• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 11
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The time of harps

So much plastic. Everywhere. Little pointy, pointless things, sticking into my feet. Tat from cereal boxes and Kinder Eggs. And Lego. God, I wish I could ban Lego. My feet would thank me for it, for all that the kids of the world may wail.

I clamber up onto my bed to have a moment, cross-legged, a frog on a soft purple lily pad. It feels like defeat to just sit when the room is still a tip. I told myself this morning, you will get one half done. I drew a line in my head from door to window. But it is tiring, lifting box after box, coughing up dust. Even harder is the sorting, the deciding. What is worthy of being kept for my (vaguely possible) future child, or for another through a charity shop? What will be condemned to the bin?

I just want it all gone, really.

But there is that deep-rooted obligation to hold onto the past, to the past me. The me that lived the norm, had not yet discovered anything else. That did not have to feel guilt, uncertainty.

These days I can swing within hours between knowing what I am is okay, and thinking: but how and why? I spend time with kind people, listen to great music, watch films and hear poetry and think, yes. I belong. I have a place.

Then, somehow, it all crumbles and I am drifting in space.

I feel another obnoxious plastic artefact sticking into my back. I sigh and pick it up. Earlier I would have told it off, plonked it into the bin. But that fire has gone. I am sad, and empty. So I just look at it.


The time of harps

It is a tiny harp, being played by a woman in a sweeping dress. It looks like some classical piece of art, reproduced in miniature. I do not know why it is in my room. I used to be intrigued by harps – would see them on Irish coins, associate them with folklore and magic and possibility. I would dream of learning to play one. Like when I tried to learn guitar, German, knitting.

I breathe out. With a finger I smooth out the dress, although it is plastic and doesn’t move. I guess I want to show this lost little figure some kind of affection. I run my little finger along the harp. There is no sound.

I look around at my past piled up around me. I could walk away. Or I could keep trying, exhausted, to remove it all.

For now, I curl up, shifting from frog to dormouse in my purple nest. One day maybe I will wake up and know how to do the things I want to do. One day I will get it, get me. I won’t be afraid anymore, won’t cling to the past, won’t throw it away. I have to hope that, in the middle of the mess and junk and chaos, one day, something will make sense.