Scratches. That’s what I lived by. A cautious cadence of scratches meant a gentle road, a juddering attack of scratches meant some winding or turning, and no scratches meant relief, sleep, a chance the journey was over.
I was lucky, I knew. Some displaced souls escaped in much worse conditions. Hundreds of humans in tiny shipping containers, some bodies touching bodies that were only still. Not thinking of the guilt I feel for those left behind.
The scratches started again, the hay around me a comfort blanket of freedom as it carried me to what I hoped would be safety.
Saying the stars burn is like saying that Life is for living! It sounds poetic, Insta quotable. But it is a mere Fact. That I wish more people listened to Really listened to. Not just heard as part of the herd that just follow, and not do.
To that woman in Pizza Hut, who I think was with her family, her son and grandson, or maybe her brother and nephew. Who’s son/brother was checking out a woman in leggings. When your grandson/nephew came back to the table and told you “Dad’s watching that woman.” When you smiled at him like this was a little joke. Like this was acceptable behaviour. Because your son/brother is of the generation where objectifying women is not only acceptable but encouraged man to man. Where objectifying women is overlooked by other women as we feel intimidated to stand up and call out this behaviour. Yet men have no issue standing up and cat calling us.
To that woman in Pizza Hut, who’s young male relative noted behaviour of his father, looking to you for your opinion. Your acceptance, your smile, they will form vertebrae of the backbone of how he treats women. They will continue the system we women want to break.
To that woman in Pizza Hut, this is what I wish I’d said to you. “Please talk to your nephew/grandson about what he saw. Please talk to your nephew/grandson about how it’s not okay. Please talk to him about what he witnessed in an open way, allowing for conversation but making it clear the actions of his father aren’t okay. Please talk to your son/brother about his behaviour. Please talk to him in a way that women from your generation couldn’t imagine having the freedom to talk in. That I wish you now felt you had the freedom to talk in.”
But of course I said none of this. I am a feminist. I am a woman. I am comfortable being in uncomfortable conversations. And yet I let this opportunity pass by. Another globule of cement fixing a sexist brick on this young man’s wall of ideals.
To that woman in Pizza Hut, who was objectified by a man from a time I wish was further in history than it seems, I am sorry I did not speak out for you. I hope next time I will do better.
The glow of fire millennial fire mind you 4K on YouTube “most realistic HD crackling” Cosies me on summer nights summer nights cold with neglect not lonely content in my own company Candles join the party black amber wild lavender all the plants I grow are wild really they grow themselves I just let them live rent free Their flames move like arms at a rave a rave more real than my fire scents of drunk grass, unwashed souls smeared in metaphorical mud of mental illness we all seem pigs in mud these days.
Her messy bun held. Just. But trailing plaits swung like pendulums impending doom. The pair helped balance her as she tried to bear the weight of the hydria. Sun warmed water sloshed from its brim, making her sandals slippery and her path more difficult.
Her nimble frame, encumbered, but still nimble enough to weave through sailors unloading ships, stall owners shouting for custom, and other serving girls like her cargo-ing the morning water. Or maybe the furrow of Athenians just had little desire to get tangled within the mess they sensed she would make.
Visages of a large broken urn being their responsibility or their goods soaked to useless steered them from her path. However she could see little through the handle and did not notice her path taking turns she had not planned, taking her closer to the water’s lapping edge than the road home.
All it took was the unfamiliarity of the stone and the slip of soaking sandals to topple her and her guest into the blue. Cold hard waves broke her fall where the sun had not yet warmed it, and as she bobbed on the surface, despair seeping into her bones, her master’s hydria began to sink. She’d managed to earn some fish a new home, and herself a week of pain she could not begin to imagine.
Written for the #writephoto prompt linked here, photo below.
I always had to have the last word To feel I’d won the fight.
You always let me have the last word Because you cared more about us than winning.
Thank you for all your losses so we could win and weather The storm I was the eye of That we still suffered together.
I now see It’s not you vs me It’s us vs anything life attempts to make us hurdle I’m ready to take one, two, three for the team And let you win And if I have learnt a goddamn thing It won’t feel like I lose But that we just sail out Onto calm waters Our hands gripped tighter than they were before.
I immediately saw the blurry lines in this image and thought of the song. I wanted to write about it but as I felt what I wrote (albeit super flash fiction) was enough to get across the point I wanted to make.
My skin peels away from flesh, my flesh from milky marrow, leaving nothing but my naked soul exposed for all to judge. I step out, beaming spotlight of raw sun highlights the pockmarks seared in from hate and anger. Without my shield my anger has melted, without my comfort blanket of body I can ask truly for forgiveness. “Please. Forgive me.” The limp lips of their lifeless face cannot. It is up to me to forgive myself. But if I repeatedly forgive myself, will I ever stop?
Sun rose yesterday Window to experience Bright dawn modern life
And then they took it away Crushed by waves, anxious Days stretch unknowingly to Demise of the life I’d been rebuilding, anew.
In the UK the government are going blasé on the COVID safety restrictions from the 19th July. Along with opening nightclubs and lifting capacity on events, they’re removing the need to wear masks or socially distance.
While lots of Brits are celebrating, for me as a vulnerable individual this is taking away a lot of freedom I’d been enjoying. Despite being young and double jabbed, if I were to get COVID the results could be devastating, even life ending. While I can sympathise with people wanting to get back to normal, any sense of normality I’ve been enjoying (seeing some friends, going out to eat, etc) will probably be no go’s again very soon.
With hundreds of thousands of cases predicted each day, it’s going to be a minefield that I just can’t risk. And it will be the same for the plethora of other young vulnerable individuals and all elderly people.
This is just another notch on a long list of uninclusive acts from our country’s government. But I guess there will at least be a easy way to tell if someone is a nice person from now on, whether they’re wearing a mask in indoor public places… *sigh*