Under the Surface

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If you look closely, there’s ash on the surface of a flowing lake. It sits for a bit upon the choppy, liquid plain before being absorbed out of existence. The ash is the same colour as her pubic hair, and her pubic hair resembles the legs of spiders. There are spiders in jars. There are also pennies in jars. The pennies are adorned with the date of her birth, and when I’m drunk and failing miserably to write something worth reading, one by one I take them out and slide them inside the folds of her labia. The pubic hairs wrap around my fingers like the flailing arms of drowning children. I’ve never seen a drowning child in real life, but I have in a video I once stumbled across on a gore site. It was of a group of refugee children from Syria. They were packed into a giant rubber dingey in the middle of the sea. The dingey hit a wave and overturned, and then, after several minutes of thrashing about, the children slipped under the surface and into some other realm entirely. The person filming kept filming, which was weird, because for them, and ultimately for me, life would continue, but not for the tiny hearts who succumbed to the deep blue nothing beneath their sinking feet. The spiders of her sex—they resemble her eyelids, and when she sleeps, I snip them off while listening to Mozart on my headphones. I have a thick, leather-bound book, full of all the things I’ve taken from her: hair, flakes of skin, toenail clippings. Stuck onto textured paper, the objects float around with the words I write, and although the words I write are okay, they never come close to the magic of the relics beside them. That ash though, on that lake. The way the river snakes around her hips, and how her hips hit mine and her flesh bounces like jelly. Strawberry jelly. Like the kind my nan used to make me after school. I’d always eat pudding at the table in the dining room, but one time, when I feigned illness, I ate it upstairs in bed. Little comes close to my memories of this. Little comes close to any memory of mine before the adult world came and sank its teeth in. Now I am an adult too, and I sink my teeth in like the vampire I am. What else can I do?

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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