So, I’m walking around the market on acid and codeine looking like somebody’s deep fried a shit when I realise the organic food girl has self-harmed her thighs so bad she can hardly walk, but she’s wearing these tiny shorts with her bandages all out in the sunshine so it’s kinda difficult to look her in the eye for the pain dripping out of her soul and running all into my heart. She’s one of the good ones. She talks about social media and the way she says “in this society” stabs me with the same knife I’m using to extricate myself from all of this. It’s a wretched tangle, this world. How to isolate without alienating. I see her now, she’s a juggler. She’s juggling razors. She’s on the edge of the knife doing something real for the rest of us – keeping the blade honed because Christ knows nobody else will. Everybody just trying to look away while she says something sincere to us. She doesn’t want us to ask if she’s alright. She wants us to watch her take a bow before the final curtain slams down like a guillotine. She gave my son a pear and told him he was so beautiful she couldn’t look at him. I feel the same, but I look at him all day, and then I try not to look at myself for the rest of the day. Now he’s babbling in his cot while I try to find somewhere safe to put the girl from the vegetable stall’s pain… somewhere to put my own. This opioid has jaws like a crock. All the better to chomp your life. Bones cracking. Scarification is a very thin ritual with little to veil the exit of flesh. Somewhere thereabouts the love is at. Somewhere on this thin perimeter. The doctor stalks these regions like a phantom with a mortuary key lodged in his throat. He chokes out scripts and the whole thing sets off like a fuzzy pinball of gentle damage.
Candice’s friend has a stall at the market selling pretty little framed artefacts of an origami style. They’re very well done – tropical birds and the like, all made from spirals of coloured paper, and having had much time and energy put into them. Her husband was helping run the stall. He works for Coca-Cola, which I thought very fitting. The coloured beast and the red devil all wrapped up in one. How balanced. I’m sipping a tequila and Coke at this minute. I feel like a million bucks stuffed in a briefcase washed up on a deserted beach littered with crocks. There’s a ripe sky about to burst over the valley. Is that the first little chunder for thunder or the neighbour taking his bins out? The birds are getting frantic and all I want’s to be struck by lightning, just this once. Just lay that white fire right on me. I’m ready as I’ll ever be.