A red post box growing out of a yellow wall, a blue pipe — an opiate connection to the sky — ran all the way up. Or maybe it just led to the floor above where a woman leaned out her window, watching the rare quietness of the street below. There wasn’t much to say, leave alone anyone to say it to and yet her mouth moved. From the street below, if anyone was there and if anyone bothered to look up, they’d see her mouth moving rhythmically, as if she was singing a chorus. It was the same movement over and over again.
In one dusty corner of the street, as far as my eyes would go, was a plastic bag swirling in the wind; some mad dance set to music that only the light of body and transparent of mind could hear. Even cats and dogs that usually hung around on quiet, heavy afternoons seemed to have deserted this street. Khoday Steel Industries said the board right across my window. A small grey, two-storied house that had defeated-looking people go in and out of it at all times. Imagining their lives was a great hobby of mine as I sat in my chair, or in my bed — when I was too tired of the chair — looking out the window.
I have been at home for two years now and this has given me much time to think about things that I don’t usually think about. Like the joining of the wall and ceiling, and how it is a metaphor for all of life. But that’s not what I want to write about today. Today, it is so quiet that my body is speaking to me. My ankles are crossed and I see the bones sticking out of them; in a body that is not used to bones making themselves visible, the bones on the inside of my ankles stick out like sails on a murky sea. I shift them a little — my ankles, not my bones — and the bones stick into my calf, reminding me of my calf, and of my bones. And how my bones have borne me into my thirties. Through the first time I fell in love and the time I graduated, my bones dissolved and I was all heart. I didn’t even remember I had bones. The first time I had a baby and my bones expanded like lungs breathing when you’ve been underwater too long. The first time I felt the sickly punch of a man’s big fist in my stomach, a kick, a slap across my cheek, a hard whack across my back, my bones stood still and leapt, enmeshed with my blood, to strike back in defence. The same bones folded up and covered my head believing the bones of my skull may not be as strong as those on my hands.
The first time I hit a man across his face for breaking my heart and how everything within me stood still after that contact was made, my bones developed the memory of betrayal. My hand still stings from it. My bones still remember. My bones saw me fly across continents and countries, holding my fears and my presence together; bones that struggle to be seen through the soft flesh of my body. Bones that are covered in fat and muscle and skin that are hated and accepted in turns, bones that stoically stay with me and don’t move. Bones that don’t let me down. Uncracked bones, misaligned bones. Bones of friendships and bones of pain. Bones of disdain and beauty, bones that soak in everything and feed the marrow. Bones that I do not love because I do not know how to love things that hold me up.