Nobody ever reads them
They go untouched, unheard
Adding to the static fur
A myriad of words.
Do you ever have a narrative so momentarily complete that you strive for a full stop rather than a question mark?
A single, determined dot. Like you want to maintain that last touch on your fingertips – you want it to not be superseded, not to be evaluated against any other expression. Sometimes I like that, a continuous scrawl which I know is bound for some inevitable end. So many times I have sat and scrawled on the single sheet, convulsed in the momentary hilarity of line on paper, defining margins, moving backwards, forwards. There are those momentary thrills of compiling several lines into the space for one, through watching the ink seep its way through the pre-ruled guides. Sometimes I go over and over the page, building up biro marks like scar tissue.
But one day I will not be able to see the page anymore. Then I will have to turn over.
Though imagine, faced with a single piece of paper, an unending movement of pen in hand and yet the corner unturning, the page sticking, sticking, sticking, sticking, sticking, sticking, sticking -
I stood clutching the laptop against my chest. It was not the last thing I wanted to feel. It acquired the status of age in a cold thickness, angled against my body so one corner lodged just under my sternum. In my wind-chapped hands it looked almost like the pelt of some animal raised indoors, deprived of natural light. There was a lacquered, almost greasy sheen to it. The rain bubbled to inflated pools upon the surface.
A single strange question teased through my thoughts with that adult agony of an incomplete circle. I remember when I was a child and used to clutch at oversized wax crayons under the colour seeped into my kin, pressing nib to page and watching the diminishing object with fascination. I always felt, noticed, the declining size of the crayon, the thick residue on my fingers, rather than the lines themselves. I would draw hooks, and hatches of lines, points of momentary freedom my parents would join up to create what they called ‘a nice circle.’ I screamed and screamed.
Yet I had spoken to someone who would have been called a ‘friend’. Strange, how people gain voluntary titles like that. perhaps the old woman who remarked to me that morning that ‘the awful cold wind does nothing for the knees’ was a ‘friend’ too. Only I didn’t know. Neither did I know how to answer the question which crawled into my ear.
“When are you next free?”
I wondered when I was free. Does ‘free’ constitute the occasion when you stop the act commonly prescribed as work and instead indulge in the percussion of laughter for a while? Is ‘free’ not this but when you go to a place called ‘home’ where you are supposed to occupy a sensation called ‘belonging’, or at least some half-decent mime? Is it the time when you lie at night on the designated plinth where you feel the cold, itching sweat of sleep crawl over? Is it..
I wasn’t sure if the voice had started asking another question, but I had stopped it. A voice terminated with the single press of a finger, a pressure not even tender on the windpipe.
I liked the strange burgundy shine of my old shoes. Perhaps it was because they were suspended over running water, the foliage of faraway trees. Half on stone, and half over these vague imitations. It was an array of colours over these shoes would not be expected to be seen, it gave me a thrill. A thrill thick to the pit of my stomach as I watched the reflections splatter uneasily over the unpolished leather.
I stood, heel on ground, toes in-air, on the edge of the viaduct.
I am not sure who else did, who had. I wondered if any ‘friends’ behinds the words stood there. Those instances too, the lines of ‘talk to you later’ or ‘see you soon’, all pretty little imitations. For this no meaning on line, that is what I had thought as a child; the child who scarred the page and seeped through margins, even perforating the paper before the chance of turning over. They called me ‘wild’.
They probably still do.
I watched the laptop fall.
It was strange how the trees bent so easily below.