riptide

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 11, 2016

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Submitted: January 11, 2016

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(A male and female voice;interchangeable but consistent))

 

I Wash my hands in your face.I wash my face with your face.

To start the day again.To start each day again.

 

male voice On Sunday mornings I lead you down to the shore ;

The only time my hand leads yours to anything.

At the top of the bay road we halt in anticipation.

And gradually ,slyly,as if by surprise , I increase our pace until we are

both voices … running, stumbling, skipping, flying down the hillside

male voice ... toward the sea shore-

both voices -Sea breeze in our faces.

Male voice … You always chuckle then-a kind of stifled choke.

The only occasion I ever hear a laugh from you.

I stop just In time for the waves to lick our toes.

Female voice.. .Breathless.

Male voice … Joyous in the spray.

Female voice; Your hand still gripping mine ...

Male voice ;.. Gradually you relax it and I feel in the vanishing

pressure of your grip the disappearance of your smile-

both voices - The return of your mask.

Male voice ; One time in my excitement I run too far...and before I

can stop a huge wave engulfs us.

Female voice; Our hands slip apart in the gasp of ice-cold ocean.

Both voices ; I freeze .You freeze.

Male voice ; For what seems an endless moment an ocean lies between us.

All I can see of you is your hand ,grasping ,talon-like, for mine.

Female voice; I am aware of my own hand

both voices - Free!

Male voice - I turn in that moment to the Island.

There is a small boat docking at one of the coves.

I can just make out a tiny figure clambering ashore, dragging the boat after it.

I have the fleeting impression …

Female voice .. a childs` fantasy...

male voice … that it is me.

Both voices .... Myself.

Male voice ... Transfixed, I watch as I stumble ashore through the breakers-

-small bundle in my arms.

Male voice … I feel your hand grip mine and squeeze.

There are those who insist you drowned that day-

female voice.... There are those who insist you survived that wave...

male voice - Caught in an undertow-

Female voice. .But I felt your grip!

Male voice … I felt your grip!

Female voice... I remember walking back up the hill.

Male voice … Hand in hand.

female voice... Hand in hand.

male voice …. The laborious march back home .

I wash my hands with your face...I wash my face in your face...

to start the day again...to start each day again

Male voice On the island as long as I stay above ground ,

sea-dew dappling my skin ,

I feel always the slipping apart of our hands ,

like a thin veil of gauze separating me from reality ,

as if I am merely the residue or fingerprint of our separation.

Female voice... Sometimes ,by day, I follow the seagulls flight as

they trace those imaginary hands across the blue stain.

male voice … The island scares me.

Female voice .. .At night my skyline fingers mould the island into

complex and convoluted forms -

Male voice ... Calcified echoes of your absence.

Female voice... The strange rock formations seem to echo all your silences

Male voice ;- Lending form to your distant gaze.

Female voice.. My attempts to control their distortions only result in

horrific transformations -

Male voice;... Monstrous evolutions.

Female voice... At night I flee to the deep.

Male voice ;.. There is a cave-mouth I follow down into the belly of

the rock, where the sea rises in pools of glistening glass

in the darkness like inverted echoes of the Island in the sea .

Female voice... It is here,

male voice... down in the deep,

female voice ... in the myriad of puddles,

male voice... that I find your face again-

female voice- … That I find your face again.

Staring back at me in fragmentary curves;

male voice … waiting to be released .

Female voice... To feel the wind again.

male voice... To feel the breeze.

female voice ….I pick it up piece by piece ,

male voice;... cradling the shards in my cupped hands...

as I stumble cross the limestone floor to reconfigure them in the dark.

At dawn I carry your face to the sea.

and watch as the waves take it to the distant shore-

-where I imagine you re-assembling it again ,

Female voice;.. with a puzzled frown ,

Male voice..... down on the pier,

Female voice;.. among the rocking boats and the watching gulls.

Male voice;... Now and again exclaiming triumphantly when a certain

recognizable piece emerges -

female voice- a crushed eyebrow or a dented cheek,

male voice -familiar but worn.

Female voice;... At dusk as the tide recedes I wait barefoot

for fragments of you to wash up at my toes

male voice;...- and gathering them anew send them off again with the tide.

Often I am seized with the desire to dive in and swim …

female voice... just swim,..

male voice … but frozen--

female voice... Frozen

male voice … with the notion that the island is equidistant from all

shores which infinitely recede - I remain.

On the Island.

female voice... On the beach.

Male voice … Staring off into the mainland in the distance .

Sometimes, as the last fractions of the sun slide behind

the western horizon, a singular solar limb strikes out...

female voice;... -in a desperate attempt to hold on to the day -

male voice... - at the old sundial on the hill overlooking the bay,

a curlicue of red light glancing off its rusted skin like a shredded garment or a flap of solar wind.

I wash my hands in your face. I wash my face in your face,

to start the day again...to start the day again...

female voice... Some afternoons we climb to the top of the grassy hill

overlooking the bay where the old sundial used to stand-

Male voice;...- Now just a rusted stump with jagged claws.

Female voice;... On the dial foundations ,

male voice;... a cracked and gnarly slab of limestone-

female voice;... I play at the bullfight -swirling my red shawl round

my hips like a matador,taunting you with the violent

whispers of the swish of cloth as you dip and dive

round my hips,

male voice ; dancing and leaping about your shadow,

female voice; glee-fully revelling in the afternoon sun-

male voice ;- daring my shadow to engulf yours.-

female voice; When it does you scream in mock hysterics as if you`ve been gored by a

bull.

Sometimes a cloud swiftly swallows the sun

male voice;... so that in an instant all our shadows are one.

Female voice ;... The cloud-shadow swallows my shadow-

male voice … My shadow swallows yours .

Female voice... In that instant it seems to me that you , also, disappear from my vision;

male voice,;... Caught in a blind spot .

Female voice... Only the curling rim of the red shawl caught in the sudden gust of wind

seems to exist for me in that moment-

a curlicue of red silk frozen in mid-air framing the distant island offshore;

Until a halo of light glinting off its concave lip announces the passing of the cloud ;

male voice … The return of the sun.

female voice.. .I clasp your hand tighter than ever on our stumble-down return.

 

I wash my hands in your face.

I wash my face with your face ,

to start the day again .

to start each day again...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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