29 October 2011


My toenails are liquid jade, still. Our office cleaner told me yesterday, as far as I could tell as we were both speaking a language that was not ours, she said that I had lost my sparkle. My recently gold-dusted pearl fingernails show some of the ravages of last week, bitten and chipped.

I try to pace myself slowly, open the box and the plastic packet inside it, tip the pieces in to the base of the box, stirring up the grey green grey dust, and I start to attempt the jigsaw puzzle.  Hoping that it will soothe me, that I will gradually (heavy handed metaphor alert) see things coming back together, making a harmonious whole, feel like I am making something in this world again.

My space is one hundred and seventeen square metres. I don't use it all, the patio, not for eight days now, not since we flickered around each other, wine in hands, you with a cigarette, both half wrapped in towels and nothing else and feeling the pinch of the cool night air. I don't use the space in the spare bedroom, except for drying washing when the weather outside isn't suitable. I am supposed to be buying a bed this weekend, a task I have set myself, it would mean going to the furniture store some kilometres away. But I looked at the on-line shop and there was nothing to inspire me so I am procrastinating instead.

Last night I heard a miaou, I opened the door and leaned out, but nothing. Sometimes, still, the former playmate of my departed cat still sits on the garden bench, but I suspect it is more for the peace and the sunlight and the absence of wind rather than the companionship of Seville's ghost.

My space is separated from the town centre by slightly tinted glass and swathes of muslin, about a foot too long for the floor-to-ceiling windows. Metres away, people are going about their lives. It is a long weekend here, a bank holiday, and I wonder if I will leave my space. I have showered but not dressed. One step at a time.

No one is reaching out to me. And I do not have the strength, the self-belief to reach out myself more than tentatively. I reached out yesterday, to a friend, and as there was no answer then I was prepared for the rebuff this morning. But I won't reach out again, at least not today. One step at a time.

I have done quite well, these last few days, at keeping you out of my thoughts. Minutes, several and consecutive went by at work where I did not pick at the wound. In my space though, I have nothing to think, nothing to say that isn't about you, or about the gap where I wanted you to be, and so I say nothing.

The jigsaw puzzle is a black and white picture by Escher, two drawing hands, which one is drawing the other? It is full of white noise. I know I won't finish it, it is too difficult and there are too many textures of grey.

And still, I think that if you were to call now and say you were sorry, that you were wrong, that things could be; the jewel of your reaching to me would slither under my skin and I would forgive you the hurt. The pieces would fall into place, and I would gather the empty space into myself and hide it back in my stomach where you cannot see it. Everything would look normal. Standing at the cliff to the future. One time to step out.
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