His name was _____, and he was a ghost writer. He made a living off of secondhand words, the stories of others. Words were his currency. He weaved them together, syntax, tenses, paragraphs. He wrote the experiences of strangers, but he would’ve done anything for experiences of his own, to spend words on himself.
Her name was_____. When she was 12, she stole a small tin can from underneath her grandmother’s bed that was meant to be recycled for 5 cents. She walked out of her apartment and down the street, to the bridge where her mother used to take her. She stood by the railing, held the tin can up into the sky and scooped it full of air and memories. She quickly covered the can with a small cloth and rubber banded the ends. This way, she whispered, I can remember you.
In his closet there were hundreds of glass jars, all containing millions of words, categorized by type. Pretty nouns, long adjectives, sad adjectives, etc. etc. He didn’t speak, but he liked to go into his closet and sit among the jars, arranging them, dusting them, making sure that the caps were screwed on tight.
She folded up tiny squares of paper into little birds, two dimensional to three dimensional form, bending space into something pretty, something nice to look at. The tin can sat on her desk, open, as her memories had moved on. She placed bird after bird into the can, filling it with newness.
There were leaves on the ground, scuttling past his feet, blown by trees, layer upon layer of wind. Red and brown and crispy, changing with the cold, they scraped the cement. He saw her, carrying a small tin can of colorful paper birds, while he carried his own jar of favorite words. He walked up to her and unscrewed the lid, words and birds mingling together.