LOST

I haven’t participated in the Sunday Scribblings writing prompt before but I really liked the prompt this week so thought I’d give it a go.

The prompt this week is LOST –

{This story is dedicated to my friend, Gina, who after 20 years of marriage is getting divorced. She goes walking at night to keep anxiety at bay…..}

I was thinking as I walked the dirty city streets I have walked a thousand times before, looking for lights in windows, people walking arm in arm; listening for the sound of a gentle voice, that this is how I pray. Looking for signs, beacons outside myself to lower the fever in my head. Looking for God in the buildings that loom like nightmares, dark enough to be covered in moss; so dark I am frightened to touch them in case my hand sticks.

I am praying in the moon’s light. I am aching in the moon’s light. I am crying in the moon’s light.

I never really loved you, he said. Words with such power. The only thing that comes after them is silence. Then a grief that rips like talons.

I didn’t see it coming, this treachery disguised as disinterest. I really must live in the fantasy world he has accused me of inhabiting because I thought things were fine between us.

A. OK, that’s what Joey at work says. Everything is A. OK.

Drives me crazy with its hint of  1950s small town vernacular, but in this case I thought that was the state of things – A.OK.

There is a light rain, feathery. Oil stains on the road refract with the streetlights to form quasars, the colours spin and split into pieces that bounce like celestial rubber balls on the footpath. Pieces of light. Pieces of me.

I pass a church, just like in California Dreaming, except all the leaves aren’t brown, it is the middle of summer – they are green as slices of lime fresh from the fridge. I try to enter but the doors are locked – great medieval bolted wooden doors like the entrance to a Keep.

Church closed till further notice, says a sign. The faithful have fled the streets full of nothing but hard edges, looking for love.

I don’t know where I am. This city I call home is crowding in on me. Falling in. It is atonal, sharp. How can I not know where I am? I have to stop and find my way but the thought of stopping is unbearable. I can’t be saved from the pain if I stop.

How can you hold someone in your arms for twenty years and then tell them you never really loved them? How can you diminish all that time to less than a second, brushing it off yourself the way a bug is flicked from a shirt?

I have no visible scars at forty years of age. I have not yet broken a bone. But in my mind, I am falling, twisting and tumbling down a flight of stairs with such force, such momentum, my flesh and bones are pulped and powdered, spread on the ground like a condiment only ghouls would eat.

How far do we fall when we fall? How long does it take?

So many questions fill my head, irrelevant, random. I can’t think about what no love means. Change two letters and love becomes life. I can’t think about what no life means. I still have lots of questions.

Does antimatter fall up or down? Will machines reinvent themselves and take over the world? Does free will make sense? Is there nothing to fear but fear itself? Is the pen really mightier than the sword? For God’s sake, who shot JFK?

Stupid, stupid questions. I am rambling. I am mad. I am bereft.

A door swings open. A man looks at me. A little boy holds a teddy bear. They have books spread all over the floor, bright pictures. They let a cat out. It runs, jumping over shadows, tail held high.

Traffic slices through the liquorice dark. A conveyor belt monster with sulphurous eyes. If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it does it fail to make a sound? If I stop walking will I cease to exist?

Smoked glass air falls on my upper lip. I look for the cat but he is gone. There is nothing in the street but unfamiliar forms of dust. And me. Just me. I am lost. I am alone.

A sky like Monet’s grey and black period leans. I have seen how they do it, the artists. Thick, dark horsehair brushes, daubed and swivelled. Daub upon daub upon daub until there is nothing but paint. No spaces. The canvas cannot breathe with all that paint. The city cannot breathe with all that sky. I cannot breathe unless I continue to walk. So I do. Until morning. Until the moon’s light is an afterimage. Until the sun slips pale and golden into the sky, like silk.

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14 thoughts on “LOST

  1. My heart goes out to your friend. What a terrible ordeal to be facing. I can’t imagine anyone saying: I don’t love you anymore (I never have heard those hurtful words).

    You have paid tribute to her situation (one that so many people can relate to) so beautifully Sel.

    The world is a better place because of you. Did you know that? Such a caring and kind person you are. 🙂

    Hugs, G

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  2. I’m sure your friend will draw some solace from seeing how well you understand her pain and how well you paint it with this beautiful piece.So many beautiful images. Grief like talons. liquorice sky, feathery rain… beautiful!

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  3. GERALDINE:
    You are very kind to say so, G. I guess I feel her pain because it could be mine – or anyone’s, for that matter. The things we do to one another, eh?

    VANESSA:
    How nice of you to stop by. I really appreciate your very kind comment. Thank you.

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  4. I used to walk too – it was the only way. somehow the thoughts make you less dizzy if you are walking. I walked every night for months – often very late at night. And it did help.

    I was on the other side of the fency I suppose. I didn’t tell anyone I had never loved them but I did have to say that I no longer loved them and in all probability never would again – that I needed to move on, that nothing would keep me there. It is as hard to be in that position as in the abandoned one, it’s just as confusing and it is always horrible to know you are hurting someone else as well as yourself – the responsibility is immense and the worry as to what they might do. But everyone makes mistakes and no-one should pay for them forever, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind and walk away and be truthful. I am glad I did it but not glad that it caused so much hurt at the time.

    I hope your friend, Gina (feels odd to say that!) does find peace and understanding. I’m sure she will – time is an amazing comodity.

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  5. My heart truly goes out to your friend. I cannot even begin to comprehend the pain she must be in.

    Yet, once again your writing has taken a hold of me, I could SEE everything you so eloquently described.

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  6. To say something like that at the end of a relationship is absolutely the cruelest blow. It negates anything good that ever was shared, such a selfish thing to do. It is hard enough to make sense of a failed marriage when you did see the handwriting on the wall. My heart goes out to your friend and I hope she discovers as I have that there are far more wonderful things – and people – just waiting for her to begin her new life! You did an amazing job of painting this picture with words Selma, an outstanding piece of writing!

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  7. ANTHONY:
    You know me, Anthony, I come in and out of the light. I agree, they do have to pass though. Thanks for the kind words!

    RELUCTANT:
    It’s hard on either side, as you say. No one likes to cause another person hurt. 20 years is a long time and it can’t be dismissed. I feel for you having to go through that. It’s never easy to end something even if it isn’t working anymore. I’m glad you have found your peace.

    MELEAH:
    It’s a tough time. As you know, it can really throw you when someone turns out to be a different person to who you thought they were. Thanks for the kind words!

    JOSIE:
    Some people can’t help but be cruel, I suppose, but it does make everything so much worse. Thanks for the lovely feedback!

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  8. Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

    I have really bad acne. Oh, for the love of God, help me. I have pustules. I am ugly. Very ugly. I can’t get a date.

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  9. The piece is so painful it’s hard to breathe, and then you get to the last paragraph and ta-da! Exactly what she’s feeling too. Exquisite!

    I’m so slow in catching up…. my life right now is a blur of ink on the calendar. Sigh – maybe this too shall pass?

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  10. Selma, what I’d give to be able to express my inner-most feelings with the sensitivity you have at your command. And, what a wonderful, personal friend you must be to those fortunate enough to share that friendship. The words…’How can you love someone for twenty years and then…
    Twenty years. I sometimes wonder: how large would be the sea if composed of the tears I shed during the years following my particular “twenty years”?

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  11. Weeeeeeeel, it’s 5:30 A.M., EST, in the US–here in Georgia, and I’m awake, up reading your posts, Selma…
    It’s perfection to read your short story(or in this case, creative NON-fiction) pieces, late at night/middle-of-night/early a.m., because it’s when we are STILL. My mind is more still, my heart, quieter, so as to make the listening, the HEARING of your words, and your dear friend’s pain–a bit easier.
    Loved the “like talons.” the “feathery rain”. I’ve noticed for over a year now, your metaphors often hearken to nature, and especially, birds and fishes. And images of water….It’s truly lovely, seeing images from nature “reflected” in new ways.

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  12. CHASTITY:
    Many thanks.

    RICHARD:
    I have. It made her cry, but she did say it helped that someone else understood. It was the least I could do.

    TEXASBLU:
    My life is a whirlwind too. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s just go go go. Hopefully, things will settle down soon!

    MARY:
    Such an incredibly moving image you paint there of the sea full of tears. I am absolutely thrilled you liked this. I know it’s not the happiest subject in the world but sometimes these things need to be said. Thank you for your lovely comment!

    LISA:
    It’s true. I do use quite a lot of natural metaphors. I guess it stems from my love of the Romantic poets. I grew up reading Keats, Wordsworth and Shelley (and many more). I loved the richness of their imagery. Made me really see what they were talking about. It means a lot to me that you should say that!

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