Tale #141: If You Describe Each Moment Of A Person’s Life, It Becomes A List Of Crimes, An Endless Recitation of Horrors, A Biblical Judgement Upon Their Worth

“Enjoy your retirement, they said, as they read out the celebratory statement they’d prepared for the occasion.

“Towards the end, they summed up the facts of my life. All the data collated, all the facts and the figures and the failures, recorded at source not just by my devices but by all of theirs, all of yours.

“What struck me the most as I listened, as I watched, as I smiled and reacted exactly how I was supposed to, was not how much of this wasted life of mine I had forgotten, but how much I remembered. All those stupid comments, all those awkward silences, those social embarrassments, those cowardly retreats. All the regrets, all the shame. The lies, the truths. I remembered it all.

“I remembered it all.”

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Notes:

1. Written in December 2019
2. And with probably the longest title anything of mine has yet had
3. Even despite my love of long titles

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Tale #140: All I Know Is That I Am Not You

I am an absence of self, a shadow of nothing. I do not know what I am. All I know is that I am not you.

I turn the key and open the door, each day, to somewhere new. A house, a home, a bedroom. Alone. And for a while, in the silence that’s been left for me to lose myself in, I dream of a life.

Yours, perhaps, pieced together from the objects and fragments with which you’ve built your home. Or mine, sometimes, constructed out of nothing but fragments of my own imagination.

When I hear the click of your key in your lock, I have to be quick. And as I leave I take something small. I keep it with me to remember you by in those long lonely hours of the night. For somewhere in the dark and the shadows behind the doors of your rooms, just like you, I dream. I dream.

And all night I wonder, if we compared my notes to yours, how close would I be to knowing you. How much of yourself would you recognise in me?

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Notes:

1. Written in February 2020.

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Tale #139: A Quiet Revolt

In the end, it was not an invading army from beyond the sea, nor the king’s brother’s men, that brought about the end of this unjust despotic regime. It was the servants and the slaves, the orphans and the wives, taking those hands that struck them daily and breaking them, bone by bone.

In the morning they opened the gates, walked out dazed beyond the city walls. And above them the sky turned pale with ash, a grief as bright as hope.

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Notes:

1. Written in August 2019

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Tale #138: A Mother’s Love

My mother always said, “Well, you can’t complain.” But it turns out you can. You can.

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Notes:

1. Written in February, 2020

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Tale #137: The Snow Daughter, or The Voice Beneath The Snow

The whispers come up from beneath our feet, every step another sigh, every sigh a plea, a cry. But the mistake would be to listen, to stop, to try and find the source. For the voice is a trap, to catch the caring. To steal that final flicker of warmth from your trembling desperate heart, to turn your soul to ice.

Better instead to ignore that snow siren’s cry. Better instead to let your own heart turn to stone.

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Notes:

1. Written on April 1st, 2019
2. See not only Sirens, obviously, but also the Yuki-onna.

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If you like the things you've read here please consider subscribing to my patreon. Subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real. Thank you.