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Latest Prose

Sitting With Autumn

The autumn air wraps you in a familiar hug, the night sky with its thousand eyes watching over. A lit roll-up cigarette emanates a gentle orange light. She whispers in your ears, her breath tickling and chilling the tips of your lobes. You sigh. She sighs. “Your cigarettes burn my skin, but I adore the warmth.” Her gentle laugh tinkles, windchimes filling the space around you both. 

 

“How is it, so many years on, I’m still left feeling this kind of emptiness. This heavy loneliness.”

 

“My daughter, that is melancholy. And she is nothing to be feared. You should cherish her.”

 

“Hmmm...” The wooden summer swing drifts, its rhythm slow, with its squeaking hinges crying for some affection. The brother-trees reach their toddler fingers high and wide into the blackness, and the sister-flowers, aplenty potted, sway in a distinguishable dance. You admire the eyes above, blinking and unchanging, searching for Orion’s Belt. A couple of seconds and you find it, feeling it’s pull most especially in these months. You’re seven again, sitting on Daddy’s lap in the yard, and he’s showing you the faces of the night sky. He helps you trace them with your finger outstretched, See look there’s Venus. And over here is Canis Major- see how he makes a dog? And that big bright one in there is called Sirius. And just over there is Orion’s belt, which makes the Hunter. Look how those ones just next to it make the bow… And you turn to look at him. Daddy’s face fills the sky, and the eyes above don’t matter anymore. Only his. Brown and full of everything you could ever want to know. 

 

You sigh. 

 

“Why do I feel you here-” You tap your chest, “The heaviest of you all?” 

 

“Perhaps, you fear me too.”

 

“It’s not that… it’s…not you.” You glance at the two cups on the side table, one half-drunk, the other still filled to the brim. “It’s the weight of everything you hold.” 

 

“Oh, daughter.” The breeze lifts carefully, brushing the hair back from your face. You sniffle involuntarily and the scent of wet leaves sidles past. You realise your roll-up has burnt half done and since gone out. Fumbling for the lighter, your fingers are lightly numb and you struggle to flick its flint to get it lit. “Tsk.” A couple of blunders and it’s sparked, along with your roll up- it lets out a small hiss and crackle as you take a draw, dampened from the night air. 

 

“Out of everything, you’d think that Spring would hurt the most. But it’s always you. You’re so heavy. I feel you creep in the crevices of my ribs, wrapping your cold fingers around my heart and squeezing so tight I think I might falter. Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing this time with you, you’ve always got me feeling less… alone. But I hate loving it. I hate loving you. I lose myself in you every time, you’re so…consuming.”

 

A sudden gust blows the metal ashtray off the table. You watch it, clattering upon the slabs. “Guess you didn’t like that.” You smirk and let out a light chuckle, reaching for your coffee and taking a sip. A shudder runs through you, and you finally acknowledge the chill that’s crept through your layers. “See, there you are again, always getting a little too close for comfort.” You murmur this genially, the distaste for her has left your mouth with the earthy drink. “I wish you could take me far from this place, it’s all just background noise.”

 

“Sweet one, you can’t hide from me… You wish, rather, I could take you from yourself.” 

 

“Hmm. Maybe so. I’m losing days, weeks even. I’m not sleeping. I can’t remember eating, let alone the last time I put actual clean clothes on.  How am I supposed to know who I am… what I want… when I can’t even think? I’m drifting, riding high on your coattails, maybe it’s better this way. Maybe it’s better being dominated by you.” You drop the remainder of the roll-up into the cup, watching it soak up the liquid before finally sinking into the deep brown.

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