I have eaten my reflection so many times
that I am still hungry,
- Carrie Rudzinski
I held it gently, her arm, the same feeling as climbing trees way up where the branches give way in an instant. The times of being up there, looking out at the entire world. It has been too long.
You woke in the morning surrounded by broken glass. They took everything.
It will take a long time to realise that they saved you. More than this - that no matter how much you eat or starve, what you need you cannot put inside or take outside of you. Walk outside and there is a group of old women shooting at the sun.
They appear strong and brave. You believe this is the way, now. The glass is painted in your blood now. You study firearms more than anything you’ve ever searched for in your life.
I begin to laugh at this. We were deeply different.
‘I want to work in crime’, she told me, in the water that afternoon. Her name was Lea. We met here. Georgio had called out to them. Condom-less tourism, he had laughed, before. ‘Ellos lo quieren’, he’d clarified. We accept the love that we think we deserve [Chbosky]. Settling.
He was with Hestia, teaching her how to float on her back while attempting to touch her breasts.
I had looked at Lea in astonishment when she had spoken about her life plans - ‘No…just come to understand the terrible things that have happened to you’, I replied, without skipping a beat. Strings winding around people, towns, across oceans to lead to this.
Her arm resting in my hand as I sat gazing at it.
‘Why do you do this to yourself?
Georgio was naked already out behind the fort. She wouldn’t call him back three days later, fired the same day. His face was triumphant that night, frying potatoes out at his new place, winning it all.
The gutting of my reflection was an daily ritual. Autumn leaves choked me every morning, nothing of me left for the day that came. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that was anything left of me for anyone to like. And if they found something, mirages of the desert.
But for weeks, now, there had been a weightlessness - the beginnings of adoring myself again, poco a poco. Grinning out at the mirror.
She turned to me and said,
‘Y tu, que tu vas hacer con tu vida?’
Her eyes upon me all night.
Just cut away what holds you back, I told you, ignoring the question question.
‘Y tu? Porque no puedes hacerlo tambien?’
Little by little, climbing back down the tree. This year will be the greatest so far, I promise myself. I will no longer need to cut weight. It’s time to absorb, to take in. Terrified of the plummet but these days will lift when drowning. I promise.
Dogs behind gates call out greetings with their teeth. The kind of walk back, alone, at this time, where each breath absorbs. Where do all those I have met go? What do they live? What have I left them? Will I ever see them again?
Some weeks back, drinking mate out on the long pier. It took a while to reach the end as if walking upon the lagoon. She was in a black bikini and climbed out after swimming to ask if I was drinking the lagoon. She had arrived that day. I was ready to forget myself. I have drank more than I have ever known there. She would hug me that night and gaze at me real close as her partner slept. There are such seas that I will not understand. Happy to exist, to be human, to know longing and allow it to rest there, waiting,
[Abandon all tourism but for which deepens. Break into houses and smash their mirrors.
Keep climbing trees.]
[image - illustration from Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World]