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This is me, trying to scratch a little place in the world for my writing, whether it has an audience or not. Just like the rest of my life really.

Anything not reblogged is straight from me, belonging to me (as much as words can).

Here goes...

And it wasn’t a choice I could make.

On the fourth day of that Lent, I was months from admitting to myself that I had given up on being a faithful person. Enticing me still was the hum of candles being lit. They bent sensuously like paper fans, Latin dancers…red hair in the wind. They might have been cavorting with each other’s melting bodies. The excitement of making fire, of tapering a violent sky to a point, keeping it taut and warm, knowing it was mine, was more potent than my prayer ever was. Buying a flickering wish for 50p. The price of a candle, of a name tied to the match. I would light one every Sunday, if I could. The same prayers revolved in my clasped hands: “let me be happy, let me be good, please don’t let anyone I know die.” Mostly I was talking about my parents. 

I always thought Lent brought out the morbid side of me. After all, it is a celebration of suffering. A collaboration of endurance and the just-as-endless problems of man. Annually I had heard that through his death, we were released. Released where, to what, to whom? From darkness into light? Darkness is the pit of your stomach that quakes, darkness shivers, has a transient feeling about it, it is a blinking between what you think you have seen and what you know to be true. It is perfect for confusion.

That first processional candle holds the light of the world, the beginning and the end.

When people are cremated, they are consumed by light.

But do you know what happens before that? They lie in dark waiting. Then the coffin pulls back, on tracks. You feel the silent motion of it leaving. It is sucked into a hole in the wall behind. Some awful arbiter has a straw up to that side, keeps sucking. It begins to pull on you too. No-one can look away. Gathered on a platform, where no-one is beckoning the traveler back. You look on, desperate, saying “Why? Why are you letting them go?” But you’re only half-way in the crowd, the hole isn’t before you to close, it’s only part yours. Tears are no measure of loss. The room heaves its end. Praying to the flame couldn’t keep it from the fire.

So you tell them, “No more. It’s my choice. I won’t go. I won’t pray.”

Find yourself there anyway, staring at a wooden crucifix that becomes only fuel.