a mental feeling of lightness. He might say truth. He might say meaning. But he never used those words. He was between two places, here and there.

Nola touched the cable. And he walked back.

He took deep breaths and looked around. “It was solid,” he said faintly.

“The center is only where the radius begins,” she said. “And of course there’s more than one radius. They’re like cables for the points you want to use.”

It made a fleeting sense to him; he had felt at the center of something. But whatever he understood began to slip away. Still, he knew what he had felt was rare.

“How do you know this?” he asked.

“I see the centers. I’ve always seen them. I’ve always been building from one point to the other, and all the points are centers.”

“I don’t see that,” he said sadly. “And, Nola—is there any use to this? Any practical use?”

Her glance moved away from him, miles away. Even her body pulled taut. “I can build a bridge with a single line,” she said. “And no one would be interested?”

“But what would they use it for?” he asked. He was trying to be delicate; he was trying to understand.

“For beauty,” she said. “For the beauty of having it. I can build a longer one, a taller one; I can build as far as the eye can see, and then I can move farther, and build onto it again.”

“But what will they do with it?” he persisted.

She looked at him attentively. She shrugged. “What do you do with the spot you’re standing on?” she asked.

He frowned.

“It’s a place, a point, a center. You touch it and you stay until you wish to leave. Just like every step you’ve ever taken.”

But he continued to frown, and it struck at her heart, a little bit. She went back to building her bridges—adding a few suspension bridges, so her father would feel comfortable, but also building the ones he couldn’t understand. Her bridges were delicate and sometimes hidden behind things, hard to visualize. She would anchor a bridge to the roots of a tree, or to a big rock in the earth. She would walk up the cable to the kite and then fly another kite from there, held by a thinner wire, small and sheer. She studied the way it moved. From across the street, she seemed to be in the air, gesturing towards another spot in the air.

Far away, she saw an unusual point. She couldn’t reach it yet, but it seemed more distinct than the other points around her. It stayed there in the sky as if waiting for her.

One day the police arrived with a city marshal. The father let them in; they were serving a warrant and said they would give him more time if he cooperated. He took them to the back yard. There were only a few of the larger bridges now, old ones that weren’t in the way as Nola moved on to lighter bridges. And the kites.

“Those?” the marshal asked, using his chin to point to the bridges. He had looked at the kites and dismissed them.

“Those,” the father said. “I’m sure I can remove them.”

The police and the marshal conferred. “Were there other structures?” the marshal asked.

“Yes. My daughter took them down. That complaint must be old.”

“Your daughter?”

“She built them.” At that point, Nola came home from school. She stood beside her father.

“This little girl? They’re complaining about this little girl?” the policeman asked. “What do you weigh, ninety pounds?” Nola had always been slight.

“What does her weight matter?”

“It doesn’t. I’m just trying to put this all together.” He looked up. “You got a kite or two, I see.”

“Bridges,” Nola corrected him. Her father’s hand on her shoulder pinched her. She nodded. “I like kites,” she said.

They walked around a little, took a few measurements, said there were no longer any violations, and began to leave. The kites remained. “My kid likes kites,” the policeman said. “I fly them in the park. Maybe I’ll see you there.”

“All right,” the father said. “And thanks.”

“She’ll be dating in a few years anyway,” the officer continued. “Then it’s all shopping and boys. You’ll see. I have one.”

“Yes,” the father said. His voice was faint.

Her father applied to special engineering schools for her, asking for scholarships. He included photos of her bridges. One school sent an interviewer, who stood in the yard, chewing like he’d bit off a piece of suspect meat.

His eyes roamed all the levels of structures. “A little girl did this?” he asked. “You didn’t help her?”

“I wouldn’t know how,” her father said. “I’m a ticket agent for the railroad.”

He looked at the father steadily, then walked around, tapping bridges. He stood on one and jumped a little. “They’re models,” he said. “She makes models. Not the same as new insights.”

The father could tell the man was not interested, didn’t believe what Nola had done, suspected something—whatever the reason, he was set against the bridges.

“I’m working on a point-to-point bridge,” Nola said, looking up at the kites.

“That’s a kite,” the man answered.

She studied him for a moment, shrugged, and stepped up on the cable. When she began to walk, he yanked her down.

“I’ve done it,” the father said. “It’s safe. I’ve walked on it.”

“And no one had to grab him,” Nola pointed out. She bent down, took a ball she used to test the straightness of bridges, and rolled it up the cable. It went halfway and then rolled back to her hand.

The interviewer watched it steadily and finally shrugged. “What’s the point of it? You can’t transport anything on it, and really, I can’t see the trick but there must be a trick. At any rate it’s useless. An illusion or magnets.” He looked at her. “You’re a tricky girl, aren’t you? A Houdini-ette or something.”

“There is no trick,” she said. And then, injudiciously, she added, “You just don’t understand the science.”

“There is no science like this,” he snapped. He drew himself up as if reacting to his own irritation, and his eyes roved back up to the bridge she’d built. He took a moment, wavering, but then he looked at Nola, her father, and back to the bridge. “This is a strange presentation. A toy? I don’t know. There’s something here I don’t trust. It would be a shame if I passed over someone who shows me a talent in engineering that will work in the real world. I wouldn’t want to regret passing him up, for this.” He nodded.

“Has anyone else her age ever done anything like this?”

His head wagged a little, left to right. “I don’t know what ‘this’ is, so I can’t say.”

Nola filled out applications for colleges and engineering schools. She wrote an essay on how she wanted to build new, portable bridges.

“I don’t think there’s much need for portable bridges,” her father said gently.

“I mean, to get them in place in remote areas. Quickly. All at once. And leave them there.”

“I see,” he said. He still didn’t know if that was a real need. He went along with his daughter, out of loyalty and conviction. It was a joke between them—how no one could understand what she did or why. “What do you see?” he once asked. “When you go from point to point?”

“I see the points and how they align themselves. I see a point and I see the links to the points that constellate them. I go for the ones with the most links. They’re obviously the strongest.” She looked at him. “I always wondered. You don’t see what I see?”

He shook his head. “No one does.”

She pursed her lips and stared off thoughtfully.

And then of course something went wrong.

She was experimenting with flying bridges (“What?” her father had asked. “These kites aren’t flying bridges?”) which could tie two points together and then have one point release and another point catch. A kind of slinky-in-the-air.

She was reducing the size of the cables as well. She knew that some points could hold almost infinite amounts of weight, and she had been testing the points, mapping them. She occasionally crossed a bridge so she could peer at a point twenty, thirty, forty feet away. She was creating a science, and as happens with any scientist, one of her tests failed. The point she thought was stable simply wasn’t, and she fell from her bridge, hard. Landing on her shoulder, wrenching her neck severely. She lay stunned, in agony, unable to move.

Her father called an ambulance, and the police came and took more notes. There were questions, since she was only sixteen, and Social Services was called to check on living conditions. She was a fair student, no problems noted. The neighbors said merely that her father used to build too many things in the backyard, but now things were better. She had fallen off a ladder. Or fallen off the roof. She was a strange girl.

She had headaches after that, and her shoulder was never the same, but nothing interfered with her experiments.

She began building smaller bridges. She used a pin to anchor one, and when her father asked, “What if I pull out the pin, what will happen?” she laughed and said, “What happens when half a bridge collapses? You can’t cross it, that’s all. The sky won’t fall.” This sarcasm was not like her, her father thought, but she had been surprised by the accident; she had learned she was mortal.

Mortal and alone. She had no friends, and she was of an age when her looks should matter, but she went her own way, always. She cut her hair straight across above her shoulder blades, because she didn’t care. She wore indistinguishable, unfeminine clothes. Her high school advisor, a kind woman, had called to delicately ask if she could take Nola shopping, but Nola had refused. It reminded her of the daycare she’d been sent to once when her mother was sick, where they’d insisted she wear tutus and draw with pink pens.

She was determined to get into college. But her grades were only fair, nothing to tempt any school into giving her a scholarship. She was sure that if she could perfect the invisible bridge, her success would be guaranteed. Her father was caught between admiration and caution. One of the neighbors, a nice enough person, had suggested that she was really creating art. He said he couldn’t think of a single female engineer. And the female scientists—well, everyone automatically said Marie Curie. But her husband did a lot, didn’t he? Makes you think.

She got into a school, not the best school, and she hoped that some of the teachers would be able to guide her into a breakthrough on the invisible bridge. They didn’t. One of them was kind, but the others merely pointed out books on bridges, or websites, or a few chat groups. For anything online, she used only her first initial. There was hostility to women.

Coming home late from class one night, she was raped. She went to a hospital and insisted on a rape kit. The police came and took the rape kit away, took down some notes, and then she heard nothing. She called to check and was told that the kit had been lost.

She got an IUD. If men were going to rape her, she was not going to be trapped by them. There were only a few engineering or structural classes of any kind, so she dropped out. The college was beneath her anyway. She saw no reason to continue her education.

The bridges in the back yard—the old ones, the traditional ones—began to show their age. Her father was showing his age, too. He even listened slower at this point, cocking his head and thinking about what she’d just said. He knew about the poor grades, but not the rape. He knew that she was trying to get a job with any kind of civil engineering company, but their eyes looked at her steadily when she went for the job interview, and then, regretfully, she was told there was an opening with the administrative or secretarial departments. Just until she got her degree, of course.

Her father died after she changed the final traditional bridge into a freestanding deck. The neighbors explained to her where a deck belonged. One man in particular explained the difference between a bridge and a deck. These were new neighbors, unaware of the troubling bridge history of her youth. She was much more guarded than she had been then. She did not tell him about the weightless bridges, or explain the concept of going point-to-point. She had told those things to her father, who was prejudiced and hopeful on her behalf, but who understood nothing. She was terribly afraid, after her father’s death, that there would never be another being in the world who understood her.

Still, she continued.

Her father left her the house and a small amount of money. The money would allow her to keep the house; she would need more money to live and to experiment.

For all this time, she was still working on the invisible bridge. Why had her progress slowed down? She had created the point-to-point bridges, though no one had ever seen any value to them; she had made attempts to create flying bridges, but had been tempered by her fall, years before. Even she knew that there was no need for an invisible bridge, and yet she wanted to build one. It was a need, unexplainable and unavoidable. Years ago, her father had asked her, what did she want with her bridges? Where did she want the bridges to lead to?

“Lead to?” she had murmured. “Why, all bridges lead to the other side of the bridge, which leads right back to this side of the bridge.”

“I had thought,” he began hesitantly. “I had thought maybe they went somewhere . . . different. Different from what we know.”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “They lead from one point to another point, and then back again.”

Her father was silent.

“It’s not magic,” she said, almost crying, but not crying, she didn’t cry. “It’s not magic,” she whispered, her head lowered, trying to control herself.

“Okay,” he said. She heard disappointment in his voice. Did he want to go somewhere else? Is that why everyone was so harsh, so disappointed? Because in their secret hearts they hoped the bridges would lead to—another time, another place, another dimension? Were they so stupid? Didn’t they understand she was dealing with science, not magic?

If you bridged two points, all you did was create a relationship between them; you did not create another world. Of course, she had to admit, you altered the world. A bit. Not much. You changed the geometry, just a touch, because no one had tied points together before.

She told herself that the point far off in the sky was merely a point she wanted to reach, like any other point. She refused to admit that she hoped that it meant something, that it was there specifically for her. That it led to something. She would start to think about it and then hold her thoughts in check. She missed her father.

She was nearing forty, now. She went to museums, to lectures; she bought books, but expenses began to pile up. She sent in descriptions of her bridges to various competitions (some of them were really art competitions, not engineering) but there was only an occasional, shallow interest. A neighbor’s child did a report on her once; and that led to an article in the local newspaper. She got a call from someone who worked at an assisted living residence, asking if she would like to do arts and crafts twice a week, minimum wage, unfortunately.

She thought about it. She was alone too much, she felt uninspired (she hadn’t worked on bridges for a while now). She went to the library and looked in the crafts section. Folding paper looked interesting, so she checked out a few books and bought different kinds of paper on the way home.

The paper folding was magical. So many shapes! Such intricate forms! She practiced for hours each day and went to her first craft session with papers and diagrams.

There were three women and one man there. She set them around the table and they began folding. One of them had shaky hands, another squinted. By the end of the hour they were all in love with folding.

The folding was setting her mind free. She was studying form again, and shapes again, and the surprise of transformational space again. She loved the smiles she got, the murmurs of appreciation. The seniors began reading books on folding as well, and they all began work on lacey hanging lamps and bowls that could collapse. They laughed easily together. Mary and Jim and Rosalie and Fran. Wonderful people.

On the way home one afternoon, she saw how the folding and the bridges might go together. She should give up the invisible bridge; it would be problematic if she could build it—would people slam into it? Fall over it or off it? Would they even admit that it was there? Her own experiences made her doubt it. But if a bridge could be folded and unfolded, surely they would admit that they could see what it was and could see its value? It would be her portable bridge.

She studied the designs she had made for her previous bridges. She took some of them, drew them finely on thin paper, and began to fold the paper. Paper fans and creased papers and thin strips with accordion edges surrounded her.

There were now six students at the residence. Marty joined, as did Sheila. They grinned at her and looked at images in books with descriptions as they began to fold paper into vases and picture frames. “I’m giving this to my daughter,” Rosalie said. “She’s a snob. But I think she’ll like this, it’s art. It’s beautiful.”

After a few months, Nola’s work on the paper bridges began to come together. She could build a bridge from the daily newspaper; the thinness of the paper was actually an asset, because she could crease it so perfectly, spiral it, lattice if need be.

She built a small bridge with her class, now numbering eight. It was a model, taking up a corner of the room they met in. But they could see it, they could put their hands on it; they could place books on it just to test out its strength. Only she could see how to place it, but once it was placed it was perfect.

Nola was happy with her experiments with paper bridges, which at home grew increasingly large. She built one from her roof to the crook of the nearest tree, and walked back and forth slowly. That moment of suspension at the center of the bridge, removed from earth, resting in air, always gave her strength again. Squirrels ran along it until the rain brought it down. Birds landed and cocked their heads. She could stand there and be in a different life. Perhaps that’s what her father really wanted. It never mattered when the rain made it shred; she liked the way it moved back to earth.

Another residence heard of her and she now had classes four days a week. She had access to the newspapers they were about to throw out. She impressed the seniors with her folds and her creases and pleats; they twisted shapes into giraffes and horses, into dragonflies and spiderwebs. One man loved making toll booths for her bridges. He even painted them.

The local newspaper wanted to do a follow-up on her, and that led to a local TV station wanting to show her art on the early evening spot.

She practiced with her students so it could be done efficiently and quickly, and when the TV crew was there, they built a bridge. Of course, Nola had to show her students where to place each fold, since they couldn’t see the points, but with seniors from both residences, she was able to complete it in an afternoon.

The camera crew stayed for it, shooting every fifteen minutes or so.

Nola walked across the bridge to show it was stable.

The last shot for the news program was the reporter, standing on the bridge, declaring it an impressive feat, particularly good for parties.

After the crew left, she thanked her seniors and went back home and built interlocking folded paper bridges, forming a dome. There was no rain forecast for a week. On top of the dome she built a point-to-point bridge to the peak of her house.

The neighbors she now had were better neighbors than the neighbors of her childhood. They asked if she was having a party, if she could have a party, or rather, would she mind if the neighbors included her yard in an impromptu block party?

She invited her seniors to the party, and they constructed paper bridges on the spot. They weren’t high, so no one had a problem when children and dogs ran along them. The day was bright and sunny. The backyard domes and bridges she had built fluttered or wavered in the breeze. People pointed up and laughed in appreciation. A man approached her and asked if he could have her as a guest lecturer in a class he taught.

“What class is this?” she asked.

“It’s called Aspirational Divisions. That’s what the catalog calls it because they think it sounds grander. But really, it’s about dreams. It’s about making your dreams come true, working towards the goal of your heart.”

She could hear the faint snap of paper in the wind. She could see the points where some of the bridges landed, or sprang from. She was very close to accepting her life as it was. And so she smiled and said, “But they don’t, do they? They don’t come true in the way you want or in the way you think.”

He nodded. “Ah, but look what you’ve achieved here. Look at all you’ve done.”

At that the wind picked up and the rain began, and amid the shrieks and laughter, the paper bridges began to sheer themselves away and shred themselves on the lawns and streets.

The points held steady, however, and they were there to be discovered again just as, far away, that special point hovered. She had decided to give up on that special point, to stop thinking it was meant for her. Dreams don’t come true in the way you want or in the way you think.

The neighbors liked the bridges. She showed them what she had done, explaining it as best she could. One neighbor asked if she could make a point-to-point bridge over a swimming pool, so the children could jump in. Another had a septic repair about to start, and wondered if a folding bridge would be possible so they could get around it easily. No, not a folding bridge, she said, but a small reverse-suspension bridge would work.

Most neighbors had requests. Some of them had been children when their parents complained about the strange things in Nola’s yard. They had been interested but forbidden to be involved. Now they could say they liked all her bridges, and began to ask for them as ornaments on the street, useful under certain conditions. They applied for and got permits as “public installations.” Soon the street sparkled and waved on sunny days. She put up bridges at both ends of the street, and they loved driving under them to their own private bridges. Another world really, they said, nodding to each other.

Nola continued to experiment. She was thinking about reverse bridges—constructions that could keep two points separated, unable to be bridged. It was a strange idea for her, thinking about deliberately creating a separation.

On her street, the bridges grew like trees, and grew into trees, and Nola created paper skywalks for the neighbors’ delight; the children in particular all felt that they lived in an enchanted world. Above them, every so often, Nola paused on one of her floating bridges and felt the sheer intensity of being neither here nor there, of being suspended, of being a point in the universe that she knew and could see contained all the points there ever were.

Originally published in Conjunctions, Issue 68, Spring 2017.

About the Author

Karen Heuler’s stories have appeared in over one hundred literary and speculative magazines and anthologies, from Conjunctions to Clarkesworld to Weird Tales, as well as a number of Best Of anthologies. She has received an O. Henry award, been a finalist for the Iowa short fiction award, the Bellwether award, the Shirley Jackson award for short fiction, and others. She has published four novels and a novella, and her fourth story collection has just been published by Tartarus Press.