I broke a silence and fell, a child, into a foreign game.
It all began with the offer of a baguette, half eaten and wilting in the stagnant heat. The days had been long. The sun seemed to rise high into the sky, then rest, for hour, after hour, after hour, and I would find myself wishing for the cooling shadows of night to slide across the world and swallow me up in their midnight embrace.
For five months I had casually crossed the boundaries of the world as only westerners can do. New Zealand, Australia, now Bali, soon Malaysia. I had marvelled at snow topped mountains. I had gaped open mouthed at the vast receding Australian horizon. But it was too much. Too much. My eyes clouded. A professional sightseer, as the days passed I felt myself being squashed tighter and tighter into a branded box, only capable of uttering inane slogans – the set script of a tourist.
So it all began with the offer of…or was it before then? Was it in fact weeks before, on those long and dusty bus rides that the idea took seed? Was it when thoughts were allowed free reign and the censor within retired and took off his respective hat? A self fulfilling prophecy then, that took shape, faltered, never quite knew how to end.
It was a night of cooling shadows. Soft breezes rippled through the creases of air. Lights flashed in the streets below and motorcycles whined as the midnight sky dropped her petticoats and shrouded us in stars. I believe it was then that Time grabbed me by the hand and pulled me in a crazy sprint through the light of day, the dark of night.
Trying to visualise her now is like attempting to draw all the colours of a rainbow to a single point. Shards of emerald green give way to flashing yellows, swinging pinks to an ocean of azure blue: a beacon in a vast audience of people lost at sea. Navigating her way through life, those she touched grew like flowers tasting their first heady mix of morning dew. Least that’s how it seemed.
She was striking. Quietly striking. Striking, because to know her was to feel winded, knocked down, awoken. Quietly, because it didn’t happen quite at once but covertly while the wind paused for breath and the sheets billowed against her porcelain skin.
Time was a witness as I launched my marble and struck her soundlessly in the chest. A strange absence settled where the obstruction had lodged – tongue loosened, jaw relaxed. Once begun confessions spilled from my lips, bubbling up like a spirited brook. Even then I could feel another confession building…but the music had begun. I had taken the first step and allowed the music to take control. The steps were unknown, the moves unpractice d, yet somehow my patched attempt succeeded and the two of us spun on to the dance floor, laughing, turning, eyes glittering, oblivious to the audience we knew would never see Us (for people see what they want to see).
As those lips pulled away I fell into a deep consciousness. Though in darkness a bright sunshine burst into my life, and with eyes closed I let the flickering shadows play beautifully across my face…and let the feeling linger on.
© Eshne Knight 2008