Away in the City

An entry from the old blog, Celenagaia, which made me smile today. A world can change and still look the same, through the filter of an hour or two years.

January 2012:

What does the City have to offer me?
I just can’t see.

It’s cute and all, with its ancient tapestry of buildings leaning into one another like tipsy cakes; streets that wobble when you walk them, roads which force cars to become far better acquainted with one another than they’d like. The tell-tale remnants of a time and place covered over by we, the youthful oil slick.

It’s beautiful, and it’s home. But … oh, some of the people. They drive me wild, and not in a good way. I’m not sure how much more my back can take, what with all the knives sticking from it like porcupine quills. How do they ever fight with their mouths, kiss without breaking their teeth?

I long for truth. A sense of wilful abandon, without resorting to narcotics and blood-letting.
As much as I’m a metaphor fiend, a little plain speaking goes a long way, sometimes.

Whoever thought wearing an army surplus shirt with German flags at the shoulders, could polarize a city so? I’m either graced with a winning smile and a wave (usually a hipster, or a fellow AS store freak, who appreciates the solid truth behind cheap waterproof gear) or have Nazi salutes thrown at me from kids who’re halfway towards knowing history, but couldn’t be bothered to follow the trail right back.

No point asking them about Weimar cinema, then.

I’m quite tired tonight, so apologies if not on top form. Suitably chilled though, listening to Camera Obscura. I see their music in shades of magenta and purple, the colour of my eyelids at the moment. Wrote a fresh chapter of the novel earlier, and am forcing myself not to look at it until my eyes are unclouded with memory.

I crave sushi. I crave a change. The pavements to clear of snow and ice, so many black diamonds; for petals to swell like expanding lungs, their pollen filling the air with the green and gold hints of a turning season. I want birds in flight, coming home in their chevron smiles of welcome; for the sky to have its hands full of rain and sun, the clouds torn apart by wild west winds!

Up on the Downs, my eyes will be in full flight, reading the maps of field boundaries, and a weather-belt churning its way between Beacon and barrows, that ever-circulating band of air pulling nimbus and sun along. A stream of ancient consciousness. So many lives, gone. So many still to come.
I miss that turbulence.

I think I miss my family, too. Not sure why, but old habits die harder than girls in Battle Royale. I miss the way Dad used to tickle the back of my neck when I was little, sat on the carpet by his feet with a book in my lap. The words would jumble and cloud, pulled along on a belt of sleep.

I miss my brother’s curling blonde hair, the way he’d twist jam-sticky fingers through it when sleepy or relaxed; or run them through my hair while reading something over my shoulder. He is a soft touch, with a core of steel bones. A true friend to many, but never to himself. When I went home last, he clung to me as though the world were falling apart. Perhaps it is, and we hold it together between us. I miss him most of all.

I think I miss my older sister too, though we fought as bitter-bitch girls too close in age often will. So different in construct, but we’re set solidly in the same foundations. We still laugh in the same places at The Lion King, can quote any line from Good Morning, Vietnam (and warble the soundtrack to death); we know where those knackered old videos will roll because of the times our brother made us rewind them again and again, for his giggling delight.

She’ll instantly know what fighter jet I’m talking about when describing a flyby; the thrill of that hurtling whine. And for all our clashing over wretched things like makeup and stuffed toy cats, she was always up for Streetfighter on the SNES. I only have to mention Dhalsim to get her giggling. We beat the daylights out of each other in that world, so as to avoid being grounded for making it a reality.

We both know what the thumps coming from overhead really were, in the Cheshire-house of our ancestors. There was comfort in knowing that our great-great-grandmother was still close by, even as it chilled our blood, like the room itself.

We both remember that morning when our parents started yelling for real – when we held each other tight, sitting on her bed as we hadn’t since watching Jurassic Park years before. We listened to our world collapsing downstairs, and for some silent minutes were sisters at peace, in the face of familial warfare.

And my Ma. I lived with her the longest; she saw my birth and near-death. Her hair is champagne, while her mouth and eyes laugh louder than her soul ever can. She’s lonely, and bitter with it, though not in the harshly jaded way of my father. She feels like she’s missed out on something important, that life is passing her by. I could tell her that life passes everyone, all the time – it just depends on whether you hold out your hands and let yourself be dragged along.

*shrug* My maudlin career. I’m not happy, only bittersweet with what is, and what must be. I feel more now than I’ve ever felt in the years before all this happened, before Here became Now, before you walked in and found this page and started reading it.

We might never get the chance to smile at each other, or cross words with knives, or touch each other’s forearm with a shared laugh, but –

Hey, we had this.

Sleep well, friend, when you do.
x (what do these kisses mean, anyway? Why do we stick them there, unabashed on Christmas cards and birthday messages? Are they the penned equivalent of hugs, or do they ever mean more than another letter of an unchanged platonic message?
Let’s sell them to strangers!)

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