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

The Bad Dream ; The Night Mare

WB / Tumblr

It was an island. A temperate climate may be assumed. Caribbean? Perhaps. Maybe farther north? south? east? west? Perhaps. But there were no people there. It was warm, but that’s only unnatural in the extreme climes of the world. A sandy beach shrugged its disillusion with the world. If the beach were full of people, the sound of the waves would be drowned by the sighs of relief gasped by its patrons. As it was, I lay there alone. Like a stingray, I buried my body into sand enclaves waiting for movement to pass above me. Everything seemed safe.
Lonely, yes, but very safe. The sun hung in the sky, but I was not bothered by its presence. I felt neither burn nor squint affect my being. The generous mist from the water did not cling to your skin and burrow into your bones. It generated life and feeling, but it did not overwhelm you with the beingness of living. I lay my head back and allowed my head to mould into the sand bed around me. My arms extended and nonchalantly buried, as I opened my hands to the universe absorbing its micro-vibrations.
Pulsating through my body, I could feel life. I was alive, but it was the second thought. First I felt life, then I felt alive. They are two different feelings. Their order depends on your connection to your inward being. Life stirs in you, gently nudging you into existence. But feeling alive, those are the explosions that abrasively thrash you into being. The sweet pleasure of biting down on a sore tooth. A sour orange that causes you to shrink your face in delight. The feeling when a lover lingers over your face, slowly, tantalizingly, teasingly leaning in to kiss you. The passion. The delight. The love.
It was calm and slow-moving. An eternity had passed, yet it could not have been so long. Without clock, calendar, or sooth-sayer, time was immaterial—as it always is. Hah! I could not awaken. I lay there feeling that eternity within me.
A disturbance caused me to stir. A small beast, asleep nearby, hiccoughed in sleep: yelp! yelp! yelp! The frightened being twitched at the resonance of each yel- and fell into deathly stillness at the p. I rolled over, hair falling into my face, sand raining from my body, and I placed my hand gingerly upon the heart of the beast. Suddenly the fear was snuffed and a small smile could be felt throughout our bodies. Gentle, operatic snores replaced the fear within the beast. Smiling, I moved back to the imprint of my body. In a mock outer-body experience, I smiled at the negative space. Appearing much larger than my form, I confronted the duality of the space. Here I gazed; there, I no longer was.
As I nestled into the comatose reality of being and non-being, a sound recalled me to the world-as-it-is. A familiar voice called my name. Ah, the friend-of-a-friend, for whom I nurtured a soft-spot. His mouth curved over my name and butterflies soared. Actually, they soared. A canopy of them swam from the sea and entangled themselves in the affairs of our hearts. He ran deliciously across the beach towards my unrealities. Suddenly, questions of being and non-being were throttled back as the physical world of doing overwhelmed the tenses that confused before. A new verb, if you will.
He grabbed my hand. “Hello!”
“Hiya!” I softly cooed, happily.
“I didn’t think anyone else was here.” He said. I didn’t reply. Sometimes, when you have a lot to say, nothing can be said. He looked at me, expectantly. Still, I said nothing. “Hm,” he mumbled, “so, have you heard from Agatha lately?”
“Actually, yes. We spoke yesterday about this book I was reading. But, I’ve been changing books faster than a race car driver shifts gears. Only difference is that I never finish one. Weirdly.” It was a poorly statement. Indeed, inside, I had retracted my promise to live in the present. Before my eyes Huysmans’s Paris swam before my eyes, little cafés filled the air with the merging scents of frosty white wine, freshly ground coffee beans, and petite madeleines. How does one share those thoughts? How do they become communicable?
“Right,” He said. “So, do you want to come run an errand with me?”
Compelled, I responded in the affirmative. He guided me towards a vespa. We climbed upon it and began our journey at a comical pace. Yet, now that our bodies were so close, conversation flowed easily. Is there a relational proximity that dissolves self-awareness, inhibition, and fear? Does physical presence reduce the desire to slip into the cognitive abyss?
Recently, he had been on an trip over the hills and under the mountains. He detailed how his travels had shaped him, changed him, altered his senses of reality. Now, he was different. Before, he claimed, he had just been a shell of a being. Of course, these claims always sound so mystifying and intoxicating as the speaker says them. Magical. A spell is cast over my soul because I covet growth. Growth shows passion and love for the world, an intrinsic curiosity that sparks my soul.  
I gasp at all the right places, laugh and giggle, and flatter. I share my own stories of my travels, unsure that I’ve grown at all. I feel slightly un-dertraveled, un-knowledgable, un-worthy. Occasionally, I discuss things I’ve read. Is it still my life if I’ve read these things from another’s mind? No, stop it. Pay attention.
The scenery unwinds into luscious valleys of trees. Gentle and rolling hills push and pull our bodies clumsily into one another as we drive on. This all feels safe. We arrive at a set of storage lockers. The island felt uninhabited, how can there be storage lockers. As we dismount the vespa and check our teeth for bugs, we walk towards the lockers. A key glimmers in his hand.
He looks down at me from his tall, graceful stature. I lift my hand towards his with the key, but he pulls this one away from me. He opens his palm and shows me the key.
“We have to deliver a package. We’ll have to go into the waters and swim to our destination,” he says. I do not question this. We walk into the centre of the maze of lockers. Fearing a minotaur, I keep track of the twists and turns. It would be ludicrous to start unravelling a ball of yarn now! We arrive at the locker. He attempts to steady me with a meaningful look, but I am not prepared for what is inside.

A sea of white.

Package upon package of what seems to be a drug. “Cocaine,” he whispers. I am not sure I can back out now. I swallow and, eyes wide, I nod. He does not tell me that he has to do this to save someone. Nor does he tell me he is doing it for the money. He just does it. I do not question it. Remember? We changed verbs. He lifts the package and places it in my arms. He grabs another package. I sweat and suppress a soft chuckle—the yarn seems less ridiculous now.
The journey back to the beach seems less easy-going. Of course, everything has changed. That is glaringly obvious. A cloud of being trapped eclipses all earlier feelings of freedom. To be or not to be is irrelevant. He tells me that we’ll both swim with a package to the next island. The waters are free from any threat and not cold. In fact, he says steadily, they’re quite warm. I don’t ask how many times he’s done this. How many love-sick friends he’s tricked into this. But I wasn’t tricked, I didn’t ask. I never asked.
I dove into the water. The warmth of the water immediately warmed my soul. One cannot continue to feel overwhelmed by fear and anxiety when they reach their element. Submerged, I swam. The water parted and played with my hair. Gentler than wind, the water kissed my skin and urged me forward. Swimming was beautiful. Fear was an unrecognized concept.
We reached the next island. An island surrounded by choppy waters. Inhospitable. I wondered how cocaine could serve anyone on this island. But the thoughts were short-lived. The water powerfully jostled us as through we were in a bowl of jello on changing fault lines. We arrived, and he took the package I brought with me. He left me, and he disappeared inland. He returned. He brought coconut cookies and coffee. We sat in silence.
“So,” I choked out, breaking the silence, “are we going back?” He studied my face for some time. Perhaps it was too indefinite a question—leaning towards abstraction. How do we go back from that? He answered my question in the practical and literal sense:
“No. We go home.”

We arrived home. It felt broken. Everything. As I walked through the front door of my house, hair tangled and free flowing, I saw them. The police had camped outside my door.

Reality. A real location. Real consequences. Cops stood in lines…endless lines of donut-chewing cops. Coffee cups littered the street. A true crime, I thought. Surely, not what I did.

I walked into the kitchen—sobbing. Barely able to breathe, the pressure of the truth collapsing my lungs. I tried to explain as my parents stood around me. I could not speak. I saw it all spiralling into nothingness. Negative space triumphant.

Again, another outer-body experience. The scene played before me. The music of the scene was full-bodied, like the taste of a rich-flavoured chianti. The actual sounds of the scene muted, as the violins wailed their truth over all. Slowly angelic voices cried their sorrow. Their implicit judgement over badness telling the audience how to see the scene before them.

She deserves this.

Where was the beast who would awaken me from this nightmare?