Memoir: ‘fact, fiction, memory, speculation, intervention, testimony, fabrication, retrieval’ Drusilla Modjeska
(Apologies, I’ve written this in second person.)
Working on subjectivity and fragmentation, and how they can reveal truth. Feedback would be lovely.
It is dark and you are walking.
It is dark and you are walking. Heavily because you are angry, but lightly too because the tears have eschewed your vision and the old man on his porch down the road shouldn’t know you’re in the dark alone. Behind is the light from the kitchen, the clang of the gate, Coco’s pleas to come too. In the house your brother will be reading Encyclopaedia A-G, slower now that you are no longer a rival. Your mother will be telling your father that their daughter is selfish and inflexible. In the night, you see the numbers she repeated: 10, 8. 10, 8. 10, the number of your years, the number that suggests you can surrender the book to your 8-year-old brother if he so wishes to read it. Even if you were halfway down the page on ‘Butterflies’, deciding on your favourite wings. Even if he has read the whole lot a million times, and you have too. In the dark the number 10 appears in tree branches, the puddles on the asphalt. The number plates of passing cars. Perhaps someone should have stopped by now. You are a crying girl, stomping and creeping along the street, in her purple dressing gown, feet in runners 2 sizes too small because you refuse to play a sport. No one knows where you are.
In your room between the mattress and the springs is a picture of a yellow-haired girl (you) and a brown-haired boy kissing. Their arms are elongated, their hands hidden because you could never draw fingers. Your mother has found the picture, found the diaries — every one of them you wrote and slowly discarded — later might find the text messages, the site history. Your sister, now 6 years old and asleep in the room you share, will probably tell her about the time you stumbled home from work with twigs caught through your hair. But that will be years from this night. This night you walk to the park alone, hoping someone might stop their car, might see you, you don’t care what next. At school you’re warned that dangerous people offer lollies, but you never liked sugar and you aren’t afraid. Maybe someone will brake by the curb, ask your name, be brown-haired with beautiful hands and take you away from competitions over encyclopaedias and how old and young your years are.
In 10 years you will have walked far away from this town, ridden in fast cars, long forgotten about the wings of butterflies. One night you will fight with a lover (brown-haired, will bite his nails) and you will walk out of the door and into the night. You will walk along Bell Street in the northern city suburbs, heavily and lightly under the streetlights glaring into passing cars. They will keep driving. The road will melt into highway and the footpath will disappear. A bridge will reach through the darkness. The road trains will roar through the night. No one will know where you are.