The Contract

How could I possibly tell her that I had thought we had a future together when these thoughts alone were just the remanent of fragmented dreams, and that those dreams were recalled by the half light ecstasy of sexual mores that only I could gain personal satisfaction in?  No, these feelings and lust-filled thoughts were just that.  They were simply a morning temptation before the creeping light of dawn awoke me fully to the realities of the day ahead.  I held the phone in my right hand, her number displayed on the screen with a text half-finished underneath.  I reread the message and cringed in shame, the liquid warm against my belly whilst I drew deep breaths.  Deleted.  For the betterment of us both.

Besides I had double English to attend and I still needed to scrub the sleep from my eyes, shower and dress.  The walk to the college alone would take twenty minutes and I had an hour at the most to get ready, prepare for the class and to arrive on time.  Timekeeping was never a strong point for me, the lack of punctuality ran in the family and infuriated my mother continually throughout her children’s adolescence.  My eldest brother, for I was one of four and the second youngest of our parent’s brood, would drive my mother crazy by getting up late, sometimes comically late and especially so if we had to be somewhere on time. This would then cascade a chain of fury from my mother to my father, who got annoyed on her behalf before the fury finally found us, his younger brothers.  Once we were out of the house however we were fine and I think Dad sensed this when he saw the frustration spreading and urged us out as fast as was humanely possible.

The house was empty this morning though so I could blast the music, keep the bedroom door open and move about freely as naked as the day my poor mother had pushed me out.  I loved it – the feeling of an empty house where my favourite music reverberated from wall to wall; where I could eat quickly before I jumped into the shower, laughing as I did so as the water followed and flowed over the contours of my limbs and ran down my thighs.  They were where the thick surgical scars outlined the orthopaedic surgeon’s fixation.  I was proud of these scars, they were my personal tattoos of a specific time and place, my memories of pain and pleasure entwined to produce a better me (or so the hope went).

The first lesson passed without incidence, we learnt of the black ram tupping the white ewe and the lecturer expounded on what this meant for the play, for the deft characterisation and turn of phrase the author was so well-known for.  I wondered of his contemporaries, of his hopes and dreams.  I wondered what became of his loves and hungers, what his reaction would be if he knew that his plays would be enacted out four centuries hence whilst his fellow playwrights would lie largely forgotten in the lands that birthed them.  But still, I had the break to look forward to where I would see her and think ashamedly back to my morning scene.  I wanted to hold her hair in my hands and look deep into the blues of her eyes.  This was a fantasy, the girl who I would later call my partner had brown eyes and curly hair, she wasn’t the person who I had dreamt of whilst I had lain in bed, regretting the passing of the minutes that I was powerless to stop.

This was the contract, signed by us both.  Remaining friends but no more, the blushes of a late teenage crush hidden by a mop of hair.  Instead I put aside my fantasy of my cheek against hers, my lips kissing hers, my body entwined with hers, and put our friendship on a higher plane. There was no underlying hidden moral heroism driving this, it was purely the shame of not trying and never asking for her hand.  The joy of seeing her and sharing stories over drinks replaced this erotic dream of mine, one that I had subconsciously harboured since school and let blossom fully at college.  Instead I focused on the give and take of friendship. The unsaid declaration of the fact that she and I were always willing to be there for one another, at the end of a text, a phone call or in person, that it remained hanging in the air never needing to be vocalised.

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Taken by the author with a Pentax S1a camera using Lomography Lady Grey film. If reproduced elsewhere please credit as appropriate.

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Silence In The Cemetery

CNV00064Photograph by the author using a Pentax S1a camera and Ilford black and white film.  If reproduced please credit the author of the photograph as appropriate and link back to this site.

26 and Out, Over.

26 and out,

over.

Hello?

Yes, receiving!

Hello there! Look, it’s happened!

Yes, over.

Oh, nothing much.  Will you sustain coverage?

No, that all? Hold your bile.  Over.

Yes, okay.  Any thing for lunch?

Sandwich.  Okay, over.

 

An empty transaction, the masses spit on your grave even as your culture fractures under the public eye.  Yes, your skin will crack under the sun and your bodies will shrivel.  Instead the talk will focus on non-existent personalities, screaming inane words until their faces turn blue.  Politics, culture, digital media! Like this, read that. Digest, regurgitate.  Eat Eat Eat. Shit Shit Shit.  Live your life but don’t infringe on others, sit and hold your knife and fork even as others sit and starve, here we are.  This is us and that is them, an open divide.  A smell, putrid and fresh, a boil on this scarred land.  Sailors tied to their posts, a whip cracking at their torsos.  Fresh blood broiling over their naked hairy backs, frothing at the slightest glimmer of light.

Join me! he shouts, Join Me! JOIN ME! Have your voices heard, your hand raised, your vote cast!  Tick my number and look at my face.  This is me and you are voting for this!

A shadow disperses, and death marches forward.  The inevitable crunch of extinction, bones snapping underfoot.  Yet this too will be dust.  How inane it all seems.  How selfish it all is.  How frustrated the system of this system is.  Geological time, star dust, the universal contraction of the inevitable birth of a nation will be smeared by the blood of its own first borne.

This is horrific.  This is absurd.  This is the state of no nation, no planet, no universe.  Feel glad to be alive and grab that life and love it.  Hold your brother, your sister, as you hold yourself.  Life is not mutable, there is no eternal transaction, life debt paid heaven ascendant.

Falling Leaves

I feel that we have entered the autumn of our years.  The lines on the faces of the people have become that much deeper, that bit more entrenched.  The smile that was once gaily upturned now twists downward into a sneer, a hint of malice behind the mask that has slipped, bit by bit, over the years.

No longer do we embrace by the waters in the park, but we huddle in small groups by the gravestones of the dead.  Memories that are only temporarily locked in stone and will eventually be dispersed by the soil.

What once passed for love now passes for fear.

What have we become?  What have we denied?

The commonality of life, shared by all that breathe, live and love, is slowly being replaced.  There are dark patches on the map of this world.  Let us not now welcome them into the light of day.  Keep them on the periphery, where they belong, where we need to keep them.

Autumn, as cold as that bitter season can be, can also be beautiful.

A Wander

I lost my way today.

I prowled the aisles seeking neither comfort nor nutrition.

The harsh light reflected off the heated glass, the avian carcasses slowly turning for the adulation of the masses.

The thunder of the cars passing by outside could just be heard above the clattering of feet and the chattering of the masses.

I thought that every aisle looked the same, the same vacant stares and the same senseless hands caressing the same old produce.  I felt a faint tremor, a flutter in my belly, as I walked slowly up the main arterial corridor.

I caught myself.  Was I so cast adrift in my own thoughts and feelings that I could not at least emphasise with these people?

Further up the store, mid section in fact, I saw a crowd gather.  The closer I got the thicker it became.  A single cry went up and quickly another individual answered in reply and then yet more answered in turn.

I distinguished the quick flick of silver amongst the dour greys and greens of winter jackets.

Then I saw it.  The recently much oxidised blood contrasted greatly to the clean glisten of the tiled floor and the harsh white light.  A single man had taken to slicing his body open in protestation of life itself.  Aiming only for his lower body he scythed at himself and writhed in reply.

Some of the shoppers stopped and tried to help the man, others passed with barely a flicker of their eyes in his direction and yet still more continued on with their shopping, determined not to become a part of this sad sorry scene.

The pools of blood that littered the shop floor snaked from the middle to the exit in irregular lakes, each one representing an individual pump of his heart.  The police had apprehended him, calmed him down and led his outside without further incident.

The bloody prints became sectioned off although at least one shopper had absent-mindedly wheeled her cart into the blood and left a trail from one aisle to the next.

I stood rooted to the spot.  My legs became iron pillars and a small tear formed at the edge of my right eye as I looked at the trail that the man had left behind.

I walked out of the store, neglecting to purchase the item what I had evidently thought I needed.

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Photograph taken by the author with a Pentax S1a camera, please credit and use CC if reproduced elsewhere.