This place is mapped on the inside of her skin. The archway, the hole that tumbles down, driven into the earth as if some great creature had dug and dug—the stone sides like the walls of a mausoleum. 30 metres down the tunnel cuts to the side and there is a second archway lifting towards the light.
Following the news cycles’ unremitting misery, I’ve started to imagine a utopia where women don’t have to constantly engage in dialogue about their experience of oppression. It’s a world where women meeting for the first time bond over their favourite books rather than their respective brushes with sexual assault.
I distanced myself from the digital furore for the sake of my own mental health. I couldn’t go on twitter or Facebook without being exposed to things that I found triggering. Women’s voices were being amplified—an indisputably good thing—so why was my internal dialogue conflicted?
I once thought boredom to be beautiful. Not that I experienced anything beauteous when bored, I just assumed the sheer mass of non-experience was, in itself, an experience. It took place in such loaded, symbolic surroundings that I considered it beautiful.
Talk was vain and Jac took little pleasure in it. The tanned man driving the taxi from the airport out into the flat expanse of country had attempted it from behind his handlebar moustache. She had taken ever longer pauses between responses until, finally, he ceased.
I won’t be replying to a series of individual questions in this column, rather writing about themes that I see recurring—the most common being straight men asking how to 'fuck good'. And I'm never going to deal with that. It has been dealt with. Please leave me alone.
We buy the dog, the puppy, whose name in this story is Maggie, though really it is Sylvie. We might have considered calling the dog (as opposed to the fiction) Maggie, but some friends called their baby Maggie, removing it from our list of possibilities.
They met without ‘preconceived ideas’ about their world. They meant the world they would make for one another. When apart, they were often ‘in pain’. This was their truest ‘commonality’. They used such words. The source of pain mattered little.
He stands in front of the mirror, both hands clutching the side of the sink, nose grazing the toothpaste-splattered mirror. He ignores the razors and multiple bottles of aftershave crammed on the ledge. He ignores the soggy mat beneath his feet. He looks deep into his dark brown eyes and reaffirms his right to get the things he wants in life.
I learned about the wall the same way everyone learned about the wall; it was just there. The sun is warm, the lavender smells like lavender. When the traffic lights turn green, that means ‘go’. The wall was built to protect us from the people on the other side, and if you get too close the soldiers start shooting.