Tell Me a Story

Maybe it’s that story. You know. The one that never happened. Or maybe it’s a combination of several that never happened. That works too. The best stories that never happened. All rolled into one pretty little parcel. In a sort of ‘this is how it was supposed to happen’ kind of way. Would that I knew how it was supposed to happen.

So we’ll spin it. Over coffee. At a show. The little things. The Take Away Concerts of life. Moments that, no, not moments, vignettes that create a complete picture. ‘This is how it was.’ All of it is a painting. Why should that be any different? Only a slightly less abstracted painting. Impressionist, rather than outright abstract. There’s a good way to look at it. The story is Impressionist, the modern vignettes are Dali-esque, and what else? Who knows? All of it abstracted somehow. I don’t have the comparison. Think someone with bright colours, an eye for detail, but turning the picture into what they want it to be, not necessarily what it was. An artist’s eye.

And here, our lives! Presented in glorious Technicolor. Just the way we would have wanted to see them.


Her Porcelain Skin

Call it fleeting. Call it a moment that, in another life maybe, led to something.

You know, I thought of you once. It was a moment pretty much like this one. Quiet. During that mid-afternoon lull. When the world pauses for a few minutes and thinks about resetting. Take a break. We’ll come back to that.

And then she spoke the words, and everything changed. Wanna know how it happened? It was a whisper, that carried such a weight. And it’s such a weight to carry. Whispers always carry weight. That’s how we say the things worth saying. The things that we’re scared to say out loud. You can only speak reality in a whisper. It’s how we trick ourselves and get past the filters. I’m not really saying this out loud, I’m just thinking it. Do you believe me now? How about now? Silence. It’s the best answer.

Looking for patterns in the chaos. Trying to figure out where we go from here. Like playing an endless game of hide and seek. Tell me what you see, and every time it changes. Close your eyes, count to fifty, and everyone around you disappears. Thanks for the loyalty guys, but it’s all part of the game. They’ll be back. But the moment they return you lose. Somebody wins, somebody loses. Try and get out of that clause in life!

She told me she had a scar, a fleck on her porcelain skin.

Accidental Metaphors

‘Some things just don’t ever feel right,’ she said to me, and threw the stone she’d been holding into the Sound before reaching to pick up another one. ‘And sometimes, you can’t say why, but it just fits.’ She looked down at the stone in her hand, tossed it between her hands, and abruptly threw it into the Sound, where it landed in the middle of the expanding rings of the first. This all happened years ago. I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. I don’t think she even was. Accidental metaphors. Best kind. This is a metaphor for life I said to her. ‘A metaphor for dying you mean.’ Was that prophetic? Or was she just in that kind of mood?

Clean slate. Blank page empire. Square one. Everybody likes starting over. But not completely. Let me keep the good things, erase the bad, and we’ll, you know, build on it. See what comes. Two jumps in a week, and maybe next week we’ll make it three. Baby steps. One things leads to another leads to another. I woke up this morning in a cloud of fog. Help, help, I’m drowning! Ah wait, just a trick of the light. Suffocating quietly, surrounded by unbreathable air. Whaddaya know. Time for a change. Open your eyes. It’s the first step. I once, was blind, but now, I see. Take away the cataracts and we’ll call it golden. Milky blue turned to azure. Rains have gone. Sun is shining in the sky, there ain’t a cloud in sight. What would you say if I said to you? No wait. I’ve just thought of something worth living for. And it goes like this…

Tomorrow Today

We went to Delphi. Climbed up to the Oracle to have her divine our futures. ‘This is it!’ she cried. ‘This is where the magic happened!’  Didn’t see that one coming! Then we hiked through the ruins, posed beside the fallen statues, took off our shoes and ran on the burning sands of the stadium. ‘My hair’s blowin’ in the wind,’ flowing streaming out behind, flickering, a flame in the sun, streaking along the floor of the arena. Then we walked the streets and steep staircases of the village, clinging there to the slopes. Stayed up all night, drinking red wine and ouzo. Stayed up all night, just to watch the sun rise. To watch the rosy fingers of dawn, creeping between the mountains. And as the mist spilled into the valley below us she fell asleep on my shoulder. Or did I fall asleep on hers? We woke and went south. Traded mountains and oracles for islands and sea.

Or maybe that never happened. Let’s trade on the things I’ve actually done. Not just re-imagined versions of what really happened. That’s one of our perks though isn’t it? The ability to re-imagine the past? To colour it, tint it, however we wish. That’s what we love about a storyteller. The ability to embellish. To tell it in such a way that even our boring lives sound exciting. Can you believe I did that? That was me! Or maybe it wasn’t. But I remember it just like that! Like it was yesterday. Yesterday or a lifetime ago. Same difference. Yesterday was the lifetime of a mayfly ago. A day in the life. A life in the day. The bright spark of existence. No time for regrets! One and done. Bam! No waking up tomorrow. Tomorrow? What’s that? You wanna talk Whorfianism? Try explaining the concept of tomorrow to a mayfly! You think they can conceive of that?!

Better luck next life.

Tomorrow and Time

‘Would I could have held on to today just a little bit longer. I was lovin’ it.’ She looks longingly out the window. ‘Today never lasts as long as I want, tomorrow never comes quick enough, and yesterday seems so far away.’ She sighs. ‘Time. That bastard.’ In the far corner of the cafe Time looks up pointedly from her Vanity Fair magazine, coughs politely, and stares at Savannah. ‘Time,’ Savannah sighs again. ‘That bitch.’ 

Watching the World Go By

Some days are meant to be spent inside, curled up in a comfortable chair, with a coffee, some good music. Watching the world go by. Good day to be a voyeur. I don’t want to be a part of the world today. I just want to stand in the wings and watch everyone else act out their lives. Or I’ll be the director. You there. Take your latte, glance at it approvingly and take that first sip. More expression! I want to know you’re really enjoying it. Close your eyes. A gentle sigh of appreciation. That’s right. More feeling. Now walk slowly to the door, reach for it, but step back as a guy pulls it open from the other side and stands back to hold it open for you. Gracious smile, nod as you walk past. And the curtain falls. Time for someone else to take center stage.

We’re watching today play out before us in the exact same way as yesterday. Time for a movie script ending. Time for the plot to hinge on some uber-dramatic moment. And wait for it… the twist! Gets me every time. But I could have sworn I knew what was gonna happen next! No such luck. Every time. You know, the part where the guy meets the girl, and everything is about to work out perfectly, and then suddenly the universe conspires against them. One thing, followed by another, and we watch them spin off in different directions, lives spiraling slowly out of control. Sitting in upturned umbrellas, rocking over the waves of a stormy sea, clinging on for dear life. Whatever happened to our sunny days? Those halcyon days of old? Halcyon has a way of fading. Losing its luster. Turning to twilight. It’s always been that way, she says to me. And what of it? That doesn’t mean it has to always be that way.

Oh but it does. Ever tried to stop the sun from setting? Not the easiest thing in the world. There’s a billion years of history telling you it won’t work. Yeah, well history is written by the victors. And who really knows the first thing about physics anyway?

You can’t wish it away, you know. So you say. I didn’t get where I am today by not wishing. Note to self. Delete that previous line. 

Flotsam and Jetsam

And suddenly it all comes crashing down. Inexplicably, but speaking to a darker truth. I hate when things seem so good, but they’re not. Kinda puts my head in a spin. I’m thinking yes, but saying no, and everything is spinning around faster and faster. Stop! Let me just grab something real quick, something to hold onto. Pause for a quick breath, and then off we go again, back into the maelstrom. That or we let ourselves get cast aside. I couldn’t hack it. What to do? And we wash up gasping on a distant shore, sole survivors of the shipwreck, with the tropical storm still raging out there on the horizon. A flash of lightning skitters across the sky and the waves still come crashing in. Waves, and riding them the flotsam and jetsam of the wreck of our lives.