Sunday, 15 December 2013

It's not

I say, It isn't supposed to be this hard, you know, and he snorts, he scoffs, he says, I have seen a mushroom push through asphalt and I know the ways the world conspires. He says, Sometimes you need to work at things, child, don't you even understand? He says, It's all very well for you. His words pat me on the head and I am a foolish girl with feathers for knickers and a coterie of mina birds chirping in my hair. I am not a part of the real world or the here world or the this world. Yet.

In the real world it is supposed to be this hard, he says. In the real world, love is a large house with many rooms that are slowly decaying, eternally filling with dust and trinkets and calcified noodles, and if you want to live in the house of love you have to spend some days caretaking. You have to sweep and tidy, you have to say no to that invitation to the bang bang party, you have to do the attic this weekend. Love is about more than helter skelters, he says. Who wants to live in a pit of filth?

I keep my mouth shut because I am thinking and because the surfaces of my own house are smattered with motes. My finances are slowly decaying. Sometimes, my body in the real world feels like a hessian sack of rice that has been nibbled by rodents and is spilling an endless trail. I am forever darning and unravelling all at once. I know of this real world and its incessant demands, its arm-tugging neediness. I have watched it grasp and grasp like a toddler. I have resented it everything.

I keep my mouth shut because what do I know? I live alone. These days, my heart is full of rooms and raucous guests, but the visitors bring their own polish and belts and feather dusters. They bring champagne and bubble bath. They clean up after themselves. These days, love is not a thing to maintain. I ride my lust over cobblestones in the small hours of the day and the neon bulbs of the city wink and conspire and my chain does not grow loose even though, by all accounts, it should.

I do not know how to explain this thing to him, the thing that is alone and alive, bristling with fireflies. I want to ask him, what is wrong with helter skelters? Since when did you ever give up on the fair? I want to take his tired skull between my palms and whisper all of the ways it is possible to bunk off on work when the work is your heart and the alternative is a field of jubilant daisies, giggling and trading favours in the sun.

He tries so hard and sometimes when you are trying so hard it is impossible to take stock of the situation and lift your hands from the stone. Sometimes the uphill swells so large before you that the universe isn’t stars and wisps and galaxies; the universe is the thing before your eyes: grass. Rocks. Hill. Sometimes the push push is addictive, the gnaw in your muscles, the rodent teeth, the strain. Sometimes you are a good man for keeping going and that is enough.

I say, It isn’t supposed to be this hard but my voice is quiet because I am thinking of a time when it was this hard, when I was straining with every fibre of my hessian sack to hold everything together. I am remembering my own hill I chose to die on and I think myself lucky, even though such an idea is bizarre. I am lucky that the flash floods and monsoon cracked down and turned my upwards path to mudslide; I am lucky that the towns were ravaged; I am lucky the universe became too broke to fix. I think if it had been different I would still be weaving things together. I would be darning the future of my fate.

When I say, It isn’t supposed to be this hard, I am not really talking to him. Or, I am, but I am already resigned to the fact his ears are stopped with amber beads of resin. Mainly, I am talking to myself. I am making a note in the spiral bound book to remember if anything ever gathers around me this way again. Do not push, do not strive, believe in fireflies and helter skelters. Keep galloping through the city on your heart’s pony. It isn’t supposed to be hard at all. It’s supposed to feel as if, all at once, all of the catherine wheels are starting to spin.

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