Stood by the river with clasped hands and the high tide begging for our feet. I thought for the longest time that I could never live, I said. I’d come to accept that happiness was something other people felt. Arris pulled herself into the furrow beneath my arm and constricted my chest. ‘I thought I knew what happiness was,’ she said, ‘that I was living and had lived a life as happy as I might.’ I pulled her close about the shoulder and listened to the lapping water. We are always more together, I said, watching sadness float away.
It’s hard not to watch her, the water beading at her skin like sea pearls sloughed by the ocean onto a beach made of glass. You’re beautiful, I say, ignoring the shower spray hitting my face. She spits a mouthful of it in the air like a childish cherubic fountain and smiles under the downpour. ‘I’m so wet,’ she says, laughing harder than the liquid’s porcelain patter. I mean, I say, your skin looks like freshly turned ochre spread by coarse, artists fingers. ‘Shush,’ she says, get my back. I put my hands upon her gladly and drink deep.
I cut through the wrong alley on my way to an interview and hit a wall, business district grey rendering with small white type at its heart. ‘Reject Liminal Messaging,’ it said. The phrase sloshed around inside me like water in a drum. I couldn’t get it out. Everything started making no sense. I wandered aimlessly through concrete tributaries, purpose misplaced and destination forgotten. Was I the water or the drum? Was I either? By the time I hit the water’s edge the question had churned me to mist. It wasn’t until sunken that I realised I was nothing.