I keep the scroll around me at all times. A few years ago, I had a mannequin hand, long with slender fingers that I painted bright green and nails painted red. For awhile, it was my talisman. Then I moved and the hand was lost along with some coffee mugs. A friend gifted me the scroll, which dangles halfway down my chest and it became my replacement talisman.
I was supposed to write my hopes and dreams for that year, or some bullshit like that, but now seven years have passed- the scroll remains empty. I never tire from inquirers demanding to know what´s written on it. Sometimes I lie and say something ridiculous like, “Two for the price of one.” Other times, I feign seriousness, pretending the words are a sacred part of me I'm unwilling to share.
So, you're probably wondering what the significance this scroll plays in my life, especially considering I didn´t follow through on the given instructions for it. Let´s just say that sometimes you need a constant in your life and sometimes you aren´t in the position to choose.
I can't depend on my paycheck month to month.
I can't depend on my deadbeat boyfriend.
I can't even depend on my dog to remember all the tricks I've spent months trying to teach him.
But I can depend on people- acquaintances, strangers, family members alike- to question me about my little scroll. This provides me with the closest comfort of the heart I can get. And it's this comfort that I carry with me.
Beneath the Dunes
Tiny yellowish-brown specks whirl around my neatly painted toes as a layer of foamy white water is being pulled by the uncompromising current back out to an unforgiving sea. For an instant, nothing is beneath me. It's only as the last grain of sand disappears that another shore rushes forward. A temporary balance restored.
As I inhale the salty air, I notice that my watch has stopped ticking. Both hands are still inside its gold frame, marking the moment for a new battery. But I don't need a reminder of another passing hour. Time has begun to pull at me like the tide. Like the frayed ends of my worn out sweater, which I can get over my head but something about it just doesn't suit. My sweater matches the outdated wash of clapboard cottages that line this beach: dim hues of mint green and sherbet orange. All begging to be remembered.
Nearby, a half-dilapidated sandcastle struggles to stand against the tide. A child has forgotten to take in the small striped pail used for construction. It, too, is swept away.
I'm not here to build sandcastles.
My heart is hidden somewhere beneath the dunes behind me. I buried it here last autumn to the ding of a thousand wind chimes and chorus of a dozen seagulls circling overhead. Together, they wove a hymn of tranquillity.
The weight of my heart had become too heavy to carry alone. So, I brought it here for safekeeping- wrapped in a paisley printed scarf and tied with a beige twisted paper cord. I haven't missed its beating or rhythm. Its pounding or pressure. After a few weeks without it my body adjusted to its absence, operating as if it had never been a part of me. As if it had always existed parallel to the rest of my being.
An echo has followed me from beneath those ridges of sand. It finds me when I´m in the company of complete silence. A faint murmur of drumming disrupts the quiet. When it begins to thump wildly, demanding to be heard, I come back. I stand atop the dome-shaped dunes, my limbs rejoicing to be whole again. However, I'm still unable to unearth this tenderness of mine, sinking lower into the ground each day.
Lifted by a gentle breeze, the prickling wool of my sweater starts to scratch my neck. I turn to face the solemn hills sprinkled with bent grass. Perhaps one day I'll approach them, shovel in hand, eager to restore my broken soul. For now, I'll continue my wandering towards solitude along the curling water. I pull my sweater closer and reach for a pack of smokes from my back pocket. Smoking isn't allowed out here but neither is feeding the gulls and people do it all the time.
The low horn of a ship groans in the distance. One long hooooooonk. It's changing course to starboard.
I look down as another wave breaks upon my feet.
A Winfield-raised Oslopolitan trying to master the art of napkin stories.