Written by India Shead
Graphic by Ana Isaacs
This piece was originally published in ‘Pleasure and Danger’, Bossy’s 2020 print edition.
There’s a light I cannot reach.
The pillars fall down,
the tunnel is enclosed
the breath is a valley –
I can hear the concrete scream.
All at once –
the world is a blur
spinning on its axis, again, again, again –
and yet there is no certainty.
The devil comes with three.
First there came the news one day,
an ordinary Wednesday –
and yet – childhood naivety
no longer –
it is gone –
and with it, the ideal that love can last forever.
I was wrong.
For nature lies –
they tell us that penguins mate for life,
and yet love –
it doesn’t last.
Then there came the drill call,
the papers, the words which fill a page –
which fog my brain
I can’t focus on psychology when my mind
has forfeited the ghost –
when I fear the walls of my love will fall
just as the walls which balanced my childhood
And yet – they were the precursor –
to the panic attack inducing reality –
that your face will remain behind a screen,
Your hands I will rarely touch –
for what was meant to last until July will continue
until the beach is screaming.
I thought you would return –
yet deep down I knew the truth –
The truth about all of them.
That parents sleeping in different beds
barely seeing –
that work will pile and pile
until it all comes falling down –
that you will see no reason to return
when we can’t stand arm in arm
or kick a soccer ball.
I knew all the truths,
yet I chose to ignore them –
I chose to live
in my webs of desires, of distortions –
false hope – optimism – blind ignorance – denial.
I thought that eternal love would never die,
that rings were cemented in their children –
I thought that ignoring the impending signs,
that putting it off till tomorrow would result
in tomorrow never becoming today –
I thought that you’d come back,
that we would be together again,
that we wouldn’t spend the first year apart –
I thought that I mattered more.
And yet it is foolish to expect you to leave,
to leave security, financial stability –
and yet –
I thought you would.
I thought that you were daring, adventurous, risk-taking –
ready to live free –
I thought you would make sacrifices for me –
unrealistic beliefs –
I fell under the spell of fairy tales
knocked until my breath had ceased –
All of it.
I saw ignorance as a past naivety,
I thought I could read people –
and I did.
I just failed to accept that reality strips you to the bone –
beats you –
berates you –
empties you –
leaves you broken, lying naked and crying –
hauled over on the bathroom floor shaking –
For the light is broken.
It moves –
farther and farther away until
you are nothing
It has won.
And yet –
we keep walking,
we keep fighting,
we charge through pillars of concrete and run
bloodied and bruised