By Tess Bury

Time is of no importance but if I must tell you: we met long ago. Spatially, I would have classified him as a neighbour, emotionally, a stranger. We are sitting in a space occupied by nothing but celestial waste. He had decided to fix himself by means of dried noodles and butter beer.

And it’s in this house that holds all these years of stories that I have begun to inspect with childlike curiosity: all these things that seemed to have slipped by me – how could it be that I have never known them? I look at him – he considers me, and here we are looking into a constant stream of mirrors, all looking betwixt another til the end cannot be seen.

Ah, rapture! I feel that the end is near, but it is not until I am possessed and infatuated with spirits of the past (there’s spirits lurking in his speedy repast) that I begin to feel like I have been here before, like these walls have known and been known to be adorned by my shimmering (now dim) eyes and shady past.

Enough about me, I say with a smile; there’s moisture dripping from the cracks in the walls and I know that he has had enough of shallow talk.

There’s a fine line between a stranger and one who you know can see, perhaps it’s in the eyes and when he looks at me I know this to be true. So, where could it have been? Perhaps we sailed along an enraged sea in past lives (I know he’s introverted), perhaps he once was a child that was never born, on my accord (I know he keeps something inside), perhaps he’s not mentioning it because it means everything to him; perhaps it means nothing, but it’s undeniably there, and that is for certain.

And so we keep pushing along this trolley of nonsense, perhaps some conversation rolled along about stars or moon worship. I pretended to keep a straight, keen face as I knew all along he wouldn’t be able to break the farce of meaningless conversation, perhaps if I had taken it into my own accord and done it myself he would have acted a fool and pretend that he didn’t understand; a highest offence in the universal order (the totality of everything). However simple earthly woes have corrupted him, taken him off path and concerned him for far too long. I sit and wait.

Ah, yes, the council bins, they come regularly, I believe… no, I don’t understand how to assemble a radiator… yes, we came alone. We left alone, too, but that’s another story for a different day, boy!… Oranges are interesting, aren’t they? … I wouldn’t say they’re extra-terrestrial, but there’s something weird about them…

BUT, I swear to god/goddess/godself THAT:

If that damn space monkey comes up from under the bed one

more damn time talking about existential privilege once

more I swear to the Prince of England in his

almighty vision that I’m gonna punch

his lights out.

It continued; I complied. But in my mind:

A million new lights wandered through the window and I began to feel elated; I knew it was for a different time, but it’s how I get when the afternoon sun tumbles into the room like that, how does it just get me? I inhaled all the beauty I could and made a run for it, perhaps if this conversation could be hauled back into existence some other time, some other day, I wouldn’t comply.

I walked, skipped and jumped through the light (my new sunself) and it greeted me with soft hands and a ravaging grasp, how it loved me so, how I would love to know where my lover would ever be and if he could ever be thinking about me. When your love’s truly unknown how it fills your head with wonderment and awe of all the things that could have been and how they ought to be for you to be truly happy…

But, elation is not so. I know he loves me, though.

Then: to my fresh, opened eyes, I saw I had slipped off into a daydream, of the highest offence in simple earthing concordance. I blush and put my hands between my knees and murmur something about lovely occurrence #4 and pucker my lips, licking them slightly; I know he’s fooled, how a girl can get away with so much more than murder…

Time to go, perhaps, but: mmmm…. but, oh! Perhaps one more cup of tea, perhaps he does have something to tell to me. I watch him speak, he really is beautiful, my dear reader. He really is an unborn son from the past life and I know I still love him so. How could I let him go? I don’t know…

Then he leans in close (a kiss doesn’t escape my mind dear reader, oh no…), and tells me something I swear I’ll never let my mind let go, and this was all… (leans in close):

How my eyes have deceived me, I thought you were a friend, from long ago?

And there’s so much implied, dear reader. There’s so much implied.

The walls are heaving as we begin to recount all the times and ways in which we have known to be known by one and another, and I know this to be true: the teller of fortunes looks on through a crystal ball. It is not until I see a glint in his eyes whilst recounting recent tricks that an idea comes to mind so hard and so fast that I then knew what had led me to be here (the water is hot, and I want to touch it). To my universal terror, I feel pangs of distrust and fear (how I love it so).

He knew about things I have never told to another living soul, and something deep within told me to go, but: a sense of fear coming in from deep is something, if anything, that I took refuge in for the meantime.

Tingling with an anti-celestial embrace I recount and yearn with such quivering grace that he, my dear reader, couldn’t keep up his eyes, nor pace, and I felt then that everything was crumbling down nicely and perhaps we could begin to trust one another. For where does trust come from but fear? Establishing the ground rules we set out: no remorse, no pity and no disinterest (no violations here).

But in midst of conversation, I realise: Words are meaningless and forgettable, and remind myself that he is a mortal being and merely a projection from the evil professor; he does not hold meaning within himself but perhaps holds a symbolic second-hand meaning. Mere projections do not concern girls like me, getting away with murder and running through the galaxy only looking for self-immolation.

And who other concerns themselves with love but those who are insufficient (celestially) and pity-laden to the brim? A lover of mine came knocking and I swear I let him in but no longer am I alone when it comes to powerful men: my terror worldwide unfortunately knows no ends. I suspect that I am no longer worthy of circumstances that keep lovers close, and I recall this statement in head as I go, tumbling through the sunshine for real this time because life isn’t lived unless you act upon things which you know make you truly happy, and that is I! Not men, nor man can change me whilst I rub my face in the sunlight and wear the sunself’s new golden hat, trying it on, talking and laughing, it’s all good news and good weather till you let someone in, I say with a grin.

I swear I am forever alone and cosmically lonely, no loss and no win. I know that if I succumbed to the temptation of lovers and fantasy (for loving somebody is to not know them) that I would forever be blinded by violation of vocation; never living with true meaning or purpose.

Violet blue, violet blue, I say in my head as I walk down the shimmering landscape. The sun is setting, and it is truly is a bittersweet time of day and of my journey, for I am forever condemned to speaking in tongues and trusting no one but I, and my sun.

Words and art by Tess Bury