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The Unmappable Place


          For other uses, see Unmappable Places of the Heart


Nickname given to the creek behind the Cress house, a weed-infested lot considered both sacred and scary to kids of Brownleaf, purportedly haunted by strange transmissions from another planet.


It is here that Alex, at eleven, smoked his first cigarette only to catch Reuben spying on him, having tripped through the crushed yellowed grasses in his inconspicuous manner of not walking so much as bowling forward, about as stealthy as a cannonball dropped down an escalator – incapable of lithe, quiet footfalls to save his life.


Alex had subsequently punished his brother by telling him of the creek’s dark secret: black diamonds buried underneath the soil could invade with alien brainwaves those human minds lacking the aegis of a tinfoil helmet - only to then suddenly scuttle an ancient oak, leaving Reuben stranded below susceptible to ‘the psychic knives of The Signal’s influence,’ his eyes red-veined and raw, soaked in a crown of sweat and blinded by the shame of having soiled his size XXL Levis.


This is also where Reuben would find a balloon, and have his first and only kiss with Portia Macintosh, who would make him promise never to tell. He would keep this vow – cross his heart / hope to die / a thousand needles in his eye – dreaming of this kiss always, his heart a well into which only one wishful coin would be dropped again and again to plink and splash and echo, but never to be spent.


Lastly, following his brother’s untimely death (people would always phrase it this way in polite conversation – what death, he’d often wonder, was ever timely?), Alex would hide here during the funeral, counting planes from a local airport through cracks in the branches dragging their conglomeration of steel and plastic over a pink smear of sky, the plausibility of flight eluding him then—how anything burdened by such heft could achieve triumph against the tyranny of gravity.


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