This is the Life

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Places of memories not mine. Houses with pointless windows. Glass that somehow might still hold a history of gazes-through, gazes and what they held. People feeling, feeling as they looked out. Around those real people the walls, the paint, the wallpaper. If only it was possible to hear the noises these things absorbed, sucked in and hid. The thoughtless hiding of things.

Let them out. Then I would have person-noises not mine.

Beneath my feet, feet protected in strong shoes made long ago by hands I’ve given up wanting to hold or by machines which moved, lie buried histories. Fingers touched or passed things with a caress, food, books. The air carried emotion in spoken words, songs, murmurs and secrets whispered.

Histories, but the dead are only real when you can share them.

Books, books so much. The silent aching of books no one imagined could happen. Messages from one heart to another calling into a void. The everlasting nothing.

Something crashes not far from me, near that tall metal thing. A roof has collapsed? Must be a shop or something. Dogs bark, growl, whimper, fight over tins of food broken up by falling bricks and lintels.

I’ll head that way after they’ve finished and moved on. I have a metal knife. Good for opening things. A crowbar; good for getting to them. It’s my best weapon too. Dogs don’t like crowbars, though soon I’ll be too weak to wield one. Not long now. I feel the stiffened joints, swollen knuckles and tight chest so many talked about and wore as themselves – the growing of oldnesses.

The sun has gone down in my body. Light flickers and fades day by day. There is no following dawn I know of.

Too many empty dawns anyway. Too much wandering through decades, in circles, at random, over hills, through streams. A useful rucksack found in one town, clothes in another – all history, anonymous and no belonging.

I pass this way some years. The place I had parents. There is the play park. It’s all twisted metal among strong trees now. The fence people leaned on, watching me, staring. Grown-ups from all over the world came to see. Once, but only once, I saw a teenager. I never saw anyone younger than that – ever. Some adults tried to get her to play too. Looking shy she struggled deeper into the crowd, awayness like I wished I knew how to do. I wasn’t playing but frightened like her. How could I play? So many eyes, sad faces, numbed, all pressed-peering. Face-lined streets as I walked with Mum and Dad. Hands reaching, the touching me people. The watchers outside our house. Hard fingers pointing harder: choked words.

Or whispers: There … the last of the children.

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©Gary Bonn 2018

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