‘let’s just drive until we find somewhere there are more headstones in the cemetery than houses in the town, and never leave.’
Sierra de Madrid, one icy morning late November, 2012.
I was sleeping in the backseat, curled up in all her woollen clothes when she woke me. I was stiff and shivery and feverish, and she showed me this tree. My fingers were so white and waxy I could hardly twist the lens to focus.
late December 2012: a short description of my five day home in Otago Lane.
I woke up in Glasgow this morning, curled up on the couch by the fireplace, in this pretty little flat above a bookshop where the books are piled in overgrown stacks from wall to wall and the owner doesn’t seem like he wants to sell anything. Next to the bookshop is a recordshop, and next to the recordshop is a chai tea house, and the three of them make up the tiniest cobblestone lane that sits right on the riverbank and from the window by the fire I can see the sagged and leafless trees hanging into the river, and the rows of old brick houses, matching, and ancient, lined up on the other side, like dusty tin soldiers, idle from a war long since past.
Madrid, early September, 2012: three separate, although not entirely unrelated thoughts.
I can hear the music playing from the room next door, floating out his open window and floating in through mine. Every couple of days I hear a ambulance pounding past and the siren floats in my window too; I must live near a fire station and Madrid’s a big, hot city.
The sun doesn’t set until nearly nine o’clock here, which usually means I forget to eat dinner until the supermarkets are closed, but that seems to be how everyone does it here.
Every market I get lost in has the perfect gift I’ll never buy him, and I honestly don’t know what that means.
i don’t know what to tell you
other than the fact that a giraffe’s
heart weighs 22 pounds and that
somebody once told me when
flies fall in love, their entire brain
is rewired to only know loving each
other. when one of them dies, their
memory becomes blank. i hope you
never think about anything as much
as i think about waking up next to
you during a windstorm at 5 am.
that afternoon we found mushrooms in the grass outside your house
October 4th, 2010.
My mind couldn’t connect with my mouth for long enough for me to express any coherency. I was shivering with anxiety, malnutrition and exhaustion, too high to sleep and too strung out to keep moving. I’d reached breaking point, and I was broken.
You came from outside, and you brought the sun in with you.
Your mirror glasses were shining with two wobbly reflections of my face, warped, spotted, and when you turned, I saw the tiny tattoo behind your ear, and I knew it was a code, some kind of ancient runic language I felt at the tip of translating.
You took my hand, led me into someone’s bedroom, quiet, warmer, away from the bizarre and detached villains.
We were on our backs gazing upward, and everything outside of the room didn’t matter, and you put on Washed Out and my heart drifted and the mosaic on the ceiling shuffled and shimmered above me and you spoke slowly, softly, and I wasn’t scared anymore.
And as we sat on your lace bedsheets with the cold world behind the frosty windows, and those behind the curtains, a safe distance away, you told me it didn’t have to get better, and I didn’t have to stop being sad.
‘There are only a few times when you can really, truly be deeply sad, sad right into your bones, and I think it’s the best thing to feel it, to embrace it, to never try and hold it back,’ you said to me, and I believed you, and I let the depression be my own beautifully sad choice. My own prism of control.
The fog sat on the city like a soft downy coat and I rode faster and I rode faster and I curled my waxy white fingers into themselves and steered my handlebars with the balls of my palms, and I thought about coldness, and I thought about how lonely I’d been, and how happy I am, and how I wished I’d brought a camera.