I walk down a narrow lane and I feel the back of my head for the bullets. I can see the ribbons dancing. I’m rumblequartzed, and strangely phlegmatic. Crunch go my feet in my boots; when I reach out my arms scrape the double glazing on both sides. I am welcoming and yet ponderous, waiting and prepared with the scripture. I can smell the rust, my feet are still damp from puddles. I could fuck you in this old, disused garage and our handprints in the dust would last for decades.
We tiptoe through the wreckage and dare each other to burn our intials into our forearms. You can cheat with your straight lines but I have to grit my rot and endure the curls. I am fucked, burned and stolen. The smell of melted hair hangs as you try and set my knees on fire. I’m grateful. I’m grateful for anything to take my mind and my stomach away from the grinding toil under my sleeves.
Under the bridge you tell me about your hanging fantasies and suddenly I feel as out of my depth as my feet on top of the hard rails. When you chuckle and tell me it is only a fantasy I am placated by denial, but you still smile and observe every thick branch of every tree with a surveyor’s glance.
On the wall we enscribe our names. Later, we steal petrol and pliers but you baulk at matches. I have matches at home you say, as if all the larceny was not symbolic. Nevermind. I’ll lay on my stomach, peer at the sun setting under the horizon with the intensity of a war god through the crosshair sights, watching it nonchanlanty slide behind the dancing grass. So it’s all meaningless, I’ll ask rhetorically. You flick, flick, flick with your lighter, trying to burn your shoes.
On top of five hills, all Russian-dolled on top of each other, I wrap myself deep from teh cold and stretch out my legs the better to annoy no one. It’s five in the morning and humid and I’m hoping to be the first thing she sees when she opens her bedroom curtains. But as the sun climbs higher and my skin breaks out into water, nothing happens. The landscape before me ripples and flexes, whilst dogs sniff around me looking for something to piss against. When I finally turn around, her curtains are wide open as are the windows, but her bedroom is empty. She’s awake. She’s seen me. And She doesn’t care.
Just before we parted, I found myself getting abnormally erect at the sight of her shoulder blades almost touching as she busied herself in the footwell of the car. The engine sparked into life and she emerged, face blackened by filth and determination, and the toothy smile was for the task and not for me – the glorified lookout. Driving us down mottled track, I distracted her enough to send us boot deep into a ditch, our rear wheels spinning in thin air. We coated it in petrol and started a bonfire.
She’d always dreamed of the moment when a fire becomes so all-consuming that you cannot see the fuel. But now, at the glimpse of our finest triumph, as the car disappeared behind a flapping curtain of umber and orange, she was already long gone. It was left to me to sit forlorn, melting marshmellows on shabby barbed wire, trying not to jump as the tyres exploded.
I return to the hill again and again. I see the curtains closed. I wait. And I wait. And then the curtains are already open and I am not even a footnote. I lay on my back and see my foot shimmering in the heatwave and I realise; if I cannot be hers, I can at least become the landscape.