Tag Archives: fiction

Auburn Against the Green

In the park I am a nobody. A nothing. A part of the foliage, the cut grass, the dirt and twigs. Invisible to the human eye as they pass by with pushchairs and dogleads or sit on the bench midway round hunting Pokemon on their pocket computers. My attention rarely lingers on these hopeless creatures unless a particularly special moment catches my eye. The woman blowing bubbles for her German Shepherd to catch while a small girl watches. Or the elderly lady I saw in the spring sat so quietly and contemplatively on the bench beneath the cherry blossom tree, a confetti of pink showering her delicately with each small push of the breeze.

But no, the people are to be casually avoided with their nuisance and noise and peculiar ways.  It’s the canine and tree population I wish to capture in memory. I watch the dogs play and interact with one another, baffled by the wonder in the face of an animal enamoured with a smelly coloured ball hurled down the hill. The hurtling energy of beast in pursuit of rubber prey. Or up on the path the small dog greeting the big dog with a wiggle and a nuzzle, then waiting so patiently and politely while the big dog sniffs his bum with unrestrained attention to detail. He is collecting your stories – what you ate for breakfast, what the neighbours cat smells like when it sits on the fence with a haughty stare, what illicit salt n vinegar treats the toddler lets you slobber on before eating herself.

But I am most happiest when amongst the trees. They overwhelm me with their calm, measured presence. The play of light through foliage. The creeping signs of autumn told to me by the auburn against the green. I listen to the wind rise through the leaves like  distant applause. I enjoy the crack and thunk as the horse chestnuts throw their seeds to the ground. Shiny brown conkers encased in spiky green shells. The trees throw this perfect ammunition at us for fun and we laugh obliviously, collecting them for our children, so that they can join us in playing a game as old as time.

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Love & the Sea

It’s a funny thing. Nature, the sea, makes other things seem small. Diminutive. The waves smashing on a windy day, stealth creeping up the beach and catching you out. Water over the rims of wellies. And then rushing back out leaving behind just the dusk light. The beach shines and gleams, vivid pink & orange & blue & indigo in mackerel patterns on the dowdy sand.

If you look down and walk forward through the shallows as they rush in and then back out you feel drunk and disorientated. Like the world is travelling in a different direction to you. It is.

There’s a certain enjoyment in this anxiety. In this chaos of being. In this turbulent crisscrossing of moving things. Because you can stop any time. You can look up at a stable horizon which moves only imperceptibly. The handrail in a Fun House which steadies you when the fun gets too much.

You are the steady thing I crave in my life. An even constant that will tell the same self-deprecating jokes. And hold things up. And make things function – a wood-burner, a roasting chicken, or the part of me that can change from grumpy to cheerful at the drop of a hat.

The sand sinks beneath my feet as the waters rush in. The gulls spill across the air above the shallows, twirling and intertwining their flights with one another. Calling out stories of good fish and hidden roosts. The north-east wind is cold on my legs, defeating damp jeans or woollen tights. Large raindrops splish unexpectedly in my face despite sparse clouds. Moments later they are gone.

The sea has its own rain. Its own pace of life that is peaceful and enraged all at once. It has the raw passion of brush on canvas, of teeth on bones, of a lover calling late at night in desperation to just hear that voice before they resign themselves to sleep. I want love to make me feel how nature does.

The sound of flames licking the roof of a wood burner merge with the coastal wind outside and the occasional rumble of passing traffic on a narrow street. Everything inside is driftwood and leather and old suitcases with rusted clasps. Nautical stripes draw cotton fabrics and wool. Minimal sketches of warm clothes and layers of bedding that surround us. Swallowing us as we sink and disappear into afternoon sleeps induced by the sea air. Soggy socks and gloves dry near the fire, despondent. Every source of heat is special and loved in a climate of icy winds and persistent wet.

Here we are beyond the clouds. We have left all things behind and run entirely on adrenaline. Our bones aching from ageless woes. The cold. The storm. The storm is internal.

Love & loneliness wreak havoc on the people we forgot we were trying to be. We lose ourselves in books and movies because they say things we’re unable to articulate. If we stare at enough of them we will learn to string a sentence together. To really speak to one another. To communicate emotions and feelings that lie dormant or latent in our beings.

The truth is a dribble of cold tea on the side of a mug as it’s placed back on the coffee table. It’s a small reality that nonetheless matters for a little while to someone. But the moment passes. The pot must be stirred and the potatoes tossed in hot fat. The practical busies our hands so that they don’t idle in existential doubts indefinitely.

© Kirsty Fox 2016

Eyes Open to the Elements

Snatches of conversation as we fade in and out of conciousness, echoes of San Soleil. The cinematic touches the everyday. Fiction and fact are just library tags, they don’t separate the fake from the real. The sleepy heat draws slumber compared to the wide awake cold outside. Eyes open to the elements – the sleet, the fog, the sheet rain quivering like flying arrows in the light of a solitary street lamp. We are and we aren’t there now. A whisper in the shadows, slipping effortlessly away from outstretched fingers tips. The footfall of a fox at dawn. The intangible belongs to the dreamer snoozing against a black window pane. The pages of a book are audibly turned and we know from the pause a new chapter has begun. A new era is about to write itself. If we pause too long to dwell on what we leave behind, we’ll lose confidence to make the leap into the unknown. Every story starts with transition, an equilibrium unbalanced, scrambling off the cliff into chaos. The train pauses at the station. Someone steps off and checks the sky. We wait. The engine rumbles back into action and we set off again. Onward.

© Kirsty Fox 2015

All we never wanted

In the spiral of chaos there is nothing but tears and love and absolutes. Tenderness and doom enraptured in a dance. You know when you’re really crying because your throat hurts. It aches with cries you’ve never sobbed and screams you’ve never howled. It aches with every word you were never brave enough to say. There is nothing beyond the great spiral and nothing before it. It tunnels in on itself while growing ever greater. An all-consuming force that is at turns reassuring and terrifying. The spiral of chaos has no fate, no ultimate destination. It doesn’t promise that the right thing will happen at the right time. It promises that something will happen. You will happen to someone and they will happen to you. That bones will crack and splinter and spray. That lessons will be learned and unlearned at the bottom of a wet mountainside. We will be cowed by the spiral for she is all. All we ever wanted and all we never wanted. A phonecall. A conversation. A thoroughly well-time hug.

© Kirsty Fox 2015

Ghost Ship

The ship creaks beneath my feet, a loud aching creak like the bones of an old whale turning in his watery sleep. We drift on the dark ocean, yet it is the sea which seems to move only while we stay still. A solid steady weight afloat on fluid dreams and an imagination drawn to whirlpools. Spiralling down to an ocean bed of starfish and sea horses and beautiful ugly incredible things that man has never seen.

The ship drifts towards the whirlpool or rather the whirlpool drifts towards a still ship. A lonely creaking entity weighed down with history. War, fishing, rum, piracy – all in a day’s work. Claustrophobia and agoraphobia all at once. How do you survive in this tiny place amid so much space? How do you tell the stars from the sea? The clouds from the white wash? Are we moving or is the world moving us? Will it suck us down spinning with bubbles and deceptive light. Down into a purgatory not unlike the one we’ve left…

© Kirsty Fox 2015

Two Awkward Mannequins

The grass was green where we stepped. Changing underfoot from the straw of midsummer’s empty gasp to the green of hesitant optimism. We laughed and talked of things bigger than us. Bigger than the world. But however small and meaningless we were, it was meaningful to me. Tentative steps towards a joint future. A something. I really wanted that something. I still do.

But the grass stopped turning green underfoot. The silences grew longer. For all our talk of worldly things and existence, we couldn’t talk about you. About why you’d never meet an admiring gaze. About why you didn’t want this in solid form. The initial sketch of us was fine. It was just pints and sex and music and TV. But I couldn’t flesh us out. I couldn’t add shadow or definition. I couldn’t harden those outlines to a couple. Rather than the vague suggestion of a couple.

We stood on the corner in the cold. Awkwardly. Two awkward mannequins not knowing what to say. I was dizzy & light-headed from a lack of sugar or a sense of fatigue. Eventually, I hugged you and you hugged back like the world was about to end. The grass is concrete and the picture begins to fade. First to monochrome, then to mere lines. Finally a blank page.

© Kirsty Fox 2015

Sketch (the sound of cucumber)

A sketch is a suggestion of a world, a suggestion of a place, a time, people, objects. Leaves blown in through an open door. The absence of something you thought was there, but instead it was in another place, another time. A lost duck. A falling down wall. The innards of an old analogue tape strewn across the concrete. The white noise in your head expressed in marks on a rough surface. The smell of recently eaten toast and the sight of cold crumbs on an empty plate. The way autumn seems to to sum up all the autumns that have already passed you by in your life. The anguish of a daft dog licking your ear. The sound of cucumber (a kind of empty silence you might expect in the middle of an arctic tundra). The gentle weight of a head rested against your shoulder.

A sketch embodies these moments, these abstract concepts that are familiar and strange all at once. It is a stream of conscious not quite tangible to any mind other than the one that conceived it. And yet it still conveys some of the magic. The intrigue. The tiny sensation of what’s at the tip of our fingers……………