She lay in the centre of her slightly-too-small-for-the-bed-matress, enveloped in duvet and memories, suspended in an air of nostalgia and the faint aroma of pine and fire. A faint sense of longing tugged at the skirts of … what was it? Lust? Love? Jealousy maybe? What was it that woman had said once?
“The meaning of life is to love and be loved, that’s it.”
So simple. Is it? For the first time in her life she had begun carefully combing through the tangled garments of her badly packed emotional baggage, and was slowly realising there was something missing, or something left out, not a gap exactly, just a longing, like there was only one left of each pair of socks and while one can quite happily get by with a whole load of odd socks, it’s nice to have a matching pair. This realisation had brought with it a series of what seemed strange reactions; a watchful eye, a brief glimpse into a future with this person or that, a burning desire just to be passionate with another, to loose all barriers and boundaries of social and sexual etiquette and really let go. Fuck the games and the mystery and the “oh I wonder if I should show how I really feel and how do they want me to really feel and if I do show my truth will that alter how they really feel and who’s feelings are they anyway?”
Fuck it. When did it become so damn complicated? Where are the days of literary French romance where everything’s just there on the surface, the heart beating wildly and provocatively on the left sleeve of chemistry and courtship? Where is the heart now? Confined to a solid iron box. Suffocated in bland custom and cautious emotion, too scared to skip for fear it may trip up on the withered strings of another washed up clump of muscle and veins. That was what would become if she wasn’t careful, we are after all just elaborate plants, each part of us thriving on various different stimulus and nutrients, only fungus thrives in the cold and dark, probably not even cold at that, and everything needs space to breathe. Growing one’s heart a mythical mushroom tho that belongs to a different metaphor, one of succulent red flesh and brightly coloured sounds somewhere on the floor of the forest. Maybe the bit we learn is the optimum conditions, we don’t come with swing tags or instruction manuals, and if we try to follow such things we wind up empty and meaningless; standardised, streamlined and just about functional, like flat packed furniture from Ikea with the holes that never quite line up with the pegs.
Right now she was probably a moderately priced kitchen unit, complete with empty drawers and their smooth sliding mechanism, ready to be filled with matching cutlery and innovative cheese graters. What she really wanted to be was a beautiful old dressing table complete with elaborate mirror and smudges of lip-stick, drawers that required a certain knack to open and close smoothly and that rattled with loose beads and trinkets from the long lost pieces of jewellery that once filled them, stains on the wood from spilt perfume and glasses of wine and maybe the odd scratch here and there, from times of momentary madness or bursts of passion where everything on its surface had been swiped off in one fell swoop. Yes, that was what she wanted, that was what she envisioned for herself, not this strange rational existence.