Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Flame Without

Night after night she held a beacon; held a flame over the waves crashing against the rocks, mimicking what Hero had once done for Leander, except this was centuries later, and she wasn't acting as a guide, but as a seeker. Trying to throw light in dark inlets hoping for a sign, or that she'd recognise exactly what it was she sought.
At first sight, like the love some people claim they've felt for another.
The blindfold would magically lift from her eyes as she realised what was truly in front of her, or she'd feel the pull like that of a magnet and be conducted to the part of her that she knew had for a long time taken leave. The re-discovered piece slotting neatly into her person and not jammed into the chasm. Like a black sheep coming home, assimilated once again into the fold as if they'd never been away.
Gone would be the repetitive Ugly Sister moments where body parts were butchered with a paring knife or cut with a pair of nail scissors so that found donor flesh could uneasily fit and reside on borrowed time. Borrowed because patch jobs only mask the pain of the search, in spite of the faint glimmer of hope they provide at the beginning. A hope which dies when the body refuses to accept the donor flesh, shakes it off as it were a parasite riding uninvited, although in the short-term it's better to be patched than have large black holes of nothing.
Knit one, purl one, drop stitch, drop stitch, drop stitch...
Dark matter, everyone can see and intrude into without asking; conjecturing as they do so as to the cause of your emptiness, your melancholia, your dissatisfaction, and as they probe the openings get bigger and bigger. There goes a kidney...the spleen...part of the intestine...a section of the stomach...a fallopian tube...a lung...a sliver of the heart...a whole breast. The small spaces of flesh lying in-between look like tropical islands. Their jagged shores surrounded by dark vacuous pools, an inky sea that a pen might dip into and write with.
But who, in this case, would be the writer?
Her? The missing part of her? Someone removed from her story? Someone who wanted to write her a new one?
A tattoo of spidery words spilling across her remaining skin and people studying them as they do passing clouds; the pictures that appear compared and analysed. Look, there's a huge somersaulting fish, over there a palm tree and in that hollow a camp fire.
What does it mean?
Why does this person have words materialising as pictures on her body?
Not one of them considering if she wants them to read or stare. Didn't anyone ever tell them it's rude?
But that's just how it is if like her you feel in some way incomplete. You come to accept it and long for a day when temporary fixes will be a thing of the past. You hope, as she faithfully does, for a gradual restoration or a sudden solution, sharp and clear, and when the fog parts, the calmer breeze will blow out the burning light. That eternal flame that was without will finally be within, and nothing how she saw it will be as it was as the time for numbly seeking will be over.
Beings having a human experience call that hope for there is never any assurance that what we think we want will come to pass. Nor is there any certainty that we will know when it is within inches of our grasp or if we will ever attain it. To search is a fickle thing...
And until that search has died a natural death, her light will waver and disorientate men; quite a few will lose their way, entangled in seaweed or dragged under by her tempestuous current, for the flame she holds is not a beacon for mankind but a self-seeking, flickering light.

Picture Credit: Hero Holding the Beacon for Leander, 1885, Evelyn de Morgan