My temple aches a little bit, there’s a residual feeling…dizziness is it? Tremors and locked elbows lever me balanced on the sink. The monotonous buzz of the exhausted fan and the smells of last night’s takeaway, the way last night’s cast shift and rearrange themselves in the act of speaking; spin me. All this because of a determination to worship at temples that sacrifice my beliefs and my liver. If only it were as exotic and noble as that. Barmen serving hosts of deliverance in places given religious feel by votive yet muted lamps and prayerful murmurs of real drinkers. We lean respectfully with hands clasped at an altar where bottles of syrupy brown sweet drinks replace the effects of crucifixes.
Today, my Holy Communion wafer is munching multi-type sock colored vitamins while I hold confession with a cracked bathroom mirror. I paw with my palm and pull the eyelid down, failing to believe what I am seeing and take a deep breathing solace in the reddened world of partially closed eyes and cold tile floors. I am convinced I belong somewhere else; I don’t know where, but somewhere so far back in time and space that I will never again be able to retrieve it. Time and space that was delivered with an ice-cream van playing the notes of summer, with a hopeful congregation gathered on bicycles.
If they were not memories then they would be dreams; best comprehended horizontally in my current state…Let me rest a minute.
If I become a brontosaurus in the next life…I will love you in silence while pre-historically chewing vegetation. I would regard you with the awkward love of the very tall and lengthy, jealously turning uncomfortably sideways at any rex, diplodocus or mammoth who offered you a sense of danger that my awkward legs cannot. I would bow my head with a conveyor belt of connected tissue in order to tenderly, tremulously, nuzzle your neck with my head. This is a secret…I tell you this but you this only alone, I am a tender soul. Even before my seventh drink. I am submissive, like the staring eyes of a waiting dog, with imploring human looking eyes, whining with the torment of a captive, and which you end up shooing away with a back-flap of the hand.
The television in the corner bounces a shiny spectrum of plastic light across the varnished bar and ghost figures wriggle across the dull of my glass containing more sweet brown. I’ll tell you this story now, if I may. Imagine. The life of a person whom each day does the same. Let’s call them an illusionist. They create the magic of the self. It comprises a life of endless repetitive looking houses, ponds, parks and the tiled facades of acquaintances. Vehicles, road tolls, coffee cups, emails and ‘post-it’ notes. Of people who smile at people who calculate intentions. Of affairs and traces of downloaded, bookmarked and deleted evidence.
Then one day, the illusionist makes a decision. He waves his handkerchief goodbye like a real magician instead of simply leaving. He rejects the endless repetitive houses, like the images of a flick cartoon, by folding the book and putting it in the top hat for the hapless rabbits to chew. He refuses to accept managerial policing of the intellect and the reduced geography of his time zone. His pen becomes a long-tail boat, laden with exotics pattering across the sea of a white Formica table top detailing the map of a journey in a sea-burned notebook.
Then his head slips.
Every head slips. They realize that they are daydreaming, and the elbow propped up on the white Formica table tears them back into the illusion, bleaker and more repetitive and with stooped shoulders.
Have you ever suffered the daily death of waking up next to someone you mildly detest? Driving to work together, eyes still shadowy with sleep, both of you already heavy with disappointment and tiredness, empty of words, feelings, life? Well, imagine that whole of the world in miniature diorama, this whole web of sad habits, this oppressive melancholy the size of a black hole paperweight – inside which it’s snowing monotonously on and on. Imagine that it evaporates, vanishes, broken along with the roots binding it to that quaint crocheted life of resignation and the links to people that bore you silly ; and you woke up in the back of a truck!
A roofless truck, where everything fluctuates. Colors, trees, smells, the gigantic shape of things – where the sky builds and demolishes a stairway of clouds upon which your eyes trace destinations, like a great enraptured bird. Where you hold out your hands and hold the hands of those you love who hold out their hands; and they laugh and point and feel that tingle the brontosaurus feels each time he…sees…you. When the smiles they smile creates eyes screwing up so tight that their laughter ricochets around your vibrant bursting heart like the bouncing of the bones inside your body as bodies bounce in the back of the truck.
And then the truck idles. So quiet, that you can hear the sound of a beard grow. And the only prayers worth asking, have already been answered by the consoling fingers of the sun.
And then the truck pulls away, and you roll over the back of your own head while laughing all the way into and out of your accidental orbit.
I have to get back up. I need to go to work. I feel like I have been run over. By a truck. Yet not enough.
(Someone claimed on headed paper somewhere that the brontosaurus never even existed).
‘An inescapable Brontosaurus’ is part of a collection of stories.Be social, go on! Share this post.