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Simultaneously vain and scared.
Procrastinator and dreamer.
6 / Katorome
Maa.mi. Hm? Her head turns, halo of hair shivering slightly. What is katorome in English?
First day. After tears, kids bounce and bound about. He wears a turban on his head. Grey shorts. White shirt. Blue tie. Knee high socks. He chases her. He flicks her white and grey uniform up. Pale-blue-cotton panties. He tries to touch her katorome.
8 / Lot’s wife’s name
May looks through the bathroom keyhole and observes her semi-naked family members sat on the toilet.
Sheri sits on the hard wooden bench each Sunday for the service. Dutifully she turns the thin well-thumbed pages of her holy book to the appropriate scripture then lets her mind wander…
They have a pea green couch with velvety material that was in vogue sometime in the seventies before May was born. She lays on the couch notorious for swallowing up pens and nail cutters, tea spoons and her mother’s car keys, on her stomach she moves ever so gently back and forth thighs clenched tight, then faster and faster as the sensation grows stronger and her right calf begins to tense up, then there is some kind of release and she rises quickly and heads off to play.
Sheri longs to ask questions that no one allows her to voice, why does God only speak to men? Why is HE a he? Why are women lauded for being submissive and respectful?
What was Lot’s wife’s name?
11 / She just is
May is all smooth skin and muscle. She might be described as a tomboy but this term means nothing to her. She just is. Climbing trees, over fences, swinging high and jumping off, running then crashing to the ground, lying on the mowed grass and making out dragons, giraffes and crocodiles in the cumulous clouds.
Sheri locks herself up in her parents’ room. Tape recorder. Cassettes. Cushion on chair. Facing the large mirror. This week’s top 10! Bands. Songs. DJs. Ads. Bzzzzz honeycomb Cadbury’s chocolate. Number 1 for three weeks running Yvaly with “Darkness”: “There was a time I used to knoow when all my dreams came true, there was a time I used to be.ee content with life, there was a time I used to be.ee so proud of me, but now there’s darkness all around me now, I don’t know what to do, there’s darkness all around me now I don’t know what to say, there’s darkness… darkness… darkness…daark-nesss plee.ease help me if you ca.an”.
Two boys in the red dust of the hockey field where during break times a minimum of five games of football are played. It may look like chaos. It is difficult to navigate. May walks tall. Ready to duck. The boys follow mere meters behind. “miro!” Laughter.
14 / S+G <3
Sheri eats half the black forest cake. Sugar. High. Disgusted and elated. Defiant. Her body, her weapon and battleground.
May has never played team sports. Relays don’t count. Her companion is her breath. She forgets herself for a fragment of a second as she moves. Later she’ll understand this is bliss.
What does it mean? He looked straight at me and blinked twice. Gino. S+G
He is tall and dimpled. May can feel the air’s electric fuzz. buzz. crackle. pop. His lips part and reveal vampireish canines. She can’t stop staring.
In this strange new place Sheri has no friends. Kind-Julie with pale-washed-out skin and rectangular glasses, her over-the-knee school skirt that hides bony wobbly dry knees doesn’t count.
17 / Reeling
Her mother goes through her things while she is at school. She doesn’t even try to hide it. No privacy. Only her mind, her thoughts.
Ridiculous Mills and Boons. A car. Him. Her. It doesn’t hurt, they fumble, she thought he’d know more, he didn’t know she was a virgin, she doesn’t come, he asks if she’s okay, yes she says, she wants to pee.
Do not write this down. Whisper it as the water runs over you, as steam coats the mirror; share your secret with this contained, regulated, hot rain.
“I got completely drunk yesterday, my first time, here at home, the folks in bed, me, alone, swigs from the whiskey, brandy, cognac bottles. Lining them back perfectly, waiting to feel, something, going back for more, spilling whiskey on my top”.
What now, what happens next?
On her back trying to hold the vomit back.
21 / Unrequitable
He is good foreign. She is the wrong kind of foreign. He is too good looking for her. After the beautiful girl has had sex with him. Twice. After they drink on the terrace. After a windy restless night where she is bitter over the weight of her stomach, her touching together thighs, they drive to the vineyards. On the earth, enclosed by gnarled stems and green leaves, she tastes, licks, salt on her lips.
Best of friends. Just friends. Unrequitable love. She draws for him. White pen on black paper. She does not believe she is an artist. He hangs the two works on his wall.
She sits on the hood of the slowly advancing car. She slides, slips, filming shakily. She doesn’t know how. She doesn’t know this is a good thing.
23 / Meanderer
Public bath. Sat on a tiny stool. Lather and scrub. Scoping the room from the corner of her eye. White skin. Black hair. No eye contact. The pools of hot water are delicious. Sheri almost forgets. Her girth. Almost forgets.
May shouts at red-faced in-the-closet crude-funny, clingy Mitch on a sidewalk in the city of motorcycles. She leaves. He follows. She buys a bus ticket to the north. He buys one too. On the bus she kisses Nico who is losing his hair.
It feels like a biology lesson. His tongue. The bristle of his stubble. Her nakedness. Her folds. Her breasts that submit to gravity.
Nico and his friend speak a tongue she does not understand. She walks off alone. Walks until red sky turns purple turns wistful blue turns dense black. Lost. Meanderer. Yellow dirty lamplight creates tall thin immobile shadows. Up ahead, four shaky shadows move in her direction.
26 / Who the fuck knows when
Yes absolutely that means no probably.
Later that means who the fuck knows when.
29 / Deception / Deceived / Deceiver
May still does not know how. A sensation of lack. Wipe the tabletop! Sweep the floor! Chuck the cigarette butts into the trash!
Action that masks inaction.
Sheri is afraid. The distance, the cold look, void of desire. The politeness. The lack of anger.
She sees them / there / beautifulhappy.
She wants to be part of that / she has no fight left in her / she would concede if only she were a part of that.
Deception / Deceived / Deceiver.
33 / Her mark of uniqueness
The pain of exclusion shaped the self that she became.
Her mark of uniqueness,
Her crutch, her answer to probing that went too deep.
She had a story
Well rehearsed and polished.
The short version spoken in her throaty voice that tells THE anecdote and ends with a brisk “soitwasalonelyshittytimeman”.
36 / Banal / Pain
The sound is scratchy. His voice is clear enunciating each word. He says, “Your pain is trivial…”
“…Except in so far as you can use it to connect with other people’s pain”.