epistolary

An Unsent Letter

Dear Him,

Where are you? I don’t know where you are. I wonder what your piece of sky looks like. I am sure that your sky looks different to mine, even though we’re under the same one.

We lost each other, somehow. Perhaps we lost each other deliberately, although I prefer to think of this divide as a tragic accident, our totality sliced in half by the universe and her clumsy but ungovernable path.

We used to share so many things: you know what so I shan’t patronise you by listing them, all those things we shared, all those things we lost. The only things we share now are this sky, and the sun and moon that live in it. And, even then, they are not shared equally or fairly. But at least we can say that we’ve still got something, we will always have something.

You see the sun more often than I do. You adore her, you worship her, you welcome her. You actively seek her out. You chase her. She makes you happy. I loathe her, I hide from her, I dread her arrival. I can’t stand the fact that she is so committed, so steadfast, so predictable, so fucking resolute. I hate that she never stays away for long enough and I hate that she always returns. She bores me. I am bored of the sun.

But we will always have this in common: we are both her dependants, entirely reliant on her for life, even though we never wanted to be. I’m angrier than you are about the fact that we need her. We are her slaves, we exist at her mercy; and this is a situation that we will never have the opportunity to challenge or change, a reality that was forced on us all without warning or argument or even explanation. None of us ever agreed to be solely dependent on a faraway celestial body, and yet here we are, going along with it, accepting that we will die without her but we will also die with her. It reminds me of the fact that no baby ever asked to be born.

We will always share the sun, this sun of ours. And while you worship her, I wish she would hurry up and explode. Then our sky would look the same no matter where we are because I suppose we’d be nowhere, but we’d be nowhere together.

I always believed that wherever we are in the world, however far apart, we would always share the same moon. But the more I think about it, the more I realise that even this is not the case.

I spend so many hours now just watching the sky move on the other side of the glass. All those days where I am too sad to get out of bed, people assume I am reading in bed or writing or painting or watching movies or sleeping but really I just lie there and watch our sky performing its never-ending dance, with its clouds and colours and weather and stars and sounds and speeds and aircraft and fireworks and pollution and promise and a stray green balloon. I spend so much time just watching the sky and wondering what your slice of sky looks like. I hope yours looks happier than mine.

I am infatuated by the moon, arguably obsessed with her. I always feel a strange sense of relief when I see her and I am disappointed when she doesn’t turn up, worried even, as if the sun might have burnt her to death while I was in my windowless bathroom where I couldn’t keep an eye on her. I don’t know what I’d do without the moon: if she died I would miss her just like I miss my father now.

I know that you have always liked the moon too, especially when it’s misty, or on those stoned Sunday nights we shared years ago when we’d look for words on her skin, convinced by the crater edges forming silver tattoos on her blinding, imperfect shell, like when we couldn’t unsee the word ‘SIN’ branded diagonally across her left side. We like the moon. We trust her.

But she shows me a different face to the one that she shows you. We see the same moon from different angles, at different times, in different stages, in different moods, in different countries, in different lives, with different eyes. The moon that I see and the moon that you see are the same, but different.

Like us, I suppose. We’re the same but we are different. The same, but different. Same but different. We are different people now but some things will always stay the same. So as long as there is a sky above us, and a sun and moon within it, I’m yours.

From,

Her.


[Featured image source here]
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epistolary, fiction, life

The Purity of Remembering Now

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I should have written a novel about her at the time, or a short story at least, kept a diary maybe. A scant-few weeks have elapsed, but already I can sense my mind reaching out for the detail of the past with manipulative hands, twisting the truth with between my fingers to fit a narrative. If I take my pen to paper, I am not convinced that what happened then would be as I document now. It is an immaterial thought; for my hand is not steady enough to write.

I look down into my shot-glass, positioning myself direct above the rim so it forms a perfect circle against the dark-stained wood of the bar. This circle is today, not the past. It is absolute in form, with no distortion of perspective, no aberration in colour, no lies told that I cannot correct with an informed shift in point of view – this is no selective memory, yet. I drain my drink and order several more – I lose count long before I run out of cash -but with each refreshed glass I make sure I look down upon that circle: to remember.

Alex can see I am a mess and like any good bartender she asks after me, the concern on her face genuine, for I am a regular now and we have become familiar of late. I don’t tell Alex about the shit going on my life, because then she would be no different to the others that show interest, be it society-required faux-concern, or genuine. Every conversation with Alex would be stilted and short, progressing in the same way – “how are you holding up?”, “it must be so tough”, “I can’t imagine what you are going through.”

I want Alex to remain my personal escape, and of late I need her to be my imagined infidelity. She lifts her short skirt and lowers her panties, bending forward, supporting herself with her hands against the rough brickwork of the alley at the back of the bar. Her mouth spews encouraging filth as I give her, at her own demand, a severe pounding from behind. But then, even in my own fucking fantasy-dream, I can’t keep up and I slump to the cold floor – breathless, pants around my ankles. Alex straightens her clothing and laughs at me, then picks at the grit in her palms in an absent fashion, as if she has done so many times before; and in my mind she has.

I still wouldn’t swap my imagined failure for Alex’s pity; I already have too much of that in my life. I wake in a puddle of light, soaked in the midday sun and, I think, my own piss. The bedroom reeks like something has died in here, and, as I open the windows wide, once again I wish it had been me and not her. I hold my wedding ring to the window, and in the blinding sun I look upon the perfect silhouette. This particular circle is of the past, and I cannot recall as much about her face today, as I did yesterday.

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epistolary, fiction, life, poetry

Do we jump?

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People don’t come to us randomly

We call them

Breathing the voice of wisteria

When cigarettes were outlawed, we sucked on our toes

Chanting chanting chanting

Addiction came early

Shaped like a restraint

Forged in wax

Sharp is the knife selecting prime cut

Heroes who grew old

receding hairlines pop-out teeth and gnarled feet

Men licking boiled wool

Strung coins jangle be found on the wind

Horizon of purpose

Surpassing the age she ended

Burned by spotlight smaller and smaller

Precocious

Lay stones over the unspoken

Duel in applique

Signals searching wave length

Wings spread for framework

Wrapt by effort

How you reached this far then

Set apart

By slipping feet

First the tragedy

Then the farce

It ends and it never ends

Theatre rich in masked gesticulation

Closing loops with string theory

Retina, red-faced in song of detatch

Blinks down the road in hopscotch

One foot landing in suckered punch

Posed for jumping

Do we jump?

 

(Image by http://www.fearfuladventurer.com)

 

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epistolary, life

Biting the Bullet

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Once on the bridge, she climbed the barriers that society-erected for her own safety. To pitch forward now would mean she be devoured by the shit-brown Thames, yet at this moment she is content to remain chewed, but not digested. She stands upon her own precipice, and observes all that orbits around and within.

SHE had emailed HIM to meet. To ’bite the bullet’, she said. Spontaneity was a precondition as, “nothing she did was ever planned more than minutes in advance”. He fired back a message, traversing that tightrope betwixt appetence and indifference. Then he waited.

The answering email entered his Inbox a week shy of two years later.

He sent his own, prompt counter. He asked, with genuine concern and hoping to not sound creepy, where had she been? Drinking, came the reply. He suggested a Social Media connection to be more efficient, given the “minutes” they would have to arrange something physical. In a surprise move she expedited a phone number where he could make contact in her Shadow World. A request to remain old-skool, and use text messaging. He did so.

Two more years passed.

He called her phone, but the number she had provided was now disconnected. No matter, for he somehow knew where she was to be discovered. And there he was, also upon the bridge that spanned their Worlds. He edged towards her, and she grinned at him in recognition. He asked, with genuine concern and hoping not to sound besotted, where had she been – drinking? Worse, came the reply. He stepped forward. Panic drenched her as he got too close, so he froze in time.

They drank each other in for two, additional years.

Now he plans to terminate this standoff, but he is confused. He knows not if he holds out his hand to pull her into his Artificial World – or whether he desires help to pull him onto her precipice.

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epistolary, life

Red Lights.

She knows he can not pay. Her door remains locked. A student with no cash, he is depositing the memory of her perfect curves within his wank-bank, so can splash out later. Yet she puts on a show.

She pulls at her nipples, teasing them hard. Running her hands over her firm breasts and down over her flat stomach. She gives a wiggle, then turns. He can see thin black material circling her waist then disappearing between the cheeks of her petite ass.

Why? Maybe she hopes that in a few years this boy will return to her, a man with disposable income and energy to burn. He will come back to this very window, remembering her as she is now – perfection. Not the Amsterdam relic she will soon become, ignored for not being young enough, or beautiful enough. With her wider hips, and softer breasts. Too old for this job at the age of twenty-eight.

Or perhaps she is performing this routine for the benefit of the man with the camera. He stands across the street, staring, as he has done for the last hour. He is too old to be acknowledged by someone as young and beautiful as she, not without payment. But how much will she cost? Two hundred Euros, and a lifetime of regret and shame.

She unlocks her door. He steps inside, pocketing his camera as she takes his hand.

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epistolary, fiction, life

230V 40W (Part 2)

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Part 1 can be found HERE and should be read first.


I didn’t believe her at first when she told me, but that was guilt suppressing her words. I knew, I think. I mean, it is fucking obvious when you play the record backwards; you can hear the sound of the devil emanating from the vinyl.

I looked up the old newspaper records at the library. Vast numbers of microfiche, slipped under a light, seeking out the confirming article. It took time, but I found it. A tiny box, hidden away at the bottom of page eight.

“In [withheld] Court, yesterday, Charles Hamilton Grant, was sentenced to prison for eight years on the charge of Paedophilia. His child abuse history had gone back five years, starting when his wife died. His known victims numbered six during this period. Families of the abused shouted as the Judge read the sentencing.”

Six. Six that came forward, anyway. My Sister was a seventh. She pleaded with me not to tell my parents, or anyone. I could see the shame etched on her face. I only felt anger. Once again, I didn’t understand her emotion.

It was easy to track him down. A run down flat on an estate, built on the edge of the spreading town. The door gave easy enough, cheap wood splintering as the sturdy lock remained intact. I stepped inside and the smell of cheap aftershave took me back through the years.

He had grown old, and frail. The eight years inside had not been kind to the man. He didn’t recognise me at first. When I told him my name, his eyes widened, then a strange calm fell across him. He was compliant when I asked him to sit down. I took the bulb from my bag and held it out to him. He frowned as he did my bidding, reading aloud the etching upon the bulb. All throughout, he was calm, accepting. Right up to the point when I forced the bulb into the socket of his eye.

 

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