EPIPHANY BEFORE MOURNING
Some wounds never heal. They itch; become almost unbearable, leaving a presence that is always felt. Despite understanding the consequence, Andrea continues to scratch, picking at the scabs of yesterday until monochrome recollections begin to bleed bright blood red.
She knows no good can come of this, but bad habits are always so hard to break and now, more than ever, she needs these ten-ton memories. She prays the weight will cease crushing her, that their heaviness will provide just enough momentum to pull her from this constant orbit; a slow downward trajectory, spiralling dangerously closer to the dark star that is her beating heart.
The chill of the bedroom encourages her to dress quickly, the thin crack in the curtains revealing that it’s still night outside. No sign yet of the sun; no hint of warmth to be found within this tiny sliver of reality. Andrea pulls on her jeans, laces her trainers, each layer of clothes a subtle acknowledgement that all of this is finally happening.
Coffee sits in a flask next to some slightly stale pastries, quietly prepared then stashed away the previous day. As she breaks fast, it’s time to worship music. A homemade mix tape unwinds on the cassette player that she treasures more than life itself, this new beginning kickstarted with Morrison’s The End. Headphones on, Andrea silently mimes the song. The lyrics are no longer an unfulfilled wish. Now they are an incantation, inviting in the dawn and challenging whatever it may bring.
Tiptoeing down the staircase, muscle memory places her feet in just the right place so floorboard groans are narrowly avoided. Beer bred snores emanate from behind closed bedroom doors, a clear indication that her escape, if heard, will go unheeded. Andrea scoops up the set of car keys from the threadbare sofa, slips through the door like a whisper. The splutter of an engine and she’s off and away.
It’s really that easy.
Much later, parked up by an unploughed field, she marvels at the pocket money toys that are still languishing in the glovebox: fuzz covered wine gums, felt tip pens, a yo-yo. Iridescent soap bubbles are blown. Youth shimmers fleetingly across their surface, even though the child that owned them vanished a long time ago.
She suddenly needs to feel the air upon her skin.
Outside, above her, celestial ghosts are still ablaze despite their deaths. Proof enough of a heaven for all the lost souls. Andrea collapses back into the long grass, cold dew moistening her fingertips, clutching at the ground, wondering if this will be enough to stop her falling off the earth.
She ponders why all humans need to die each night, the smothering cloak of unconsciousness drawing a line through their existence, just to be reborn again the very next day.
If ever there was a moment, she thinks, when the end credits should roll, then this should surely be it.
Contemplating a lifetime waiting for a theme tune that never seems to arrive.