Climb

(This is the first installment of fragments I wrote whilst away in Wales. So there will be quite a few. And I don’t imagine some will make much sense.)

There literally isn’t a cloud in the sky, meaning she can’t see any, meaning elsewhere in the entire sky there is probably a cloud, probably many clouds, but in this particular patch of sky, the sky she can see, her sky, there are none. There literally isn’t a cloud in her sky.

Her book is finished, the one she’s reading, and so it’s time to write. About something. Anything. Anything but the fog inside her head.

That’s the thing about coming out here, out where the air is crisp and fresh and the grass is vibrant and the trees sing. You can’t hide the fog. In the city it’s easy. You hide the fog between car exhausts and factory memories, between the toothless homeless man and the outpourings of nightclubs, between the sore head and the lack of fulfillment that clings to the roof of your mouth like used chewing gum to a school skirt. You push the fog down. You expel it slightly by moaning about work or by drinking or by doing both at the same time. You invent your own forms of therapy, like squeezing spots or watching porn or scratching the back of your hand til it becomes a scar that will never fade. Like the fog. It’s a city thing. Or so she thought.

But now she’s sat in the crisp clear air next to a river, sunlight dappling her pages, still no clouds in her sky, and it’s still there. Every so often she forgets about it and her shoulders relax, and then she blinks and a thin white film covers her eyeballs like cataracts and she remembers, remembers all the shit she’s trying to get away from, and she scrubs her eyes with clenched fists until the white is shot with blood red capillaries and she can see better and worse at the same time. And she can see reality with clarity, and that’s the problem.

And she sits on the grass next to the river, and she gazes at the mountains that surrounds the campsite and listens to the trees sing and feels the burn of sun against her skin. Her pen is poised above the page. She waits. Waits for an idea, a subject, a character from one of her past stories to wander into her head because if she just writes without forethought the fog will descend. It takes a lot of energy to hold it out of sight.

She scans the mountain again and sees a person climbing, almost invisible against the fabric of nature. Something clicks in her head. Alert. She sits up a little straighter, eyes fixed unblinking on the figure on the mountain.

She knows he is going to fall.

Somehow, she just knows it. He’s going to fall. And she knows it’s a man, she can tell somehow, she can tell it’s a man that’s going to fall.

A bird flies across her eye line.

The man is gone.

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