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every other man

The light outside the main entrance to our building has gone out again. The heavy metal door swings wide as I pull a hat down over my ears. In the darkness there are maybe twenty teenagers standing still. My boot scrapes across the ground, slowing down. Their hands in pockets, shoulders hunched, I look for a space to pass between them. A voice appears, saying hello in English, with an obvious accent. I am all instinct, sayingpivyet as I pass, not looking back, wondering who said this. There was a boy that was an extra in Blackbetty that lives in our building, but he is too young, too short for it to have been him.

I look back, navigating the puddles in the street. It does not make any sense.

N is with V, making their way home. I meet them, pulling V into my arms as she chatters about her day, about dry leaves and princesses, about her grandmother's apartment and what she ate there. We are going back home, and I try to explain the odd collection that stands outside. As we pass th…

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There are pockets, absences. In them, histories are hidden, memories stamped down under dry earth. There are episodes that have never been shared, fights and screams never repeated. I carry them in silence for a number of reasons. Some things are forced into shadow by warped law and influence. Freedom of speech is a privilege, and a vulnerable one. Some are edited by choice. Some are edited by necessity. The result is the same - an incomplete picture, a book missing pages, a song missing a second verse. 

There are dogeared boxes of papers that are too painful, too embarrassing too forgotten to yank from shelves, the smell of yellowing paper, the hot pang of failure on them. I cannot throw them away just yet, but plan to. Maybe I save some of them for E, scraps of evidence from a life she was too young to commit to memory, a life of wild-eyed desperation and daily drama. I don't know what she will do with them, but maybe they are for her to destroy, not me.

The past and present are both obscured, hidden behind drapes, unspoken. 

So much goes unsaid, I wonder what good it is to speak at times, to be play along with such lies, such deceptions, such over-simple truths. I used to get excited about theories about where truth exists, in hidden spaces between the known and the unknown - the gaps, the lines scribbled out of love letters. They were theories that inspired years of work, but only now do I understand the price paid for experiencing them first hand. To be mute is a prison I could never have imagined, a punishment that bites into fresh skin every day.

Comments

invisible woman said…
In honour of the burden of your silence, I shall leave you here a silent comment...
oldswimmer said…
save them for E!
Breathtaking. Again.

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