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There were tracks in the mud. Or was it snow?
Earlier in the day, balancing on that bit of pavement that is raised, raising me a little higher than everyone else passing by: surely, there is no better feeling than walking successfully on the precariousness of an edge, I thought. Dressing oneself in the image of being apart, while my feet in using every corner of themselves, hold my body wholeheartedly as a part of this place. I know, this is where I can still hear him, in Supergas next to me on the real floor.
I struggle mostly on Tuesdays. Or when it’s windy. Nobody told me there were this many gales south-east. I’m that girl in long skirts and too-clean trainers on the flats, racing the strands back into place. Instead of letting the material air move over me without objection, a fabric of landscape, dislodging one hair at a time. Maybe that’s why I’m so tired: trying to prove to the world, like those expertly cropped photos I post to Instagram in bursts — I can stop this business of change.
“Hello this is [ ] I’m afraid I can’t get to the phone right now.” That’s right, I was calling my mum. I had to get outside to do it. Let her hear the birdsong. Let me hear their shits landing nearby. I do that when I’ve got nowhere to be, which is more often than I’d like. She actually left me a message last week, which people rarely do anymore. Like we’re confident our missed calls are enough to get people to return them. Hiya, just seeing how you are. I’ve got dog training at 7, but gimme a call back when you can. At one time, that dog was mine.
There were tracks in the snow. Or was it mud, actually?
They kept looking at me, the long line of people like traffic, so I just kept going. Balancing on the curb, pretending each joint in the slabs of concrete underneath me were something like thresholds and I was a woman, expertly stepping over them. It reminded me of the time when a gang of us met for a “forest bathe”. My friend Violet organised the whole thing, a few months before she got married to a girl she met in the bathroom of a plant shop in Bristol. I went with Trix, meeting Lacey and Kat there. Over Clifton Suspension Bridge, Leigh Woods looms with large oaks. We met on the Abbots Leigh Road by a kissing gate. The five of us together looked like a coven venturing in. The end of Nightingale Valley, a track I’d walked in a mini skirt with him earlier that summer, passed to my right.
Afterwards, Kat spoke about her portal with an unreal look about her. It felt like a gateway. She went on to talk about an angled branch of oak, how the tip of it met a neighbouring birch, forming an arc for her to step through.
I miss my friends sometimes. And the distinct passage of the seasons in the south-west of England. And him.
Fuck knows what I’ve made tracks in
I walked back and forth on the curb for what felt like the whole morning, or at least — until a child got the same idea, and stroking my phone in my pocket, I had to get down.
It’s snowing in June and we’ve got to decide something now. Because what we decide will determine where we go from here.