Not the beginning

You fell out of life. As if you’d stepped into a mirror and the world was now out there. All it took was one step. But sometimes one step is enough to find yourself back in life. A single step, sometimes that can cover more ground than a lifetime of thought.

When did you fall out of life? Let’s go over it again. This time I’ll talk, it might help. It’ll interest no one, don’t worry. Let’s try to remember, like a drunk trying to remember the night’s events to himself before he falls sleep. I want to think about the year it all went wrong.

There was a disused farm, but that isn’t the beginning. I can’t start at the beginning either. There was a pebble courtyard and a house with a solid brown door. Red barn doors and white flaking walls with windows full of spider webs. Interesting musty smells in the empty cow house, pig house, corn sluice, in the shed full of rusty machinery. The haylofts had been left as they were, the feral cats who made their home there were still being fed.

I turned you against yourself.

You walked beside yourself, beside me, that was your life, wasn’t it? Towards night buses in the country dark and train stations where you stood smoking cigarettes you didn’t want. Why are those the moments I remember tonight? Elsinore train station on Sunday nights. Sitting waiting in the dark: it seemed you were always waiting, just as I was waiting. Perhaps we were waiting for each other, from a long time apart, but a time that may not be as long as you think. The dark train station that smelled of piss, the piss of Swedes who took the ferry across the Sound to buy alcohol. The Swedes who were always dragging trolleys loaded with beer and spirits.

One step, sometimes that all it takes, that’s all I want to say tonight.

Now my mind’s eye sweeps across Elsinore, that beautiful cold city, across the harbour, across the cobblestone streets filled with the liquor shops, across the castle itself, its canons, its breakwaters made of black granite blocks, across the Sound to the coast beyond. What was in your head when you sat on the bench every weekend, on your way back from your grandparents’ farm? What in your empty head, that hadn’t started to read, that had hardly started to think? Wasn’t I in the process of being born then, in some obscure region of your mind? Perhaps these words themselves were already being born then, on those nights.

You may think I malformed you, that I was the one who pulled you out of life, into the mirror. You may be right.

Wake up from your slumber, your mirrored dreams. Help me pull you back.

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