Love is like a butterfly

You are too big to miss for a day, too loud, too busy, too many words on the end of the phone. I couldn’t feel you in a day. But over many days?

Over many days, the full impact slowly rams me down to the ground and I’ve been left winded, ribs caved in, bruises blossoming on my chest like defiant lavender.

Over many days I replay summer afternoons, lost slippers. I remember the answer to the Sunday crossword, the one that had us chewing our pens and sharing a biscuit – 6 down: artichoke. I tell other people about that time you fell off your chair, and we laugh together. My face feels tight.

Over many days a small crystal tear forms in the back of my eye. It is like a shard of glass, nestled in deep, and I can’t seem to cry it out. I carry it with me like a hidden dagger, only sometimes it shows itself. In the silence, in the grey days, it pokes free and glints back at me in the mirror.

Today is one of those days. Today you have consumed the sky and blacked out the sun, filled the inverted blue cup with criss-crossed fairy lights and wispy lace scarves.

I know this won’t be the only day, I know you will spill out into a thousand others and knock me senseless again.

I know I will wake up and think of your curled fingers waving through the air, conducting a silent orchestra; I know I will seek out breakfast and find myself singing Dolly Parton with you as you make a cup of tea.

And I know, that as I go to hang up the phone, I will hear your voice on the other end calling out ‘Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.’

Word Play

 

There is a thick lipped rumble tearing from the clouds above, and I think that I was wrong.

I step outside and stand in the porch, arching my neck and breathing in the close air. Rain paints polkas on the pavement at my feet and I shrug my cardigan closer, wrapping it around me like a straight jacket. Your words and mine are tumbling through my mind at break neck speed, crashing into each other and veering off course until I don’t know who said what. Or why.

To my left I can hear the shouts and excitements of teenage boys, their taut voices springing over the garden wall. They are waiting for the strike, just like me. The strip of blinding light that then ignites the sky brings stark contrast to the world. It is disorientating, to see night in the light of day.

Now for the wind: this is like a well-known performance. The flutes and oboes of the sky let loose and tongue great bursts of violent air at my face. Clothes and hair whip around me and into my mouth; I feel it scratching on my tongue but make no effort to remove it.

I fumble at the door handle and hurry back inside as wind tears at my hair. I am a set of scales, with weighted words clunking from your mouth and on to my heart until I dip under the strain.

The door bangs into its frame with a plastic thump, and all sound dies. My chest heaves.

Three, Two, One.

No one ever wonders if the tick of a clock will tock. It is inevitable.

When a swing arcs high in the air, there is no doubt that it will whoosh back to the ground.

The foamy breath of sea on sand is known to return again and again and again. Lover’s kiss.

Put a pan on a flame and listen to the hiss of searing metal.

But who can love predictability?

Pick up the phone to bluster through a whirlwind of choice; a labyrinth of lies; a web of changing thought.

Slip on the dress that once he loved and now he hates. Guess the motive.

Inch your claws up his chest and touch your lips to his. Gauge the tautness in his limbs, the urgency of his return, and gamble on lust.

Every moment keeps your heart beating even as it breaks it.

Source: ignitumtoday.com

 

Drip

Drip. There it is – can you hear it? Drip. It’s a leak, there’s a leak in the pipes somewhere, god knows where. I can’t seem to find it. I can hear it though. Drip.

I saw Daniel today. It was the first time I’ve seen him in four months, one week, two days, and three hours. Roughly. He looked the same, exactly the same. His eyes were still brown, his lips still hooked into a smile. When he spoke to the guy at the coffee cart, his tongue was still thick with a lisp and he still wore that gold watch. On his right wrist though – that wasn’t the same.

He didn’t see me. There were a lot of people around; we were in a big crowd. I was third behind him in the queue. That’s the fifty-eighth time I’ve been third behind him in this queue. We used to joke about how we never noticed each other even though we were so close so many times. How could we have missed love when it was standing to our left ordering a cappuccino every morning? God knows.

Daniel was the first one to notice the drip. I woke up one morning to find him waist deep in cupboards, poking around under the sink. It was driving him mad, he said. So I put my hands over his ears and held him close.

It never used to bother me. I heard so much more when I was with him – the hiss of a kettle, the foot tread of neighbours, the thump of his pulse. And now he’s gone.

Drip. I wish this would be gone. Drip. It’s a leak, there’s a leak in the pipes somewhere, I think Daniel knows where. I can’t seem to find it. I can hear it though. Drip.

Source: Frank Baron, http://www.theguardian.com

To the Captain, From Flubber

The world has been mourning a great man these past few days. Great in the characters he played, in the energy he brought to the stage and screen, in the dedication he showed to each new role.

He did not die the death he deserved.

* * *

He deserved to go out in firework spectacular of multi-coloured fizzes and bangs. He deserved dancers and silk scarves waving in the air, and a party that shook the ground with the stomping of excited feet.

Every Disney character from Aladdin should have risen from the ink and flown around his head on magic carpets, or swung from the sky in an ape-like frenzy, singing to the Heavens.

As he moved through the crowds of people reaching out for his hand and holding him close, he should have had boys saluting to their captain, Matt Damon nodding his head in appreciation as he grasps chalk in front of a blackboard, and fat suits stacked high against the walls in the garb of Mrs Doubtfire.

Closer to the end now, and more movement than before as the party swells behind him. He is in a museum and instead of ancient tribal figures and cowboys on horses, there is an array of fans and awards. Roses fall from the ceiling, thanking him for the encore. Spotlights swirl around the room and catch the glistening tears of thanks on his cheeks. He bows to the crowd, waves a goodbye, and hurls a blob of green into the audience, which immediately begins zipping between walls and bouncing off of precarious hats on heads.

He passes with the sound of cheers ringing in his ears, the sound of laughter from children across the globe, and the touch of his daughters’ hand squeezing his goodbye.

That is the death a great man deserves.

Genie, you’re free.

* * *

Whatever mistakes he made, whatever demons he struggled with, he deserved to feel the same joy he gave to so many. No one deserves to die alone with heaviness in their heart and with hopelessness as all they know.

If you ever find yourself struggling, know there are people to turn to. Contact www.supportline.org.uk for someone to talk to. Don’t ever suffer alone.

Stumble Upon Magic

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We all have a place where we find magic. It might not always be in a place that makes sense, it may creep up on you, it may only reveal itself to you in its absence – but we’ve all found it.

I’ve found magic on my travels this summer. In the people I have fallen in love with, the places I have discovered, and the challenges I have overcome, something everlasting and pure and fizzy has bubbled under the surface of the everyday. I felt it in the air last night: in the brightness of fairy lights as they hung from trees, and in the furry skins of stuffed toy animals. I piled my bags into the taxi on my way to finding home, and I met a man who held a very different kind of magic.

The driver had a thick tongue that caught on the roof of his mouth as he spoke, and a lawn of midnight black hair wrapped around his lower skull. He gripped the steering wheel with an attentive hold, and would anxiously glance back to make sure I was comfortable, pointing out bottles of water and offering me gum.

Soon he began telling me stories about his past as a musician, his qualifications from Trinity College in England, his passion for the drums.

‘But I don’t play for the world anymore. I play for Jesus. I play for him.’

I am not a religious person. I don’t know if my faith would have a label, but if it did, it wouldn’t be Christian. I wouldn’t name a being called Jesus. I wouldn’t clasp my hands over rosary beads and mutter to the heavens.

But I am in awe of the faith that resides in those that do all of those things.

I asked this man why he stopped playing for the world, asked him why the world doesn’t deserve his music any more.

‘Ten years ago, my life did a 180. I was a bad man, doing bad things. I drank too much alcohol, and I smoked – oh I smoked 80 cigarettes a day. Soon, everyone hated me. My wife, my children… they only stayed because I had money.

Then one day, during a rehearsal, I fell down with a heart-attack. For two days I lay in a coma, and while I was unconscious I had a vision. It was Jesus. He came to me and said ‘I want you. Come to me.’ When I woke up, I told my doctors and my family. My wife was always religious and she cried on my face. They ran tests and found no nicotine in my blood, no alcohol. I don’t care what scientists call it, I call that a miracle. Jesus brought me back and gave me new blood.

‘Every day since, I play in the Church. I serve. I don’t play for the world any more, but I do serve it. I make sure people like you get home safe at night, and I play them my music, and I tell them about God.’

So it was at midnight last night that I found a new blossom of magic on the freeway to home. I saw this man and I felt that buzzing feeling when he spoke. Something extraordinary was thrumming behind his words; that something that I had felt earlier in the lights hanging in the air. Like me, that man knew magic existed.

And like me, he was going to hang on to it as hard as he could. 

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Just for a second

The cat is back. But this time he has hundreds of companions, all padding softly by his side. Ginger and white and brown and black, their fur slides against each other and their pin prick paws tap the floorboards. I can feel the army march as I lie flat on the wooden ground. I twist my head to see him.

There he is, eyes of electric green and angled like almonds: to him, I smile.

But you cannot play favourites. The others see and move towards me. I feel the pressure pads as one after another clambers, claw footed, onto my legs and stomach. One, folds of fat wrapped around his gut like rubber rings, thrums with a guttural purr as he settles over my womb and then opens his tiny jaw to yowl. Again. Again.

Quiet.

I reach out to them and at first they respond. Triangle noses bash against my fingers and rough tongues flick at my skin. I knot my hands into their fur and stroke them, welcoming them.

Green Eyes is stalking up my body. The sea of felines part to let him pass, their heads bowing, but a shiver decends on the room when he touches his nose to mine. Their eyes shrink to slits, and a sound like a burst pipe issues from them. I gasp as I feel their claws elongate, curling under their paws and piercing through my clothes to my skin. The sharp pain as the needle nails draw blood is somehow familiar and dreadful.

In panic, I look for Green Eyes, but he has disappeared. He has left his family on me, scratching at the muscular swell of my legs, the soft pillow of stomach, the arches of my breasts, the bones of my shoulder, all the way down my arms to my knuckles. I scream after him but I get no other response than a mimicking screech from the feline army enveloping me, mocking me. The pain now is sharp and constant, like the slow, drawn out sketch of a tattoo. Tears start rolling down my cheeks: I try to breathe, but the inhalation pushes my chest and stomach out so their claws reach deeper. I cannot move, cannot push them away, they will not listen. More are coming.

As tails flick in my face and choke me with fur, as blood blossoms from unseen holes and I leak from my skin, I close my eyes.

And for a second – just for a second – I stop breathing.

Ribbon City

Along the side of the freeway is a strip of land, wedged in between racing cars and suburban yards. It is marked along its borders by chain link fences that ripple when they’re touched, the dull metallic scales undulating like the lazy swim of a fish.

It is its own city with rules and family. Tents are pitched, sheets of plastic tied around trees and stretched out to the pins in the dusty ground. Towels, grubby clothes, an umbrella, are piled on top of the makeshift roof, shrivelling in the sun.

The cool blast of air-con is whipping strands of hair back from my face as I zoom past and see an exhausted man in this ribbon city, bending over a small girl. He is topless, the folds of his stomach overlapping the waistband of his jeans and his pale skin gleaming in the harsh sunlight. He is holding a bottle in his hand; squirts white cream into his palm; rubs it onto the child’s nose. Before they disappear I see a grin hoist up the weight of the young child’s face.

A few meters along is a gathering of women, sitting around a small stove fire. They are perched on floral loungers, the rusted legs digging into the dirt. Limp cigarettes hang from their mouths and the soles of their feet are grey. One of them waves and shouts something to a person out of sight.

Along the side of the freeway is a strip of land marked by chain link fences. There is family and love and story telling here. There is dirt and poverty and blistered skin from the sun.

There is a whole ribbon city, in the shadow of the free way to home.

Black Cat

You are my feline, whispering stealthily from ear – to head – to heart. Promises you can / cannot keep, wishes you grant / cannot grant; I hear the purrs and grasp your neck between my fingers.

Be mine.

You are still. Frozen; you know I have caught you but instead of bending to my will you pretend you are not there. You embody, you become the oxymoron. Fluffy feline and foxy predator. If I hold my breath for long enough you will think I am no longer there. And oh, so wrong you will be.

Longing does not exist with lust. Longing is the aftermath of lust, tinted with ‘what ifs‘ and ‘should I’s‘ and ‘maybe’s‘. I long for you. With every breath I wish you closer.

And with every breath I wish you gone.

Walking home in the dead of night, you visit me. Sleek black coat, claws that click on pavements, sharp eyes that glint. A tail swishes from left to right in the afterglow of an orange street lamp.

Still here.

Waiting.

Embracing.

Reading Romance

To me, words are the most romantic thing in this world. They lay bare the secrets of the heart and joys of the soul, and birth them for the ears and eyes of anyone who would care to be a part of them. You are a part of these words, right now. You are a part of my romance.

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Miles away in Cyprus is a sleek blue card. Early this morning, it was opened by the man I love, who would have read my soul and smiled. I told him of love and happiness and the future; I painted with ink a canvas bursting with love and gave it to him for his travels. In it I wrote, Happy third year anniversary. 

In those words, I see the whole story of our love. 

I see the beginning, sitting on a boat in the setting sun as planes fly through fog overhead and light up clouds with flashes of green and purple. 

I see the family dinners, with his Grandpa winking at me as he slipped me an extra slice of cake and cousins grinning uncomfortably in the corner. 

I see holidays to bustling cities and blistering beaches.

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I see baklava atop a cliff. 

I see learning and essays and successes at university. 

I see our flat, with the purple fluffy rug you hate, and all the wisps of it that has now been tread into our carpet so it looks like a mottled sea.

I see movies and jigsaws and bottles of wine and boardgames. 

I see night time dancing in an abandoned shopping mall, laughter echoing in the silence as we slip over tiles and spin around escalators.

I see a blurred smile on a computer screen, miming out the words I love you.

On that thin slip of shiny card there lay exposed all that has been, all that is and all that will be, through the eyes of the woman who has loved him. Histories and stories and promises. On the one day of the year I long more than ever to be with him, there is no way that I possibly could be. So I gave him the next best thing.

My words.

My romance.

My thank you, for my Happy Ever After.

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