Lift

The quest for happiness is a curious thing. Now I have finally found it, I seem to be intent on trying to push it away. The demons that I have been carrying around for so long are giving one last snarl. Fears are surfacing. Paranoia tries to overcome me once again.

It began yesterday. A subtle shift in mood. A whispering in my head that said he was going to cancel. That he wouldn’t want to see me, that he would have changed his mind about how he felt. I knew that I could have put it to death with a text. I knew that all I had to do was ask for reassurance and he would have given it willingly.

But habits need breaking.

For myself, for him, I cannot continue to carry the baggage of the past around. I want to exorcise the voices that try to keep me small. I want to be a better person. A person who believes I am worthy of his love. Happiness is not something to be scared of. The dream of us is so powerful that it will break through any wall or barrier or test. And when fear grips me in the early hours of the morning and I am consumed by doubts that I am enough for him, he holds me close and dissolves all of my uncertainties.

He is the key that unlocks the shackles with which I have kept myself bound. He is the light which extinguishes the shadows of my past. He is the calm at the centre of my storm. If I offer him more than I want to give, if I try and sell him a false fantasy, he sees straight through it. He takes my hand in his and I feel our souls entwine. He guides me away from the darkness and into the sunlit world of his love. When our eyes meet, I remember that I am his and he is mine.

We are perfect, just the way we are.

Together we are free.

Up & Up

It’s amazing how quickly life can change. It is less than three weeks since we met for that drink and now every second of every day my heart beats with dreams of him. It is a whirlwind but one that has been a year in the making. We already know each other so well, we’ve already read the small print. It’s like our souls had signed the contract months ago and they were just waiting for us to finally take the first step. And now we have, our relationship is travelling at the speed of light. Perhaps it should feel scary, but the reality is it feels like coming home. The rest of the world falls away and there is only us and the force of our love.

I never knew what it felt to be alive until now. Every second with him crackles and burns with the most intense energy. It radiates out from us and infuses our surroundings, other people are drawn to us and it lifts them higher. They might not know what it is and where it has come from, but I can see the ecstasy of our elation reflected in their joy. Their laughter echoes the euphoria emanating from us. It sweeps over them like a temporary insanity, it raises them beyond the limits of normality and reveals just how incredible life can be.

He has given me this life.

His love has blessed the essence of my being. I’m not sure what I have done to be worthy of experiencing this but it feels as though someone, somewhere has listened to all the deepest wishes and desires of my heart and conjured them into existence through him. He is everything I ever wanted and more. When he is by my side it feels as though I could conquer anything the world could throw at me. And over the past three weeks the world has been cruel and unkind to him and he has stood strong as a mountain. He has been brave and tender and incredible when most others would have buckled under the pressure. And when he has needed to, he has come to me and stripped off his armour and bared his scars and sorrows and it has only made me love him more.

The fact that he feels safe enough with me to do that fills my heart to overflowing. I’ve only just started to discover all the facets that make up the brilliant jewel at his core but if the rest of my lifetime is spent exploring that treasure hunt then it will be the most exhilarating adventure. The whole of eternity wouldn’t be enough time to spend with him. The stars could burn out, the universe could fall into darkness and I would still be blinded by his light. Our souls were forged in the same fire. Now they have been reunited and they are burning brighter than a billion suns. My heart is a furnace and he is the fuel. The fire between us has melted all of the pain of the past. Our love is hammering out a new story. This is the world where we both belong.

This is the beginning of forever.

Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way

And then, just when I thought that it was all over, Love Beckons.

I met someone a year ago. It was an average Monday, I had no inkling that it would be the beginning of a new adventure. Our kids were being tutored in the same place and while they were in classes, we made each other coffee and talked. We talked for hours.

The following Monday we did it all again.

And again.

And as the weeks went past I found myself taking time to dress better, to do my makeup. I found myself thinking about him more and more. If I got to the car park and his van wasn’t there, I felt my heart sink. I hadn’t yet begun to believe that it could be something, but the times that we were together were the highlight of my week.

Everything about him amazed me. He was funny and attentive and kind. He had the best tales and his life fascinated me. As the weeks turned into months and we got to know each other better, we opened up about our pasts. He was honest and his story tore at my heart. It was clear that he had been burnt, but the way that he had chosen to walk through the fire and come through the other side inspired me. He had looked hell full in the face and it had only made him stronger.

We had begun talking about meeting for a drink but his life was so busy and full that it seemed as though it would never happen. He was always so unavailable and part of me was relieved. The other part of me, a part that I was refusing to acknowledge, was beginning to dare to dream. I wanted to spend time alone with him. I wanted to be able to talk to him free from eavesdropping ears.

The truth is I wanted him. I just wasn’t ready to admit that to myself yet.

The turning point came when we were forced into new surroundings by the necessity of the kids’ exams. We went and got coffee and although it had been weeks since I’d seen him, we slipped straight back into the easy conversation that had been the hallmark of our friendship so far. It wasn’t until we were back at the college, sitting in his van and waiting for the kids to finish that anything unusual happened. He showed me some racing data on his laptop and as I leant in closer to look at the screen, I felt a surge of energy. It was like being struck by lightning. All those walls that I had spend so many years constructing, he slipped past them like a magician. In those few seconds I could see why spending time with him had meant so much to me. My heart jump started back to life and it scared the hell out of me.

I began babbling. The nerves overtook my brain, words tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them. Every edifice of normality crumbled into nothingness. I told him I hadn’t had sex in five years and if someone tried to get close to me I’d probably run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. Inside I was cringing at what I was saying but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. He had broken through my defences and I was trying to plug the panic anyway I could. I told him I was done with love.

And then he said something which had a profound effect on me. He said, ‘I think you are looking at it from a glass half empty point-of-view.’

It so many ways it was a completely innocuous thing to say, but I drove home thinking about it. And in the days and weeks to come when the lulls in life allowed me time for reflection, I found myself replaying those words over and over again. They forced me to confront a couple of inescapable truths. First, I had to stop feeling sad over what I thought I’d lost and start waking up to the fact my life wasn’t over. Second, I desperately wanted him to be a part of it. I wasn’t sure how either of those things would be possible. But my heart had started to beat again. It had started to believe again.

Maybe, just maybe, the magic did exist after all.

It took almost six months for the drink to finally happen. Life, Russia and everything got in the way.

When it finally happened, quite frankly I was a little pissed off. By then my life was together, I had a routine. I was occasionally dating complete non-starters. Safe people with whom I knew there was no future but they served to break up the routine of my otherwise mundane life.And then he messaged me.

I knew there was no choice but to accept.

I played it cool in the build-up. I put off having a bath and getting ready until the last moment. I refused to shave my legs (or other parts) because I thought, well dammit he’s waited this long he obviously just wants me as a friend. I hadn’t seen him for weeks. I thought I was over it. And then I saw him at the station and I realised I was oh so wrong. I still wanted him. Now more than ever.

The sight of him was like the first drops of rain in a desert. My soul drank in the feel of him and began to bloom.

By the time we reached the bar, I felt like we had never spent a second apart. He was the harbour in the tempest of my life. Spending time with him was as natural as breathing.

We drank too much, I confessed all that I had to give. And he didn’t flinch. I thought it would be too much. I thought that the beautiful mess of my life would be too much for someone who had already walked the inferno. I thought I would be too complicated, too broken, too fucked up. I threw everything at him. Daring him to run, daring him to back away, daring him to admit I was too much.

He stood immovable as a lighthouse. Guiding me home. Telling me that it was all ok.

All my defenses came tumbling down.

At that point, the fact that we would end up spending the night together was inevitable. I had wanted him for too long. Playing it cool was no longer an option. Playing any kind of game was irrelevant. I gave him my truth and he returned it in kind. I wanted him and to my amazement, he wanted me too. Even now, right now, typing that makes my soul sing.

It was everything I wanted and more. That evening is burned on my skin. His kindness is seared into my heart. It brought me back to life. I thought I had understood what it had meant to feel alive before. I was blind. Waking up with him that morning was like the dawning of a whole new universe. His skin against mine, his hand in mine, his breath caressing me. I have never felt so safe.

To be secure in my own skin is a whole new world. I don’t feel that I need to change to be good enough. He has seen me at my worst and he doesn’t care. And I know that come what may, I will always be there for him. I know now that as much as I had tried to fight it, as much as I didn’t want to be emotionally invested, it is already far too late.

I am his.

The Prophet

When love beckons to you, follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him.

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

Kahlil Gibran

 

Codex

The girl makes scribbled adjustments to the formula which has consumed her for the past few days. The pencil in her fingers cannot match the speed of the chemical reactions racing the labyrinthine corridors of her mind, so she begins writing in improvised shorthand in order to retain the thoughts before they slip the net.

It is a futile task, wholly absurd, like trying to write a diary on LSD. Even if there were words to express what she perceived, the actual formation of the blackened graphite symbols on the white page creates a rainbow vapour trail. It alters her reality further, forcing her tumbling into the letters themselves.

She knows what she must do, she knows that the bubble waits to be burst, but all her theorizing has little to offer for practical application and in truth she fears the consequences. She writes the final line and in doing so accepts the challenge.

She checks on her sleeping husband and gently kisses her two daughters, smiling at their tranquil sleep-blessed faces. Returning downstairs, she checks the time out of habit more than necessity and settles on the sofa. The disk already waits in the drive, she presses the button and forty five minutes later she hears a faint pop from inside her cranium. She slumps forward as blood pours from her nose and stains the page on her lap.

The secret of life resides in pulp fiction.

In the critical nanosecond before her heart flatlines, time is stopped. Two cloaked figures emerge from the shadowy corners of the room. One walks straight up to the limp body and pulls a black box from the depths of its robes. The other lingers nervously behind.

‘Is she dead?’ The Second questions.

‘Clearly not. Otherwise our purpose of being here would be entirely futile. Hurry we do not have much time. Open this. I can never remember the sequence.’

The First tosses the cube across the room and it is caught by shaking hands which immediately begin twisting and rotating the cube’s faces. Shades of black, barely perceptible but clearly present like the sheen of a raven’s wing, begin to realign.

The Second looks up from his work, ‘How is it possible that we do not have much time, if we have stopped time?’

The First sighs, ‘Have you been paying the slightest bit of attention? We have stopped time for her and ipso facto the rest of the world. The earth has stopped turning. It will not be long until that is noticed so hurry up!’

The last combination is executed and the cube begins to unfold itself. The Second emits a faint whimper and lets the developing creature fall to the floor onto its newly emerged feet. It narrows its blackened eyes focusing on the inert figure before it, before inhaling deep the surrounding air. Its appetite whetted, it lunges at the motionless girl. It catches the droplet of blood suspended mid-air between her chin and chest and then growls in a sub-sonic pitch. From its groin what appears to be a fern leaf uncurls.

‘Is this strictly necessary?’ The Second asks.

‘Not strictly but I felt that it was appropriate. Activation is such a messy job and he so enjoys his work. It is nothing she has not experienced before.’

‘It is something I have not experienced before,’ The Second declares, watching in fascinated horror as the beast enters the girl. Her lips part as his tip exists through her mouth. The Second begins to gag but cannot avert his eyes from the scene.

‘We are not here for your personal gratification demon!’ Fulfil your orders and get out!’ The First commands the beast and then turns to the Second. ‘What is wrong with you? If either of us succumb to sentimentality we’re fucked. Even more fucked than she is right now. She won’t even remember it, the R.A.T. will take care of that’.

‘It wasn’t her memory I was concerned with,’ The Second says feebly.

The tattooed skin on the nape of the girl’s neck is lifted. A demonic digit is inserted, piercing the vertebrae and travelling up the spinal fluid into the base of her brain. The slumbering rodent is located and awakened. The beast sneers in satisfaction and withdraws from her.

Quickly the First hits the button on the beast’s back and the demon reconfigures into the original cube, emitting shrieks and gas like a deflated doll. The girl enters cardiac arrest.

‘Time has been restarted, we must go.’

The First picks up the smoking cube, grabs the shaking Second and they disappear.

A Forest

The sun is high above me. I trek through a golden ocean of ripening corn until the strains of a familiar tune float to my ears. Something stirs within me and I head towards an orchard to my right, intrigued to find the source of the melody.

The notes guide me amid the mottled red glow of the sunlight streaming through the branches above. An apple sweetness  intoxicates me and I come to a glad of yellow fairy lilies.It is in this space that music is being made and it is coming from you.

I stand watching, letting the vibrations of the lyre strings wash over me. Observing, yet unnoticed, I sink down in the shadow of a tree, savouring every note of your music.

I am so mesmerized by you that I do not notice the unicorn until it is halfway across the glade. She is as beautiful as the legends and more. She lays down before, mindful of her silver horn as she rests her head upon your lap. You play on unfazed; your song is all that matters. Her eyes close and her will is yours. You do not see it because you are gazing at the stars.

Mirroring you, I lean forward out of the shadows to do the same. A twig cracks under my weight. At once the unicorn springs up and gallops away. A streak of white against the darkness. You stand and look at me. For a second I can see the constellations reflected in your eyes, then the spell is broken. You turn and run.

Before I have time to chase I am awake.

Lose Control

I need sex.

I need a weekend in bed wrapped up in heat and sweat and lust. I need my body to shake with passion. I need to find myself in another person and for them to find themselves in me. I need the world to shrink to the space between us. I want my mind to be consumed with the pursuit of pleasure. I want to lose control.

My libido has woken up and I’m starting to obsess. It is making me reckless. The devil in me is starting to flirt with danger. I’m taking dates that I know I shouldn’t because I’m beginning to chase the thrill. Right now I’m in control. But I’m like an addict on the verge of a relapse, any day now I’m going to take the hit and to hell with the consequences. I can feel it drawing closer.

I want the anticipation. The flash of flesh in a low-lit room. The touch of lips on skin. The sound of a breath catching in a throat. A hand around my wrist. Desire searing through my veins.

Taking me higher.

Taking me harder.

Taking me over and over again.

Low

Back in our hotel room, I finally slid off my heels. You better get the drinks and music sorted out first this time. I said, my eyes running over Seths naked torso. Something about fucking you seems to evaporate all the water from my body

He fired up the laptop, put on the Attitude playlist, then poured some red wine and placed it on the bedside table before reclining back on the bed. I felt his eyes follow me around the room as I stripped off my jewellery and anything else that could be ripped or broken.

I gonna take this dress off before you do something terrible to it. I said fumbling with the knotted leather of my obi as I climbed onto him.

He gave me another deep look as though he were reading my soul. “Eden, you arent pissed are you?”

“No, I’ve barely had anything to drink at all.”

“You sure?” Seth looked at me as if to reassure himself that I was still capable of rational thought.

“I promise you, I’m not drunk. I know what I am doing. I want this.” I looked deep into his eyes. It was like witnessing eternity. A lifetime in his eyes, that was my ultimate truth. I wanted that more than anything else the universe could ever offer. I leaned in close and whispered “Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle.”

“I’m not entirely convinced that you are capable of that.” Seth smiled, his hands gripping my waist and his eyes devouring me.

I shuddered in delight and slipped off my dress.

In the background, Crackers Low began to play.

You know, this song will always remind me of fucking you, I murmured.

Seth smiled as if it pleased him that I would have some locked memory that would never change but it made me a little sad, reminding me that all too soon our time was coming to an end. It made the sex between us more tender. As I allowed myself to fall deep into his eyes, I wanted time to stop right then so I could feel that exquisite magic forever.

This Isn’t Everything You Are

It is funny how loss can blindside you. Most days I think I’m fine. I think I’m over it. I tell myself I don’t care that you are gone from my life. And then something will happen and the whole illusion comes tumbling down.

The most recent instance was when I was flicking through the first book. Most of it doesn’t make sense to anyone but you and I. The vast majority of it is nothing but messages between us, late night ramblings on MSN about everything and nothing.

I shouldn’t keep it really. I should burn the whole fucking thing and be done with it. But I tell myself that it is a record of that time, it reflects who I was then and how I have grown and so I keep it and occasionally allow myself to torture myself with it. I hate how pathetic I was. A girl so in love with the wrong world.

I found a message where you asked me if I thought we’d be friends forever.

I replied that we’d been through so much, survived so much turmoil (mostly instigated by me and my inability to deal with my feelings for you). We’d always found a way to move past it, to keep walking the path, I thought there was nothing the world could throw at us that we would not overcome.

Until it did.

As is the way of these things, the final straw was actually a rather minor matter. It could have easily have been overcome if either of us had been so inclined. But I think that I had reached the very end of my tether and you were so concerned with protecting your carefully constructed world that neither of us had the will to carry on.

So we walked away.

I had always said you were my heroin and so it proved in those first few days of cold turkey. Perhaps in my mind I thought that the silence wouldn’t last, that one of us would crack and make contact. That had always been that way of it before. I was determined that it wouldn’t be me. Not this time. You had overstepped the mark by miles and cut me deeper than I thought possible. I knew I’d get through it, but I sure as hell wouldn’t be the one to come crawling back.

And then weeks passed and still the silence continued. By then I had started to get perspective. Just like an addict I looked at how I was when I was in contact with you and I realised that I didn’t really like that person. I didn’t want to be that girl. I needed to get clean. You might have been the fire that set my soul alight but the blaze had grown out of control and burnt my whole fucking life down to the ground. Before that I had thought I needed you in my life.

Then came the realisation that I needed you like a fish needs a bicycle.

You needed me because I fed your ego. And while you were busy chasing bright lights and cheap thrills, you knew that I would be a safe place to confess your sins. You lived your adventures and revelled in telling me of your conquests. You said that you needed my wisdom. I think you that you wanted someone who would listen to your boasting and bragging and lap it up. I was the fool that couldn’t get enough.

That is until we had our own adventure. A journey that started by the storm torn seas of San Francisco, through the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, to the neon signs of the City of Sin and back again. Months later I finished my rendering of that story and that was the thing that finally killed our friendship.

I had tried to portray our experiences as accurately as possible. You accused me of trying to destroy your life. Of course, you had gone back to your ex. Of course you had. Your same old safe bet. And you thought I was so full of desire and longing for you that I would tear your world apart to make you mine. For once in our friendship I had all the control and that scared the life out of you. Like a cornered animal, you lashed out. You didn’t need to do that. All you had to say was,

‘Please Eden, I love your book, but keep it for us. No-one else.’

And I would have done that. I would have done that in a heartbeat. I never need it to be shared with the world. I just wanted a memory of you, of our adventure. For us.

For myself.

But to accuse me to being this vicious, manipulative bitch. In that moment you utterly shattered my heart. You proved to me that you didn’t know me at all. You didn’t understand a single atom of my soul. And just like that bit in Labyrinth where Sarah realises that everything is junk and the walls start crumbling around her, I realised that this version of you that I had created was nothing but a simulation.

You weren’t this strong, wise, creative soul. You were just another scared boy who would fight tooth and nail to protect this bourgois fantasy you’d woven for yourself.

You didn’t care about Truth.

My book of our adventures was nothing but a mirror and when you saw it held up to your life you hated the reflection. You blamed me. You wounded me. I was so tired of battling your ego that I decided to withdraw.

I knew it would hurt me, I knew it meant leaving my book and everything I worked for behind. But I knew that if it meant I was free of you it was worth it. I needed to break the power you had over me.

And let me make it perfectly clear…

You have no power over me.

I may say that I miss you. I may say I wish to walk and talk and dream with you. But the ‘you’ that I want to do that with doesn’t exist. He never did. He was a figment of my imagination that was built on the fragments of fleeting memories. I took a real person – you- and rebuilt him into something that was worth my time and energy and love. You are not him and he is not you. You are a knave and he is a knight.

I believed your lies. Sometimes I got so lost in the illusion that I forgot reality. Blinded by deceit, I chose the door that led to certain death.

Now I’m reborn and my spirit is free. I know who you are and I am remembering everything I am.

This is a new beginning.

Pyramid Song

Dreams of angels and of wings broken and torn. Feathers swirling like snow. Under a sky black as velvet embellished with diamond strewn stars, bodies lay fallen and twisted.

Their skin, cool and pale as wax, torn asunder.

Golden lifeblood drains from crippled veins. Their vital fluid collects in the impressions left by heavenly footprints like nectar in summer horncups. Each radiant pool glows platinum under the moonshine until it overflows, spilling its precious contents down the hillside.

The landscape is gilded and the fallen stars, scattered like chess pieces are carried to the valley floor.

A river is born of blood and bodies, as black eyed angels slip beneath the auric torrent.