Saturday, 14 September 2013

Every Now and Then - by Eden

Light filters unevenly through the curtains and, hidden beneath blanket, my breath rests heavy in my ears. Although the batteries ran out long ago I can faintly hear the clock you gave me ticking. Cold sweat sticks my pyjama shirt to my lower back. I think I feel your hands run through my hair. I try to shut it out with tightly closed eyes, but being left alone with my beating heart feels too vast and empty. I climb out of bed and slip my feet through the carpet. It’s an old habit, soothing. But at the edge of hearing, there it is. My eyes flick to and fro. There it is. Atop the dresser in the left corner the edge of it peeks back at me from beneath a scarf. I teeter forward before I know it and stroke the clock’s glossy surface. Hurriedly, to confirm the truth of it, I flick away the scarf. Those needles are moving; that hard, metallic sheen of theirs gleams and my room darkens a shade. It’s definitely ticking. I want to reach out and still them, but they move swiftly with that sharp ever-present tick tick tick. If I touch it my fingers will be cut.

I am in a second-hand store with you, bilge-water around our feet. Brine permeates throughout and you hold your hand over your face to cover your nose. You never were fond of the ocean.

“Hey, why did we come to this run-down place anyway?”

Your pouting face makes laughter swell up in me.

“We’re creating! Aren't you an artist? Surely there’s some material here. And it’s not like anyone will be coming back for it now.”

You look concerned for a moment, but something distracts you.

“Can you hear that?”

“What? What is it?”

Rather than reply, you make your way, slop-slopping with soggy shoes, over to a high cupboard. It was in there that you found this clock. That day I was wearing a star-shaped brooch.

The first night we met – not the first meeting itself, but the time we really met, words colliding like leaves in autumn being swept into each other, small tornadoes on the street – every time your hand brushed my arm I was every nerve on fire I was a heart I was a concept, ephemeral, everywhere at once and in your heart most importantly. You were wearing the brooch. In a moment of brashness I took it from you, warm hands fumbling against your woolen sweater. You smiled, gently guided, and attached it to the lapel of my coat. I couldn't let go of your hands, somehow, and there was a wildness in the air and in my head and you looked so calm that I felt I was a splintering fracture in ice, suddenly a million shards scattering, being lost and found over and over.

I am wild, and being lost and found over and over forever in your gaze.

Light refracts off of the clock’s hands, and my throat feels dusty, somehow ticklish. I flip it over. These aren't the batteries I put in.

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