Lost. A short story. Part 1

Condensation droplets wilted to the will of heat and gravity and slid down the sides of her bottle of Singha.
She pressed its welcome coolness to her forehead; her own skin jewelled with moisture, multitude beads of sweat taking turns to smear her eyelashes.

For nearly two decades she had hidden safely in the centre of that street bar crowd, and here she was again, the lines about her unremarkable grey eyes and the drying out of her pre- menopausal body adding a new and inevitable layer of invisibility. The passing of that ability to spark the interest of others was met with terror or sorrow by women through generations and cultures. Yet she wrapped herself willingly into the folds of unremarkability like a faded but comfortable sweater.

Surges of conversation rose from the terrace to mingle with sickly wafts of durian and the spices of street food, calling to the massed salivary glands of all represented nationalities in that one outlet.

This place was her burrow; it’s safety in it’s similarity to countless others in that district where the same accents rang out in bars, that insincere international twang, with its rising end notes, as the speakers’ lack of conviction betrayed their eager faces.

The same uniform. How ironic, she thought, that the young backpackers’ quest for freedom proved too hot to handle, all of them turning to the reassurance of a universal gap year style.

They would all return to their planned lives with the same tattoos. Re-telling the same experiences; muy Thai on the tourist ticket, jungle ‘trekking’, boring sex and soft drugs.

Shipwreck(ed)

Each cardinal point

Tells of Wasteland.

Primordial sand –

shifting under a frozen wind,

hissing with voices of spirits

shipwrecked on this skeleton coast,

rimmed by a glittering line of sea.

 

Here castaway fragments and relics

are spat after decades adrift

from the blue-throated Ocean

and maw of Estuary.

Husks of things rustle

with the dry scuttle of grains

at the foot of crumbling dunes –

Earth’s ebbing with each tide to feed

the ever-hungry sea.

 

Living footfalls trace this place of endings

with crunch of empty shell and crisp-brittle

crack of lost urchins:

Calcium Carbonate – chalk to dust

in a driftwood boneyard

where desolate roots reach, beseech

the pitiless sky, like the arms of a crazy woman;

a dinosaur rib-cage in each whitened heap.

 

But with each turn of a gypsy moon’s

round face, all is washed and re-framed.

Shell innards polished to spirals of pinkish pearl,

Pastel-shaded plastic tears pepper the edge of the world.

You see the broken beauties, pull them free

Fill your pockets and gaze on the skittish sea

That calls your salted blood.

 

Though you try to stay anchored

to land-stranded love

You’re already away;

barnacle-bottomed, horizon-bound.

New shores to be found;

The fall and rise of the Shearwater’s realm,

The call of the storm,

The lure of the helm.