I’m grappling for a word I can write, think, or say that actually reflects even a semblance of the activity in my mind. Non-verbal, but deeply emotive passions, fears and ideas possess every crevice of the mind that I can reach, and I reach deeply… there must be something different, something clearer. A tiny figure of myself hangs on a rope, on a cliff edge, descending down a hole that seems bottomless- the images I see in my mind’s eye remind me of Alice’s plight, the way the hole spans on, and down, gravity pulling her deeper to the core of a lucid, refreshing dream, but until then she squints her eyes to the darkness and lets the tears hit the walls as they fly from her fear. Hints of shadows on the wall convince her of clocks with moustaches, pills, potions and tables, cats, mice and tortoises… and this one is wooden, his neck long, bent and stiff, painted in emerald green. She knows it well, a gift, Nanny had bought one for each of them when she came back from her holiday one year. Her skin brown, soft and freckled, handing that tiny paper bag, the excitement as it crumples as you reach inside, your hand emerges to reveal to your smiling face his sweet, hand-painted smirk, his tiny red hat. Yet, somehow to hold on to a memory too close, for too long is a reminder that all of things you been given to hold and treasure are now lost. How can this be, how can I feel dispossession over something that I know I still have, who, with bobbing head and painted wrinkles, yellow spots in gentle brush strokes still sits delicately, weightlessly on my hand?
Perhaps it is a myth that we must hold on to everything that is important to us. That which is meant to be in our life will stay with us eternally and make up some part of us that only emerges when the time is right, that fills your fingers to make you paint, that fills your self with courage on the days where you wake up and can’t even stand the sight of your own, tired face. Your subconscious; call it your soul. Alice fell but I descend carefully, I told you the rope is tied and strong, and I will hold it tightly until the callouses on my palms are red raw; for the burning as my skin tears, the muscles trembling in my forearms, nothing could quite outweigh precisely the lurching through your existence that is to fall. To let go and in an instant lose all sense of up and down, to fall perhaps forever. A conversation in a department store looking at the escalators, Christmas shoppers flushed and giddy, bored and pathetic, stand and conform. Layers and rows and flocks of them being dragged along the conveyor belt, pigs to slaughter, all distracted by the competitive nature of the whole thing. The fear of disappointment. The mere pressure of existing in this place and time. The shame whenever someone stares too long. Forgetting they are entitled to divert from these norms with which they can not keep up; that they own their own lives and as such their value can never be exclusively equated to that which they buy. Society a ludicrous and pointless facade to me, already. My stepfather, a misery, indulged me in a conversation- what would be the best way to land if you were to fall from this height? After proposing a great number of theories and feeling utterly deflated by his gory explanations as to how each one would paralyse and/or kill me, I decided maybe to move away from the glass barrier and my curious musings.
My mind is not a tunnel and the road down to its core is not so deep and craggy and dark as it seems to me this day. I know this image so well, the cliff edge, the miscellaneous, black, thick ooze that bubbles and boils anyone who might fall in. I know it well from a dream. Mary, my Nan, I lived with. I loved her and did not know cancer then, did not even know she wore a wig. When I sit on the toilet and find myself curled into my shoulders, leaning on my legs, wishing I was still sleeping I see her in me every time. I would sit on the edge of the bath in the mornings and giggle as she fell asleep on the toilet, giggle that she was so silly and sleepy, giggle in the way only a child can giggle, only an innocent creature who has not had to lose the thing most precious to her yet. My hair in ringlets, golden blonde and close to my head, my twin by my side so I can never be alone. I see his big deep brown eyes, that shocked expression he always seemed to have on his face, eyebrows raised, tiny little mouth puckered, open and soft, his little pink tongue curiously peeking from the full lips. My baby brother. He will always be to me despite the fact I have only been in this world one minute longer than him. I will always protect him.
I want to be happy and enjoy life. So I can show to him and to my sisters and friends, my brothers and fathers and mothers that life is happy and enjoyable. That we can find something beautiful inside it no matter what it looks like on the outside sometimes. That there are better things to come regardless of how it appears to the others, how it seems and feels on the bad days. I believe this with all of my heart.