Without Strings

One Boxing Day I wrote about a father and son visiting a grave. I hoped with my words I could manifest enough love or tape to fix the hurt they no doubt felt. Since then, I’ve learnt the holes in human hearts cannot be darned like socks. The holes we make are not always perfect circles. Some gape like the eyes of orphaned children in war torn cities. Some sting like paper-cuts and return with a dull ache whenever you swim in the sea.

I’ve realised my words are not enough when they come from places I imagine, instead of from places I’ve seen. What I mean is, I could never describe a morning in the Caribbean as well as the quiet loneliness of a car park at 7 am, because I’ve never been. So the poem about how a father and son must have felt, stood and staring at a headstone, reads insincerely because I go to cemeteries to embrace the quiet, rather than whisper hello and goodbye and I miss you, to someone I love and lost.

This year, I will write about the drunk man warbling the chorus of Bohemian Rhapsody in the street. I’ve been here in the sense that I live here and months ago I would have wanted to wrap both hands around his throat. Since then, I’ve learnt sleep only arrives medicated or if I let it. By let it I mean: take a long bath in branded ‘Sleep Easy’ bubble bath, wear comfortable pyjamas or nothing at all, drip lavender oil onto my pillows, drink two to three cups of camomile and valerian root tea and settle into bed three hours before you would ideally like to be asleep. Sleep is precious and only becomes more unobtainable the angrier you become when it evades you. So, I laugh.

I laugh at his broken melodies and smile as his voice echoes off streetlights with Christmas cheer and too much beer. I thank him for the late night; for the inspiration to write. I wonder if the father and son find moments like this, where they disregard what the neighbours will think. I wonder if I will ever feel without strings; a Pinocchio who learns how to fly and forgets how to lie.


© Kristiana Reed 2018

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