barefoot, in a mere whisper of a shift dress, i find myself wandering along an endless empty road. a road that stretches out, like an unfurling roll of film, for as far as the eye can see. it is the only road and it cuts through the barren landscape i find myself immersed in. all is still. the silence is deafening. the hills, lonely and watching, roll off unto the horizon. the trees, stripped bare, stand brittle and from where i stand, they resemble inky-black cut-outs from some vintage animation. the sky is purple and there are very few clouds; yet, although it is warm, a shifting breeze bristles and stirs me – causing goosebumps to rise upon my bare arms.
“where are we?” i say.
in the suffocating silence, my voice seems to boom and echo all around.
“we are here…” my lover says. i listen to his voice as it slowly dimishes and decays into the clay hills. the air feels empty. only he and i exist here, in this two-dimensional sketch of a world. it is a queer reality.
i turn to him and take his hands. the breeze toys with his hair. we kiss for what seems like eternity as this reality shifts, like time-lapse cinematography. we kiss for thirty thousand sunrises and moonsets. we kiss through a blurred opus of seasons that even the greatest concert pianists’ fingers could not fathom nor play. through the prickles of March and her petty wars; the scorch of Augustus’ summer tirade of circuses and circumventions; through the teasing and taunts of October and, like the duality of Janus himself, we kiss on through, facing future and past simultaneously.
all this, in an instant. a flash.
i look at he, he looks at me. we are ourselves mirrored within mirrors of mirth and melancholia. this landscape holds no distraction. we are alone here. we walk, from our hearts, knowing this land as if retracing our footsteps from earlier visits, and visitations.
we walk along these unfurled films of both archive and future cuts.
we stop, on the crest of a hill, to admire the view. ’tis beautiful. a beauty of which we have never seen. tangerine clouds hanging loose upon a turquoise sky. in the distance, the sea seems to stutter and splash.
the sun has descended and night is waiting, stage left, to make her dramatic entrance. the air smells of lavender.
we look around us and run… run into the thick of the lavender fields that now surround us.
run. run. run. run. run.
giddy in its fragrance, we stumble upon a clearing where a large circle of freshly turned soil – as pure and white as talcum powder – feels cool and soft beneath our naked feet. in the clearing stands a tall and grand grandfather clock. its ticking seems wise and constant, like a beating heart or metronome. we rest upon a plaid mattress and stretch out, like starfish.
like children, we lie on our backs. we stare up into the sky. we reach up and grapple for the fruit clouds slung tantalisingly low in the sky. we pull off and pick at the puffs of tangerine cloud, as if we were plucking a distant childhood memory of spun sugar cotton candy. it tastes divine. exotic. sweet, like Chinese mandarins.
“we must keep moving…” he says, now standing, facing south west.
we continue on our journey as night enters the stage behind us. we hear her deserved applause and accolade fade off into the distance. she is a star. still… there will be many more stars and nights like this.
we walk along these unfurled films of both archive and future cuts. fascinated. fascinated by the world we have created. strange structures line the road ahead, down to the ocean’s edge. our edge of reason.
what are they? they look like old stave churches but they are neither old -nor wooden. they are odd. they are gleaming, like a 1950s American refrigerator. flat colour and polished chrome. they stand tall and odd, like pods planted or placed for some purpose… i walk up to the nearest stave pod. it is beautiful. it is bright azure and chrome. i see my own distorted reflection in its shiny bowed limbs. i see my lover stand behind me; his eyes, an equal blue, beam back.
“open the door” he says.
together, we push open the heavy door and find ourselves within its cold clutches.
in complete awe and wonder, we explore its honeycomb centre. each cell is large enough to accommodate a soul.
“what is this place?” i wonder… running my hands inside the silken slopes of a split cell.
my lover turns to face me, and slips off my dress. we slip inside the cell and make love. its cool curved walls envelope and we seem to lose all sense of rightside up. outside as time moves at an impossible pace. once again, we are the sole constants in this seeming state of flux as the time-lapse reality continues to shift and splutter and spew out our path. outside, i hear the great grandfather clock chime. the noise is deafening and
startled, i look around me. my lover sleeps deep, beneath the fur, naked beside me; the window is open and the softest breeze seems to breathe for us; soft shadows, gifts from the moon, quietly settle against the back wall and watch us.
funny. i never thought of sleep as a spectator sport before, i think to myself. i hear a soft ringing… Emin. a ringing in my head. a migraine? too much caffeine or calamus? it is then, i realise i can still see…
i remove my eyes and nestle into my lover’s back.
“come, we must keep walking…” he says, as our hands couple and clutch across his dreaming chest, as he leads the way.
words & image (c) Kat McDonald 2016