I step through scrapped paint and strewn glass, into the haloed sunlight and my domain. The first thing that strikes me is death: curled up yellow and spongy brown as my carpet. But it welcomes me in it’s own way: there, embedded in the darkness two concrete slabs forming their stenciled T. Tashan. I smile.
I step and glass crackles. I stare down into the splintered fragments of my self. Another step and more crack. But a whisper whispers that they were shattered anyway and that it is time, it has been time for a long time, to let go. Uncharacteristically, I listen.
There are two ways before me. On one side there is emptiness– air, open space, safety. On the other, there are brambles protruding from a trunk of a tree that I can’t see, curling into an open palm of a knobbly, skeletal hand. Its brittle fingers entwine with the trees opposite to block my path. I choose it anyway, fitting malleably through the gaps it leaves behind. When I stumble forward, it is into clearing, a circular clearing, splotches of green and blue and luminous brilliance. I laugh, for how can one not, for there, right in the center is a bed of moss and weeds, open to night’s constellations and the light’s fire and I belong, I am wanted, I am welcomed. Thorns catch me as I move forward and, fleetingly, I am forced to stare into the empty shell of a house, alone, abandoned, and defeated. Inhabited by wind, paint and looking glass, it begs me mournfully not to leave, to try one last time, to come back to humanity. I laugh, for how can one not, and don’t look back.
Then I see her, Hailey Royale, the non- confrontational activist. She is sitting upon my midsummernightdream’s bed, her hair sparkling with my filaments of light, her smile dancing with my stolen joy and she is not saying anything. I see the laughter in her eyes as she takes in my atmosphere and she pierces me and I flinch and my world is just that little bit tainted.
Again, I have a choice– politeness or aggression? She tilts her head slightly, still staring into my soul and I flee towards politeness.
‘Whose side are you on?’ I ask
‘Yours, of course,’ she says. ‘Isn’t that the only one there is?’
I close my eyes and go, silently, back into the house.