I used to write fiction.

When I was six I was an albatross who did not know how to fly. I got hurt, but the people like you, they are a damaging lot, this modern world, the brutality and lack of love applied with force then more force into the spaces where lies are told. I could tell you lies but I’d rather tell you stories.

It might be hard to tell the difference, if you don’t know how to see. Most people don’t know how to see. The world is full of lies told by those people. The rest of us, the few that remember, we tell stories and it pulls at you, and you wonder if it is a memory or a dream, or you think we are crazy and don’t deserve to live in your world of want. Because we fail to want, want enough, but the reality is that what we want are the things that you wish you could understand and your failure only brings you rage. And your rage brings danger and harm.

When I was six I ate magnets. There was always an alphabet, hanging in space. I’d sit before the refrigerator and slowly eat the magnets, over time, cautiously. The first 26 were easy, each letter with its three magnets – except the I which had two – and I’d eat work my way through a first round, and they’d hang in space, built into words and phrases. The second round would cause gravity to exert more power and they’d slip lower. By the time I was eating the final magnets, the letters had to begin to disappear. I’d hide them places. In my pockets, I’d sneak them out, empty, and bury them in the hard. I’d secret them in the bottom of trash, in a rush one or two might end up in the freezer. No one seemed to question the disappearance of letters in a house full of children.

Magnets have texture, a slightly soft solidity that is ridged on the edges. They must be chewed slowly until the core is reached, then swallowed. I can still feel their texture, I know there taste, though it has been years.  Sometimes when I walk past a childrens stores I am tempted, almost compelled, to go in and purchase a set of letters for my refrigerator. But eating magnets as an adult seems strangely wrong. It is a secret in my heart, that I still want to eat magnets, that I dream of the feel of them on my tongue and the strange zinging that sings to me.

I have an anomalous effect on compasses and gps systems. They cannot locate me in space. I like to think this is due to my steady diet of magnets as a child but it is just as likely that what we don’t realize is that these devices are placing us in time. As I live outside of standard time they are confused and I am not held.

For three years I ate magnets, deliberately, slowly, and then I found the trees, stopped eating magnets, and learned the art of invisibility.

Charlie was six or so when I met her. She has an internal compass that drives everything we do. She has a sixth sense, and a seventh, and an eighth. Maybe she was five, she is very small but so very old. It’s hard to tell. She is an ancient being in a tiny body. It sounds dreadfully cliché but perhaps there is something to these clichés. I prefer to avoid them, but in this case there is nothing I can do. I’ve never asked Charlie what she is looking for as there seems no reason to intrude. I am sure I will know when she finds it. Or perhaps she isn’t looking and that is my adult sensibility applied to this creature that has dragged me across six thousand miles of ocean and island. She looks at me with her green eyes which make clear how little I know. She isn’t disappointed, just a bit sad. Her blue eyes are far more excitable. I think it is the blue eyes which will find what she wants, and her green eyes which believe its too late and whatever she is looking for no longer exists. I can’t live without either set and I am always apprehensive when we reach a new shore, until I see her eyes, and I know who I am living with. I never know for how long. She comes and goes from her two selves in a rhythm I can find no pattern in. Her green eyes tell me I should know. Her blue eyes love me anyway.

When her eyes are blue I love her most. Until her eyes are green and I wonder how I could ever have loved that blue eyed child more than I love this green eyed one.

Leave a Reply