Tuesday, November 5

Tiny garnet chips fall from my fingers in a stream, scattering into the rough grey gravel at my feet. Bouncing and pattering like raindrops, a final flash of deep red caught in the morning sunshine before they trickle into the crevices between the much larger stones and are gone. With them leaves a promise that already lies broken.

"Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again..." A promise that even under the worst outside conditions we would greet each other smiling and provide warm refuge from the storm. Or so I thought. I never got a chance to be the one offering refuge, and by taking the sanctuary she freely offered, when I needed it more than ever, I established myself as an inconvenience. A burden. Beloved sister no longer. Peace-breaker, troublemaker...an idiot backcountry cousin one has to tolerate because they're family, and anyway, the poor thing doesn't know any better.

The string that once held the stones had broken in the middle of the night, while I sat shivering and laughing amongst warm companions, all forgetting our woes sitting around a patio table in place of a camp fire, attempting to use our drinks and cigarette lighters to variously make us forget the cold, or warm up our fingertips. Suddenly I felt the thread give way on my wrist and some of the stones fell to the ground before I realized what had happened. I pulled them off their thread and left them in a little pool on the edge of the table, not knowing what else to do with them. I had almost completely forgotten the meaning emparted to them when first I wore them.

By morning I understood why it had felt so significant, and why I had preserved as many of them as I could, but with no intention of restringing them. I collected them in my palm, along with some dew from the table, and aimlessly walked around to the front of the house, where I spotted the patch of gravel in the driveway. It should have been a sad gesture: marking the loss of something that was once so important to me, but I felt lighter for shedding the reminder of it. Easier in my mind having accepted the truth.

Thursday, June 6

Note To Self

It's a test girl, a challenge. See that big chalk ring on the ground? The row of judges with popcorn and binoculars? That means you're being awarded points for style, technique and efficiency of movement, not paranoia and self-pity.

Tuesday, May 28

Going Up?

The singed metallic smell and sudden orange darkness of the elevator made me feel as though I had somehow been transported back to London. Though which elevator, in which semi-industrial building, I had no idea.

Such a strong feeling of nonspecific displacement brought to mind the potential fragility of my day to day reality. What defense do I really have against the eventuality that a cosmic switch might flip at any moment and land me in an utterly different life?

This was an instant out of time and place. That moment of disorientation upon waking. Not knowing in which bed I lie, in which country, or even with whom. Perhaps this is a function of the rediscovery of satisfaction with my surroundings, this almost-fear that I might awake and find it all a dream.

Awake to find myself still a child in Scotland, with the past years nothing but an imagined coming of age. Awake to a ceiling fan overhead, fleas in the mattress, and my onetime lover / keeper snoring beside me. Awake, perhaps worst of all, not myself at all, but an unknown individual who keeps me as an internal persona, trapped as the figment of a stranger's psyche.

Fortunately, the elevator doors open onto the expected corridor, and when I wake from unremembered dreams I find that I still have what so recently seemed unattainable: a life in which I am at last my own master.

Thursday, May 16

Is This What They Call Afterglow?

Afterwards, I went to the bathroom. Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Perhaps there was some effort on my part to enforce normalcy on this situation that was so utterly new to me.

For a long time I stood there, surrounded by the dingy grey tiles and fluorescent flicker of a stranger's toilet, staring at the girlwoman in the mirror wearing nothing but an outsized chocolate brown cardigan which she clutched close around her. For modesty or protection.

Too little, too late.

She didn't look so terribly different from the girl I'd seen that morning. But I knew. I knew something she didn't. I knew that though there was no blood, no physical manifestation, this was a wound that could not heal straight. I knew that she would come to long for that absent blood, if only to prove the legitimacy of the injury so casually inflicted.