To begin at the ending of the beginning of the end

Latest in the collaboration with Jane Astley


Echoes, echoes, more echoes, then nothing. Not even silence. Rhodri wondered if for once, he felt alive, if he was alive amidst the life unfolding in stop-motion before him. He wanted to grasp it, but as ever, it was elusive. He loved the comfort in not knowing. Gwenno had said that to him at the club, he hadn’t got it then and now, still, notsomuch, but perhaps that was the point. Of what? Maybe, that was the point, too.

All this elliptical, crazy-perplexing thought, he thought that he had never thought before. Perhaps that was why she always seemed so calm amongst the maelstrom. All Rhodri could see was the past and the future, and her as she reached towards him, taking control, but freeing him. She was in the kitchen, she was there with him, and she held him and he yielded to the sights and smells and to all dreams that he never thought were real. But something, somewhere, jarred. Exhilaration in all its simple-profound-explicable-mystifying glory.

On her toes amongst the steam, the broken bric-a-brac, things he didn’t care for, the clutter that kept him returning to that house, to that kitchen and to…Now, he saw her, his eyes closed and knew through the ecstasy they could never see together. Neither of them could hide from thought, from feeling, right now with their eyes closed, their bodies entwined like Klimt, and their tongues like explorers to the Dark Continent. They would never let go.

Rhodri wanted to say something; it felt like a moment for profundity masquerading in simplicity’s clothes, but he didn’t want to think and didn’t want to speak. Always, so many distractions that took mind and body and soul (he wasn’t sure if he had one, though he knew that Gwenno must) away from the present to a future a microsecond from whenever now was or is or will be. There goes another.

Is she thinking or just being? I never think that I just am…or maybe because…just be. I can’t think.

He had always taken vicarious pleasure in other people’s desire, especially when they were there. Concentrate on not concentrating. He held her arm lightly as she kissed his neck. He recoiled a thousand times in his…he didn’t know where it was or what it was or where it came from, but he shuddered, briefly, involuntarily. Her bloody, light, rounded lips cherubic, and small, straight white teeth on his lips and on his tongue and on his neck and then down his arm and the taste of blood in his mouth as she kissed him again, this time more deeply, before she drew away and said something incongruous about panpipes.

“What did you say?”

“What is that ridiculous sound at this stupid time when I am here in a house in a kitchen with you and you jumped back from me?”

Rhodri didn’t know which question to answer, or even how to answer, but went for the simplest every time. The path easier travelled, clearly signposted, but ordinary.

Still with the panpipes…it sounds like fucking Enigma.


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