by Jimmi Campkin
I remember she once told me; the funny thing about endings is that they never happen. By the time you reach it, you’re already past it. Likewise we can never experience tomorrow, it is always just out of arms reach. She was always saying stuff like this; it sounded profound but then she once told me that only men die, women just sleep until it is time to wake up. I was having a panic attack at the time and this apocalyptic vision of women emerging out of a cemetery did nothing to help.
I hurl another rock into a jet black ocean. She’s running late but I have a comfortable spot, several small stones and pebbles, three pathetic little flowers clinging onto the pier and a few thousand miles of uninterrupted empty horizon to stare into.
I dangle my feet over the edge and feel a vertiginous swelling in the pit of my stomach, up my esophagus. I feel top-heavy as though I might topple forwards, and I’m aware of my shoes being loose on my feet. The stones of the pier sink into the silt below and I think I am sliding forwards so I grab hold of the ground either side of me and cling on. Below me the water laps, disinterested in one more fragile little soul. No birds in the sky today, just heavy bloated clouds fighting through a film of brown pollution.
When I stare at the sea for too long I see faces in the waves. Often they protest or cry out, so many drowned sailors and regretful suicides, but sometimes I see a beatific face beaming out, inflected by the rays of an underwater sun, a soul at peace with itself and its journey. When the wind whips across from the frozen North the faces sink away for the white horses to gallop and crash, falling over each other and throwing their jockeys into the ether.
She tells me often that my eyes are like the sea; still and grey or furious and white. She cups my hands, blows warm air into my palms and kisses my forehead. In those moments I forget that I have ever felt cold in my life. When they arrive I run to the storms to watch the sea clawing at the land, allowing huge waves to crash over the defenses soaking me, and I feel the warm furnace beating inside my ribs evaporating the water from my body and leaving a film of salt. In those moments I am untouchable, unsinkable, invincible.
I throw another rock and I see faces scrambling to devour it like so many hungry fish. The ground feels steady now and I am brave enough to rest my hands in my lap, to kick my legs freely knowing that I won’t lose my shoes. To my left I can hear the crunch of a pair of sneakers approaching. A pair of legs appears in my peripheral vision and a familiar hand tousles my hair and strokes the back of my neck.
Crouching onto her haunches she asks me; what are you thinking about?
Nothing, I lie.
Writer, photographer and creator of SANCTUARY. https://jimmicampkin.com/
“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process” – Vincent van Gogh