I’m gathering raven feathers in a field again.
I know what this means, what I mean it not to mean, but I cannot stop. I tore through the door, the shards of fragmented dreams splintered into my brain. Irritating, stuck, painful those shards, reminders of something in the future shattered back into the past.
I tore through the door down the street over cobbles and pavement towards the line of trees because the splinters ached and pulsed in the head.
You tear through the door into the trees and fields and there gather raven feathers for what you need to remember of the future, I write, realising this has not yet been written.
So I tear through the door down the street into the trees and fields and there gather raven feathers for what my future needs of my past. Alder, Pine, deer fur. I find them all just as I will remember myself doing later, wild-eyed, speaking aloud to wind, re-assuring rook and raven I’m just there for their feathers, re-assuring myself that just because I dreamed this all, the future is still unwritten.
The future is still unwritten, I want him to say to me as I stare at him in fear.
The future is still unwritten, he says to me in different words, after I tell him I am afraid.
“Of me? Of us?”
I nod, babble a bit, and he kisses me.
When I left the tram to walk towards where we would meet I saw a man coming towards me, new, strange, not the man I’d remembered I was meeting. New, strange, woven in the glamour of this place behind which the fae and feral hide and jeer at ever turning. New, strange, but the same one, coming towards to meet me.
I waved, because to run away would take more effort.
I waved, because this was not yet written.
I walked towards him, because even to turn towards the past is to walk into a future regardless, pen in hand, scrawls on skin of tree and sky.
“You’re intimidatingly hot,” I said.
“I’m just me.” he said. “You’re hot too.”
Don’t write about him, I’m telling myself, because to write about him is to consign him to words, bind him into runes and glyphs and ciphers like all the others, all those lost to the magic of words that stay.
Let him stay unwritten, I’m telling myself, lest you unwrite yourself.
So I will not write about him but write about me, write about the turn, the turnings, all those wheeling dances away from a present I want towards a future which looks like mere shadow of a past whose story I’ve overwritten and over-read.
So I will not write about him but write about me, write about the trains not taken, the emails unanswered, the offers rejected and all the vistas from which I’ve turned my eyes.
So I will write about the me I still think I am, rather than the me I forget I’ve become.
I will write how I unwrite myself out of the writing of my own story and unwrite myself from the story of others.
I will write of how to write of him and to write of me is to write how I wanted to run away when I saw him come towards me. To run away when I see him, unwrite myself and him, but I do not.
We hug, we walk, laugh. We shop for groceries. I lift a pot of cilantro from a shelf and turn to him.
“Out first plant together,” he smiles.
Inside I’m terrified but also happy. He is beautiful, so I point out the razor wire, concertina.
“In London they set up torture devices for taggers,” I tell him, recalling the spiked wheels I saw on ledges 200 feet above the Thames. “You leap, you’re impaled, then spun off into the depths.”
“That’s hardcore,” he says.
“I prefer stickers,” I tell him, lest he think I’m more punk than I am. “And not from heights.”
“Awesome!” he replies, and he seems to mean it but I don’t know what that means.
This hasn’t been written before.
He felt good, more than good: safe.
He tasted good, smelled good. His snores afterward made me happy, like the yoghurt in his beard, the way he apologized for having only almond milk for coffee, the way he stood on his balcony to see me off.
I want to write the word safe upon my skin, unwrite the fear of the present and the unwritten future.
But it isn’t safe, it never will be, as long as it stays unwritten.