I salute the trees. I am not magnificent but I can see everything grow. I hear the grass chattering and laughing. I stare at the oaks as they stretch like old hungover drunks after a binge.
Kicking my way through an old memory, I sit down on a bench and watch a young mother playing with her child – she lets go of the kid’s shoulders and this little fat bundle of limbs wobbles and trundles into a loving pair of arms. I light a cigarette and look over their heads towards a crumbling brick wall where I came in thirty seven seconds – a gloriously brief but exhilarating moment of savagery that left me needing three stitches in my shoulder thanks to the razor sharp teeth of an utterly destructive angel. For five nights afterwards, I would lift my head from my pillow and find one of her brunette hairs lying next to me, either tangled up in my own or left as some kind of spiritual offering. I didn’t wash until my sheets left an imprint of my twisting torso.
In the cold the hot ash lights up my eyebrows, and I feel the smoke rumble down inside me. I am just a stranger now, in a place where we left so many imprints that we wrote in a language too complex for future generations to understand; or too simple. Perhaps everything just moves on from our messages, our little totems to what a future could be – liberal, relentless in our pursuit of sensations, dogmatic in our chasing of the wind and of love, emphatic in our use of drugs and alcohol but sensitive in our presentation. I remember walking a five block diversion to avoid following a nervous young lad, who kept looking over his shoulder at the wasted behemoth shambling and crashing behind him as our paths continued. It only took a bottle of whiskey to give me a night so intense I could drink the stars, and yet leave an impression on this youth that I was somehow a danger to him rather than a revelation… or more probably a self-indulgent indifference.
When I close my eyes the world turns black and white and I see, like a filter, what was once and is no more. I recognise footprints in grass that has since been cut and mown a thousand times, because I can still lay down and hear the echoes in the soil and the worms gossiping about the underwear we flung high into the canopy of the trees – bras, panties and boxers like flags on the backs of warships. I remember warming my hands inside your cunt and you gripped my stiff cock like a hot chip as our breath mingled under a trillion years of entropy. Under the Milky Way you promised that we would remember this moment for the rest of our lives.
I wonder. I remember this moment but I don’t know where you are now. I don’t know what you think or what you feel. I don’t know whether you sit on this bench, look at that wall and remember sinking your teeth deep into my shoulder enough to dribble my blood down your chin. I don’t know if you remember my cold fingers deep inside you or whether you see the footprints through the filter.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Perhaps you are focused instead on better things, more important things. Perhaps you are this mother, focused so intently on her little baby as it shuffles through the grass desperately trying to maintain its balance long enough to be embraced tight. Maybe you look to the light in someone else’s eyes rather than to the light above us, as it shines down on our best and worst crimes.
Jimmi Campkin is a “Writer, photographer, creator of SANCTUARY. 16bit child, INFP with clinical nostalgia and red wine for blood.” You can enjoy more of his work at jimmi campkin.com