The following piece of writing was written for a university assignment in 2009 (I think – I didn’t actually date the work so it could have been 2008). It’s a piece of writing I intend to return to and heavily rewrite at some point in the future so very open to what is and isn’t clear (I expect the piece to become a performance work which will likely clear up some of the issues around time and who’s speaking but *shrugs* – we’ll see)….
The Creative Piece (Untitled)
Weirdly tangled dreams struggle
Against my skin, straining to
Rip their way in
Melissa sleeps. Gently, deftly he folds himself on to the bed beside her. Down, on to that broken warped monster of a bed, with the metal frame sagging and bowing to the ground beneath it, groaning beneath the weight of unspoken words. A packed suitcase crouches impatiently at his feet. Waiting, biding its time, yet ready. He speaks to her, a whisper, a sigh,
His eyes flicker in time with her strained breath, dancing around in his head, itemising each and every hollow of her sleeping face, tracing the line of her stretched limbs and the sweat soaked spaces between sleep and waking. He strokes stray licks of hair from her damp skin. He folds his hands back towards his body, begins to twist his fingers around one another, twisting and searching, scratching at the imperfections, the raised hardened spaces of skin
In another time, in another place, another Melissa, the same but tangled into the past enters another room with another bed. Her clothes are torn and ripped and beginning to seep dirty water onto the floorboards.
“Fucken bastard. How could he? Am I stupid? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Fuck Fuck Fuck.”
It becomes a litany of sorts, a conversation that will never be over. It will play in her head for the rest of eternity. Even when she ceases to notice it, it will still be there playing over and over again in a never ending loop of words just beneath her reach.
My dreams haunt me. Have I travelled deep enough?
“I know”, he says it quietly, sighing the words into her hair.
“How long have you been sitting here with me?”
“Long enough,” the words slowly slip between them. His eyes hang on the curve of her jaw; weight hangs between them, the weight of other lives, other loves, half remembered dreams, “I’m leaving.”He breathes in, she breathes out.
“I know,” she reaches for him. They collapse into one another. Hands reaching, pressing, searching, their eyes dart away from one another’s face.
And the curving curve of wanting you. You press your hips into my belly. Knead your hands into my skin. You melt into me; Or I into you. I want to consume you. I want to wipe away the indents of the past and melt into the future as part of your skin. I’m trembling.
“Will you talk to him before you go?”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea, what would I say? What is there that I can say?”
“Just that it’s not him, he didn’t do anything wrong. He’s so small. He’ll miss you.”
It’s a flicker between then. An awareness of wanting. Her smile is thin, brittle. They sit on opposite sides of a table, discarded drinks and nibbles strewn across the space between their hands. She’s hiding the real curve of her lips from him. Trying to stop them both from giving in, closing the gap between what they want and what they need. She angles her body ever so slightly towards him. He’s a replacement person and he knows it. And is she trying to please him or herself? She’s trying to leave him clues. A broken pencil. A bent nail. A half chewed feather. He spreads the plastic tiles across the table, counts out the wall, readying the game. She waits. The tiles in his hands are asking for him to name her as his. So he does. And they begin creating a new story. A new tragedy to build into the layers of their lives.
So this is what we’ve become? The pawn of a man? Look at his suitcase, He doesn’t love us. Shut-up. I don’t want to hear you, little voice inside my head. You’re the angry ruined part of me and you’re wrong! YOU’RE WRONG! …He never stopped loving the girl I could have been. He gave us everything he could. And I did love him. But not once did I tell him as I should have. Without flinching from the past
The walls begin to close in around her. Blue walls with barely concealed cracks and photographs of faraway, unreachable places stacked from floor to ceiling. Each box still sits where it was dropped on the way in, every item in the room waiting for the chance to unpack itself. These things all so casually disregarded, inch their way around her now, blocking her into the fear.
That other boy is holding her hands down, pressing his heaving body into her insides. She’s a fish on a hook thrashing, doomed to fail. He’s rising and falling within her, punishing her. Ruining her. Crack. His hand lands on her face, a conquerer taking his due. The bedding heaves and shifts around them, the heaving shifting weight of time. It’s raining.
“I’m sorry. I’m not him. I can’t undo what the past has done to you. I loved you then. It’s choices you know. Choices. We wreck each other – for what? To prove that we’re real? To prove we’re all ALIVE?”
“Don’t,” she forces the words through dry lips.
“I would have smashed his face in if I’d known.” Inside of his skin is the burning searing memory of betrayed. He knew I loved her. He knew. She was so beautiful. All fire and midnight. And life. She was real. In a room full of fake tans and tissue paper breasts. She smiled at me. And I thought the rest of my life was waiting for me.
“I didn’t blame you. Never. Not then and not now. But sometimes when you look at me, I’m 15 again with his eyes looking at me. Holding me down. Making me broken.” She’s reaching for his hand as the words tumble out, her fingers slipping and sliding amongst the sheets, searching for a sign. A crack in the armour of his leaving through which she can find herself again.
I had his dirty hands on me for weeks.
She stands beneath the water, soaping and rinsing in a seemingly unbroken pattern. Steam soaks the air above and beyond her outside edges. Her skin vibrates and hums in its frail attempts to keep her inside thoughts locked in. She exits now, moves slowly from room to room. Brushing past all the signs of reality, the stained coffee coasters, the left out milk, the shoes kicked off carelessly in the hall, all the signs of a life that once was. Before.
Before he was there, over me, pushing his way into my dreams, shattering me from the inside out and nothing then could feel the same again. They were brothers. Brothers with their own broken past, they loved and hated each other in equal measure. We were seventeen. I was seventeen. My beautiful life was just about to begin. I couldn’t look at either of them in the real world after that. The one who loved me. The one I’d thought I loved. Stupid girl. I was 23 when He found me. The father of my child had slit his wrists. Confessed everything in a letter. So he wanted forgiveness. Bastard. And you were there, standing right in front of me, asking me to let you heal me. I tried.
“I can’t I’m sorry,” he says the words, “I thought I was strong enough,” with each pause he comes closer, “Thought I could save us. I love you. I always have. But there is someone waiting for me. Who doesn’t claw my heart out every day. Who doesn’t look at me and see my brother.” He leaves the room now. Picking up the suitcase as he extends his body into the space beside the bed, his left hand wraps itself around the handle, a new life curled now within his deft fingers.
She curls into a ball. A broken, empty, bereft stained thing without the words to bridge, to heal the gap between lived and believed. A little blonde haired boy runs into the space she’s attempting to empty, he throws his awkward body against her back. His jeans are faded, worn into living by other children’s legs.
“Mummy why are you crying?”
“I’m just a little sad.” The lie falls so easily from her teeth.
“Don’t be sad mummy, I love you the best of everyone,” her hand covers her mouth, muffling sound.
“How much do you love me?”
“Four infinity!! when I’m a growed up I’ll marry someone just like you, coz you are the beautifullest i have ever known in my life.” She tries to answer, she sucks great deep breathes of air into her hands, her shoulders heave into stillness and she finds the words then.
“I love you little one” And the sobs burst now from her eyes and chest, her hair, her whole being, spilling out everywhere. She takes the bedding in her hands and flings it across the room, out and away from her body. In the aftermath of action, in the overfilled room, yet vacant now without his weight, she notices the gift he’s left. The small black box, with the peeling edges sits quietly by the bed mocking her with its innocence. Her hands reach out carefully, lifting the precious memory into her arms. She turns the box in her hands, taking in what it means to her. As it hits the wall, as the little black plastic box bursts, tiles spill across the ruined floor, clicking loudly against one another as they fall. The little boy watches with wide eyes, child’s eyes. She digs her nails into opposite hands, forcing the sharp edge against the precious skin. She sucks in breathe after breathe after breathe with her tiny child running his fingers through her hair.
Where did you quicken?
Your butterfly wings within my skin.
You give my layers light
You are my echo
More than that
You are my arrow
My living breathing arrow
The depth of love