Knotted ⎟ Short Story


Once upon a time, in a pleasure-dome of opulent origins, I beheld visions of grandeur. The earth crumbled to reveal fragrant, golden soil, like that from fairy-lore, beneath my swollen feet. I tried to wipe it with my hands, but, like rich, milled clay, it clung to me. My shoes were swallowed; my toes swam in fertile earth. I inhaled deeply. The cool air took away the nausea. In, I breathed. Out, I became, in a pleasure-dome of opulent origins.

My feet were planted by fairies, who came to tend me. Upon my wooden hands, they dropped dew collected from pansy petals. In my empty mind, they sang sweet preludes of their wonder-filled adventures. Unto my cheeks, they gave millions of kisses. Into my heart, they brought warmth and desire. My feet seemed to plunge further into the earth, but my height remained the same. No, I grew taller. I stretched my arms sky-ward, sending my fullness to the clouds. Clouds dipped to tip their hats, occasionally tipping hats full of delicious, mountain water. The cool water steamed, when it reached my warm body.

Birds chirruped as they cautiously dipped in flight to ensure my arms were safe for their young—no cat lurked beneath in disguise. They landed with hearts beating quicker and quicker, slowing to a calm flutter. They wiped their beaks, one side and the next, on my arms, shoulders, nose, and head. It was an ancient dance they learned long ago. When their caution was abated, their babies came to squawk, open-mouthed, as they hoped for food. Bird moms and bird dads dove earthbound to find succour, hoping to quieten the babes before birds of prey or pesky cats heard their hungry, youthful cries. For food there would be, but not of the kind one hoped if they remained too loud. I rocked my limbs gently, easing their hunger pains. Alas, their chirps mellowed and they impishly ruffled their down. They chattered quietly to one another and kept sharp eyes on their parents, to whom they chirruped loudly at regular intervals. Whether it was to hasten their meal or let mom and dad know they were safe, if not sound, I will never quite know.

Playfully, my leaves tickled the air, or the air tickled my leaves. Many wise men believed Wind whistles, but Wind dances and sings. Her favourite music is the latest hip-hop beats, so sometimes you heard her rhythmically repeat ‘Versace!’ at top speed, rivalled only by “Shots!” I tried to ask her, once, if she thought it encouraged capitalism and bacchanalia in the forest, but she was too busy singing and dancing to respond to such an impudent question. Her big brother, Gust, charged through with a Valkyrian-like spirit, but he staunchly rejected the Wagnerian operas for political reasons belonging to another time and place. Gust and I had a brief affair, and when he passed through, I willingly gave into his strong caresses. I happily relaxed into his atmospheric forces. It was how I learned to let go of the pain of the past, whilst supported and encouraged to grow.

Indeed, in springtime, I wore fragrant flowers in my hair. Passersby inspected my blooms. Some willingly clipped them for their crowns, and others thought that someone over there had much nicer blossoms. Little did they know, each petal was crafted late at night and bloomed each day with sweet kisses blown from Wind, bees, butterflies, fairies, and, most of all, me. Often, humans forget how precious creation is. Humans do not need to create life itself or even replicate idealized beauty; they must, however, create. For, one must prepare for the nihilism that comes biting with winter’s frost. Do not be fooled by the sea of white that promises new beginnings. Baptism does not come from the void. Salvation resents whitewashing penitence and yearns for character, sins, lust, love, desire, hope, consternation, and purpose.

As it happened, there was a man who, daily, walked the gardens of the pleasure-dome. In spring and summer, he sang lullabies to the trees. He sang such beautiful songs about places on land and sea. To the flowers, he whispered sweet, sweet serenity. There was a hidden longing in his voice that rivalled my heart’s ache. I yearned to be understood, but I was muted by nature. So I began carving words into my skin, tattooing myself so he might unearth my soul. The first chill breeze of the coming autumn sent shivers of anticipation through me; it was about to begin. Like sheets of paper, my leaves fell to the ground with existential grief and hope engraved. He collected all of me and disappeared into the night of the autumnal equinox.

As the morning fog cleared, I saw him. He had returned, he who picked up one leaf at a time and read my will to be. Upon his arrival, a fairy surreptitiously dusted his somnolent, brown eyes with the same preternatural, fragrant earth in which my antipodean-searching roots were deeply buried. His eyes raced over me, as he unknowingly looked in the windows to my soul. His bark-coloured hand traced the scars of growth that age left on my body, as his other hand clutched my history in leaves. Firmly and piercingly, his hand pressed, and he felt my pulse. He gasped, as did I. He ran around my circumference, trying to understand this enchantment. I wished he were ivy, so we could entwine. He knew not how to access my soul, just yet. I dropped more leaves; hear my soul, I begged. He picked them up. He sat down at my roots, nestled in the spot that faultlessly framed his spine, and he read, again and again. Then his song rose to me, redolent of smoke from a well-loved pipe. Wind spiritedly sang and danced, carelessly; she tried to make the leaves dance with her. He cried aloud for her to stop. He will not lose my words to the folly of the wind! The air fell still. Angrily, Gust jealously threatened to unleash the gods of Walhalla onto the man who silenced Wind and captured my heart.

Then, it was our turn to become cognizant; the man began to softly sing. He was called Aalam, he said. Through tears of sorrow, joy, and hope he told his tale. First, in hushed whispers, carried to us by Wind’s shadow; then, a crescendo of excitement and triumph, squalled by Gust; finally, a denouement of sorrow, pain, and forgiveness sung from my lips. All of us turned our gaze onto him, enchanted by his sublime humanity. Driven by lust-filled desire, my trunk began to twist and entwine Aalam within me. He placed my fallen leaves between us. Our story, he said. His feet firmly rooted into the fairies’ clay, he wrapped himself enthusiastically around my curves. Our souls imprinted evermore on the branches, bark, and leaves of our limbs. He grew tall and strong, much better than ivy. His tears dried as our warmth combined. Kissing trees; loving bodies; sweetest dreams. Coiled like snakes around trees of life and knowledge; love is the only truth ye living need know, beauty follows.

From then on, I knew resplendent remembrances of honeyed embraces. Fairies brought us news of the stars from afar. They built their home in our warm hearth. In a time yet to come, their children will find our love story and read, on bated breath, the miracle of our communion. They will take deep gulps of cool air to soothe their youthful, restless, yearning hearts. Fairies, who have vast emotional complexities, will ask us to ease their own unrequited, love-filled marrow. I will drop leaves for them to read, and Aalam will sing to them of visions of grandeur, in a pleasure-dome of opulent origins.

In the meantime, the flowers we, he and I, wear in our perennial hair are our crowning delight. We whisper stories to each other and sing sweet lullabies to the fruits of our love, whilst fairies pirouette, folic, and prance to the beat of our hearts.



☞  This is a short story that I wrote last year. I thought I lost it on the computer I doused with tea. Fortunately, I had sent to to a friend and recovered it that way.

☞ Please don’t read too much authorial intent into it; I’m much happier letting you drive the course, now.

 ☞ I have two Great Expectations posts coming up. I’m pretty excited about both, but one of them has me in absolute glee.

☞ Connect with me elsewhere (links throughout the site)

☞ Let me know how you’re doing in the comments. I’m thinking of doing a yoga journal every so often, but I’m not sure if that would make this blog a little too eclectic. Thoughts?

Heaps of love,
WordPlay Xx