I braided a basket of my fingers, in case I was required to catch you if you fell from any sort of height or perhaps needed a boost to reach a shelf or a step on a ladder I could hold once I’d unwoven these hands to grip the rungs better if you eventually decide to climb.
Was I a plaster you slapped on to cover the burns left by your family? Something temporary, to hide the harm. Was he water? More than you’d seen all in one place and so inviting you were willing to drown. Did you lose me on purpose? Or did the currents just pull us apart? Either way, did you notice that I was gone?
I looked up what ivy was supposed to represent, after we called the man with the poison to clear the wooden fence panel right to the root. This creeping plant, that works its way between the cracks, and closes its fist so slowly, so quietly, that you cannot see the brickwork break, it’s supposed to represent friendship. I thought about you then, how I’d failed to see how deep you’d planted yourself until the moment that you cracked me clean in half. Like ivy, you keep coming back no matter the cold or the drought, there is no prying those tendrils loose, no poison that will make this shadow of you wither. I must live with the damage you have caused. I must somehow learn how not to crumble.
I’ve been carrying your shade around and I think I need to apologise. I’ve been keeping you closer these days, tucked between my umbrella and the notepads, near the bottom of my handbag like a half empty pack of tissues. From time to time I dig you out, just to turn over our last conversation, re-read the second hand messages, remind myself that you’re gone. I still don’t feel like you’re gone. I wonder when I will? I’m a little late to the party for Tuesday Poetics, yesterday turned into something of a manic day with an emergency shoe shopping trip after work, but more about that at the weekend. The prompt this Tuesday was the word ‘shade’. You can take it anyway you like but the word shade had to appear in the prompt.
Some days it’s like you’ve only just slipped through my fingers. I’m still grasping for the tail-end of a thread, trying to haul you back up, back to me and everyone you left. I feel guilty for the hollowness in my chest, as if I don’t deserve to miss you this much. I don’t believe I deserve to miss you this much because I should have realised the acres of spaces you occupied inside my head and heart before the phone call rang in from your mother and every worst fear was came crashing in like thunder. For John
You were a one person locus swarm. Everything about me was razed in seconds. Those carefully constructed pillars I balanced my self esteem atop became rubble, and I watched you perch atop it, smile wide and teeth white, telling me it was better this way. It wouldn’t do to get above my station. Daily Post Prompt: Swarm
Thunder always precedes the storm. Like you, wild and roaring, an opening show with the rest of you hiding beyond the horizon where the clouds were darker packed and swirling lightening flaring in the rips that couldn’t be sewn together. Gone in a flash. I haven’t been writing very much for this blog over the last few weeks so thank you to those readers who keep coming back. Every time I sit down at the moment to write, I end up thinking of John and he ends up in my writing which is why I’ve been so absent. I was going to dedicate a post about mental health to him today since it’s World Mental Health Day but in the end I couldn’t face writing it. Part of the problem with sitting down to write and him being the only thing I want to write about, is that it makes me want to curl up and ignore everything. It makes the world seem unreal and unbalanced. John was diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder a while back …
If we were having coffee I’d tell you about the fish we bought last week and how they’ve worked out the opening of the tank lid means food and if you stick your finger in they try to nibble at it. I’d tell you how Sean named one of them and I can’t remember what he called it, only that it was after a Bleach character and the names goes out of my mind two minutes after each time he tells me again. If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I’d missed you and that despite being older, coffee still doesn’t taste good to me so I’m going to put a brew on and would you prefer a refill or tea? I’d offer you every flavour from every box still unopened in the kitchen cupboard that Sean refers to as my addiction and you’ll probably chose something more adventurous than most. You’ll talk to me about protests and sit in, plans for your dissertation and how much your son has grown and done since …
Bring them back out, all those memories gathered in darkened gaps. Those ones we brush past when hunting for knowledge or plucking out art, only to find again in another’s idle word.
They all commented on your bravery. Waking up each morning and facing down the creeping thing inside you, poisoning yourself to buy a few more weeks. Sitting in the car park I thought about you sitting up in the hospital room with one eye always on the door. I thought about the way your lips waver when the doctors talk to you about preparing yourself for the eventuality. I wondered if when it came down to the end, would I have any strength left to lend…