On the green lawn, we sat in the shadow of the Flying Saucer Monolith. A last relic; an optimistic fist raised and fading badly against the mundane reality of the insipid Real Future we all exist in, tasting faintly of lead and mercury. She held her hand up to the sun. She explained the shapes to me; D#, F, Cm, A. From this finger to there, from that finger crossed to this. She held my hand warmly as I gripped the cold wood and tried to bend my fingers into the shapes that music can exist within. Snatching the new guitar out of my lap she buried it between her thighs with a sigh and tiptoed through a melody that made the grass grow six inches in thirty seconds. D#, F, Cm, A… D#, F, Cm, Em…
We left under a darkening sky and I offered to walk her home. I’d slung the guitar over my shoulder behind me so the neck bounced against my legs. I told her about the legends I’d read about; old blues masters selling their souls at the ancient crossroads and coming back with chords that could wake the dead and bring them to orgasm. She smiled and told me about the old boy across the road from her who used to work for the Merchant Navy. Balls deep into his 80’s, he’d march into his garden every Sunday evening and play an old sea shanty on his accordion as a tribute to a girl he’d sailed away from in Australia; sailing away from emotional and spiritual freedom into this life he had adopted for the past forty years, with just these six precious minutes to feel genuinely alive.
She explained to me the concept of the light year. The truism that so many of the stars we look up at may already be dead and we are just experiencing their final throes from millions of years ago. She pointed out the old factories, and where her Dad worked up until he lost his job, jogged home, packed a suitcase and disappeared. I told her about the life cycles of trees and about the composition of the moons of Saturn; one of us looking forward to look back and the other focused only on rings that have no ending and no real instruction beyond trivia.
The night sweeps in. We walk side by side, footstep to footstep, down a narrow alley, but her mind races way ahead of mine. The walls hem us in together so I feel the warmth from her shoulders and a flick of windbrushed hair against my cheekbone. I would be happy if this dank, dark, dangerous alley ran on forever. I’d walk on; past the burned spoons belonging to the men who looked for God in the palms of their infected hands, past the discarded discoloured panties that faded from pink to yellow, from black to grey; past the singular glove, illuminated under the sickly light of a streetlamp like a dead ballerina on stage before the curtain falls… it doesn’t matter to me. I would unzip my jeans and crawl on my stomach across a carpet of broken glass. I would coat my feet in petrol and walk across hot coals. I would look up to an empty sky and acknowledge angels that exist like cobwebs in a hurricane. I just want to keep side by side, footstep to footstep, even if the mind lags far behind.