Snapshot 6

And we sat, with the machines beeping and the rain falling against reenforced glass.
You always liked stories. We would spend our pillow talk on make-believe, not wishing to analyse the events of the day, only wanting to share our duvet cocoon with peace and love.
So as the weather outside reflected my mood, I told you a story. One last story.
About a man who was rescued, although he didn’t realise he needed rescuing. About a man who was blessed, although he was not religious. About a man who was rewarded for years of bad luck, with a lifetime of good luck in one perfectly formed package.

As I watched your eyes, unmoving behind closed eye lids, I wondered what you were thinking. What you were seeing, with your minds eye. Did my words get through? Did they reach you?
I wanted you to hear me, I wanted my words to form a bubble, a perfect little world in which my story lived.

To me, that’s what stories are – worlds enclosed in a membrane that, at the merest touch, will pop and free the story from within.

I don’t want my last image of you to be of you there, in that bed, body broken and sick. I want my last image of you to be this:
You, stood with your arms wide, head thrown back, laughing at the hundreds of bubbles that float around you, conjured with my stories. Reflecting the last of a dying sun on their glistening surface, dancing and moving with your breath. And with each touch of your finger, a bubble bursts, and gifts to you a story that I have made. That’s how I want to remember you.

Snapshot 5

Night driving again.
Headlights of approaching cars growing out of the dark like an onrushing double sun, disappearing behind and leaving an after image in the eye, the red glow of rear lights in the rear view mirror. Left alone once more, within the metal bubble of warmth, road noise, and isolation.

Journeys always seem to both take longer, and pass quicker. Why?
Is it the lack of perceivable landmarks, no road signs or passing white lines to reenforce the forward motion? Or is the way travelling at night messes with the circadian rhythm, confusing the mind and body with a combination of sleeping dark, and adrenaline inducing speed?

Driving past fields, imagining the peace of a moonlit walk, journeying to a destination in the same way as our ancestors, centuries before.
Catching sight of a lay-by as it whizzes past, the oft-thought of sentence that ghosts into the mind – “Imagine being stuck there now…”.

Familiar roads, and junctions, look different at night. When the roads are this quiet, some junctions look like the scene of an accident, where all the bodies have been removed, but the forensic lighting is still there, scanning for spilled blood, skid marks. Or they are like a dressed stage, set for actors to play their way across, before an audience that isn’t there.

Stiff neck. Tired eyes. Counting down the miles as they tick off the odometer, getting ever closer to home. No cars in the rear view mirror means a black, empty space behind, as though the road and all the world has been gathered in by the car’s rear wheels.

Finally coming upon the exit junction, leaving the main artery and filtering off into a smaller, less important one, like an air bubble in a bloodstream.

Smaller roads, slower roads. The mad, head-long rush slowing to a more gentle cruise through sleeping streets, to home.

Wild Within Me

I once took pleasure in the flesh,
Debased God given form,
Not caring what or who I used,
Railed hard against the norm.
Kith and kin despaired aloud,
Showing me their pity,
But I’d respond with knowing grin,
Blame the wild within me.

Through night and shadows I did play,
In dens of lust and sin,
Not often did I see the dawn,
To watch the day begin.
I craved the all enclosing dark,
To let my pleasures free,
Not wanting and not needing to,
Tame the wild within me.

In ev’ry life there comes a change,
A time to close some doors,
No longer running with the dark,
Decadent never more.
So though it comes at such a cost,
With dreams of what might be,
The time has come to to turn away,
Bury the wild within me.

Snapshot 3

Fishlake National Forest, just outside Utah, is where we buried it.

Wrapped in a blanket, which we took from the cupboard in the hall, where all the bedding and towels are kept.

When we made the decision, there was no going back. And to paraphrase Macbeth, “If it were done, then ’twere well it were done quickly”. Hesitation during any of what followed would have proved disastrous to our resolve.

We saw a different side of each other that day – you proved far more ruthless in deed and thought than I had seen before, and I like to think you saw a softer side to me.

As the forest closed in around us, the mood in the car darkened along with the shadows that surrounded us. We knew we were approaching the spot we had picked out using Google maps satellite view. Quiet, secluded, and off the seldom travelled road. We didn’t speak. You knew the way, so I was left to sit and look out of the window, watching the dark greens and browns flow by.

The dark, black peat gave way under the blade of the shovel. You sat on an old stump and smoked, your first cigarette for two years, while I dug down. All about us was the noise of the forest – falling branches, rustling creatures, and the deep age old sound of trees growing. The steady thump and scatter of the excavated peat hitting the floor.

“That’s enough”, you said. I looked at the hole I had created and agreed, it was deep enough. Or maybe it would never be deep enough to hide what we had done, and you were just cold and ready to be done with this. I returned to the car to fetch our burden, and lifting it from the back seat I carried it back into the small clearing we had found.
You stood, and gently placed one hand on top of the wrapped bundle. Our eyes locked for a second, and in that heartbeat of time we knew this was a secret that would keep us entwined forever.
I lowered it down into the ground. And while you went back and sat in the car, I filled in the hole.
It filled in quicker than it emptied.