From: Maggie Valentine <email@example.com>
Date: 27 March 2010 00:46:00 AM AEDT
You pulsate through even the question of what to have for dinner.
You are trapped deep in my nerve, Mack. You have spread under the surface of my skin like a bruise. You are the slick sliding down my neural pathways. The snap and lock and spark that causes the lights to blow when I flick a switch.
You are the click of my land mines before they explode. The flavour I taste when my mouth is empty. You are the moment before I come, all taut and jangled nerve, more acute and curious than the consummation.
You are my own teeth on lip, the ache of my breast. You are the inexplicable detachment of mind to body, so that my head is there when I am here.
You are the memory of muscle, the quickening of my blood. You are the juice that flows through me and makes me wet when I have not even noticed the weather.
You who loses no sleep over me, who turns to another and makes your bed every morning (and the nights I cannot bear to think of).
You, who cannot know how far and completely I have fallen.
M (Your Valentine)
Image by Joanne Piechota
Sometimes, I time travel through their wounds.
I take them back to before. Before the wheels over-corrected, or the under-tow pulled too hard. I take them back to the moment before they said yes to that guy or before they turned that corner – before life began to slide away from where they’d been.
I’m piecing them back to how they were, when they were whole and untouched. Everyone has it. Every body has it. A time before. Some people get further along than others – some get to live entire lives in the before.
Others come with the smallest amount of time and grace, and fall quickly into the after.
Into the after. The new working title for my second novel. To write, I need a literary leitmotif, a melody of words and ideas to thread through the story. I’ve found it here. Now the work begins …
i could put oceans between us
but you are still
the silver thread
under my skin
(the glint and rise
on my dark night sky
that summons me
The feeling is immediate under my toes. A sensation of sinking in, of earthing myself. The sand starts warm and soft underfoot, and closer to the water it becomes damp and hard, leaving my footprints in a trail behind me.
I scratch a crooked heart with my big toe and watch as a wave licks at it, then washes it away. A pang – is that how easily we lose something? I look out, fix on the moment where sky and sea merge, and I feel a kind of horizon ache. A sadness that expands before me.
If you are here right now with me Ben, you are the anchor, the thud that brings me back.
I keep walking, letting the last slide of each wave wash over my feet. We acclimatise to the coldness best in this way, inch by inch of skin, no surprises. I have never understood people who run toward the water, who dive straight in.
I have always been one to sink under slowly.
– Anna, The Memory of Stars
If I could crawl us back into our skins, dissolve back into this night, I would.