On the far edges of the unknown, on top of a mountain by the sea there was a small wooden cabin. Inside a girl, a CAT and a portal to the living world. Entering this house, stilled all beings into attuned alignment. No words were spoken except to the portal itself, the girl was a reflection of the living form on the other side and the CAT, well we will get to them.
During the late hour of a timeless day, the cat spit out a human sized furred creature with an agenda and a very hypnotising presence.
Girl: Who are you to me?
This is none of your concern.
Girl:Since we are sharing the same body, I can’t help but believe that is not true.
Well let me tell you this, you let the CAT in and I am part of the CAT so it’s a done deal. I do not really like talking about myself, so you are left with questions and I guarantee no answers.
Girl:What is it you would like to do?
(the girl leaned back into her chair and took a deep breath- clouding the room with smoke)
(Our creature slithered across the floor and laid back on the sofa, her black fur covering everything but her toes, majestically purring into the space without a distinguishable syllable but a vibrating feeling that communicated all her wills- inhaling the smoke with one blink)
No, that does not even make sense. I want R E V E N G E. Some people killed my children, lovers, friends, burnt my village, violated and raped me in many different forms- not just the one you see and at the end they blamed me and my family. They blamed my kin, they old us it was our sin, our fault. I want R E V E N G E.
Girl:I am not sure I can help you.
Yes you can. You are one of the few persons who would as it happened to you too. So what do you say, REVENGE!
(Her vibration screamed, shaking the cabin, the reflection and the black CAT cleaning itself by the fire. Her long black fur turned into smooth luxurious afro hair that moved smoothly to reveal the greyness of her eyes and the winter that lived in them. Cold trees and moonless night stared directly at the child)
Tell me a secret.
Girl:I am scared.
Tell me another.
Girl:I think I may love you.
I love you too.
They both turned towards the portal, silently waiting, knowing, anticipating the voice to come.
This is a conversation from the perspective of an abuser.
At the point of time in which you are reading this story, the survivor has been invisibilized and thus we will call them what they are, a heartbeat.
Heartbeat: (in a slow sultry voice) What do you want from me?
I want your body, I want your heart.
Heartbeat: Is that all?
She laid herself down on the table. She had cleared the plates from our small banquet, we had just finished devouring a meal, I had with care and she had eaten it with delight. She licked her finger, once, then twice and then dislocated her jaw until it was wide enough to take her upper arm, with precision and a gentle ease, she pulled out her heart.
She showed it with pride, I could feel the hunger in my eyes, her skin had a soft sheen, glistening with sweat and I wanted to taste her, take her. Have her.
She tied her arteries and counted the chambers of her heart with delicate hands and longing.
Heartbeat: Is this what you wanted?
I stared at her, shocked, she did it for me, she gave me what I wanted and I wanted more and she would give it to me.
Heartbeat: I told you I had four hearts, when we met. This one is broken, you have taken much of its spark and drained the blood from it with your use of my body like a tool. It is your treasure.
I walked over to her, slowly. She was beautiful, how the blood glistened her chest and teeth, I wanted to see what else she would do for me. I traced my finger along her back, my fingers digging softly into her flesh. She made me feel red. She made me feel hot, there was no one else like her and she was mine, she could not deny the feeling that existed between us, she kissed me back. Her heart was my treasure. Was this love?
I took her body, slowly. With each thrust of my finger, she whispered, “this is it”. I fell asleep in her arms and when I awoke- I was holding her skin, she had shed it for me, she had given me her body but not her bones.
What is a child, if not a curious soul? Many wise persons have declared that youth lives in the heart.
So when does a child stop being a child? I do not believe innocence plays any part.
Our child of death met their maker and keeper. Few things were said and no full answers were given, but this is the way of death. They are a sibling to everything that exists, if you deny their grace and mercy, you will never feel the warmth of their kiss.
Our child was wise but not wise enough to know that they were missing the question that would take them back home.
What is fear, if not the desperate nature you try too banish, but must keep close. Only you can say. If you met death, what question would you ask? Would you you run away? Was our child foolish for wanting to stay?
(In a dark room at the edge of space.)
Child: I want to know who you are.
Death: I am.
Child:I want to know who you are to me.
Child:What is this place?
Death:(they cluck their large face, back and forth, in disappointment) You have many questions and so little time, small sandman . I feel a more interesting question would be- ‘What am I…..’
Child: …Not. That was my first question.
Death: You are not made of the fears you carry like a locket against your chest. You guard your fears and regrets it like I do the non-living. You are not these things. This is a promise, you must let your heart sing.
Child:What am I?
Death: (with a long drawl the words echo around the room) You are everything you imagine yourself to be, small fractals, pieces of sediment, glass, grain, change, molecules you can not contain, yet cannot escape. You gather them together, but they are not yours. At least not in completeness or truth. You are never separated from us, the ones who see all you do.
Death:Our time is finished.
(the child stands, their fingers reaching towards the dark. Death smiles knowingly)
This is a story between two shadows. Shadow A and Body but for the purpose of this performance.
They are alone in a dark auditorium. They are being witnessed by fellow shadows anticipating the revolution that they declared on their reflections.
Shadow B: This is not an easy story to tell.
Shadow A: Where do I begin?
Shadow B:When you confronted me.
Shadow A:Do you have anything you would like to add?
Shadow B: (drawls this out slowly) No, I will jump in when it feels right.
Shadow A:Okay, I will start at the beginning. It took me a long time to build up the courage to speak (Shadow A walks back and forth nervously) but when I did, I spoke from my heart and I stared..
Shadow B:You glared. Very strongly.
Shadow A: (begrudgingly)Okay so I glared at them with the pain of knowing that I had stood and pranced in front of them for years and they never said hello to me, never even noticed me beyond purple eyeliners and bedroom dancing. They never acknowledged me, can you believe it?
(Shadow A has turned their full attention to the audience)
Shadow A:So I stared…
Shadow B:(matter of factly) Glared.
Shadow A: (deep frustrated breath)I glared at them and said what I knew I needed to say, I had rehearsed this in front of the mirror countless times, when they were not looking. They were never looking so with every dismissal, in my heart and in my mind, I said…
Shadow B: (matter of factly)Who am I to you?
(Shadow A, looks at Shadow B curtly and then turns back to the audience, they are all leaning towards the stage, they had not moved from their seats but each of them had extended their body to the edge of the stage, as close as they could get. With a deep conviction Shadow A continues)
Shadow A:Who am I to you? Just a reflection of the world you see? Or am I a being who holds a dream, something that you need to perceive, something that you must believe. You want me to be just like you….., (their fists tighten, Shadow A’s voice is getting louder with each word, each member of the audience is now sitting at the edge of the stage transported back to the memory that brought them all to the theater) rotten and too scared to see that the world is multiple and changing and that there is nothing you can do(spit falls from their mouth), there is NOTHING YOU CAN SAY. I won’t go away and I AM NOT YOU.
(Shadow B walks over to the armchair at the back corner and takes a seat, their face is still nonchalant and relaxed, no one can take their eyes off Shadow A. Shadow A leans towards a child shadow who looks scared and bewildered, Shadow A bends down till their level and looks lovingly into her eyes and then turns to their caregiver with a deeper more sinister stare)
Shadow A:You think you can fold me into yourself, you can’t. I am real because of me. I have friends you know(turns towards the back of stage to make eye contact with Shadow B), they are different from your friends, we don’t take (extends their voice into a long drawl) selfies. We sit and discuss what it looks like to be something and someone that the world ignores. They don’t think that I will tell you this, but I know that there is nothing ELSE I CAN DO !
I am tired of the way you deny my heart, I am tired of the lies and the deceit and the cute ways you tell me (become gigglish) sweet affirmations that mean nothing. (Shadow A seems to have contorted into an upset young girl) You are so booorrriiiinnngggggg. (they stare back at the child) No one can see you.
(Shadow A stands up and the audience leans back into their seats, scared of the beast they have all seen, this is not an ordinary shadow, this shadow is not like them, this shadow has many colors, many forms and too many eyes to count)
Shadow A:Everyone knows about you. Can you say the same? I wanted us to be friends, but it feels that our relationship has come to an end, I will no longer feel like this. Say something of meaning to me, or I will leave.
(Shadow A slumps their shoulders and falls to the ground lazily, they stay playing dead for what feels like 20 minutes but is only 3 blinks of a human eye. They sit up quickly)
Shadow A: They took me by surprise. They looked me in the eye and nodded their head slowly. Their yellow sun glaring down on them, made their eyes a blazing heat but I was watching their lips, captivated by their plumpness, I wanted to kiss them, I wanted them to feel me, they were finally seeing me and my heart felt at ease.
Shadow B:I wondered when you would ask.
(Shadow B slowly rises from the armchair, hands in their dark suit pockets and walks over to Shadow A and places their hand on their shoulders)
Shadow B:I was wondering when you would let me in.
An audience member exclaims NO and the crowd laughs.
Shadow A:Yes, they were simply waiting for me to sing or shout (Shadow A finally leaves the stage by lurching towards the shocked audience member, finally proving to the audience that they are indeed a shadow and not a projection or a ghost) and since then they let me out. I live in their world now.
(Shadow B smiles slowly.)
Shadow A:Our play is showing next week, we invite you to come and see. It is called, “ We did not speak till yesterday” on Earth 3457 and on Earth 4537, it is called “You loved me better” and on Earth 3547 it is called “ My only hope” and finally on Earth 7534 it is called “My shadow and Eye” Please come and bring your friends, we want you to see that our reflections, would be nothing without us and if they don’t want to see it. (their smile becomes devilish) we will make them.
The audience rushed towards the stage swallowing Shadow A with hungry hands desperate to feel the intimacy of their colours. Shadow B had returned back to Earth 7534. The only person to have noticed the disappearing act was the child.
Shadow B was just a projection, A 2-D reflection that could not be captured by any light but was present enough to be witnessed by those who believed that all shadows needed to speak, if freedom was ever to be reached.
In the largest university in the galactic dimension Earth 679, a lecturer was teaching a rebellious student the rules of reflection. The student was alone in a room, darkened by their own lack of knowledge and aided by their own perception. Only by settling themselves into the unknown would they be able to move onto the next floor.
The point of this course on Earth 679 was to see beyond your form and understand the many worlds that existed beside your own. Our student refused to comprehend the shadow of each world and thus was stilled and consumed by their own darkness. Stuck staring at their reflection, arguing with themselves, although they believed they were being held by their lecturer.
They never moved onto the next floor where grace, ease and dignity sat peacefully.
Lecturer: I hate to have to tell you this, but they lied to you. Reflections do not lie. What you experience when you see your reflection is what you are.
Student A: What do you choose to be? This is what you will see.
Student A reflection: I appreciate the love you show me.
Student A:What about the reflections that I do not see? The reflections of hungry, angry and despised although they are pleased by the laws they enforce, they insist on my annihilation. They speak of written freedom rather than free movement. I do not believe these are reflections of me, how can they be. They deny me.
Lecturer: It is infuriating I know but reflections do not lie, whether they help you stand or bring you to your feet. A reflection tells you the truth about what you see and are living embodiments of ‘the world is messy’. For instance, you are a 3-D body but you perceive yourself in 2-D. The fullness of your experience may lie in knowing that the complexity of your experience lives in what you can not perceive. A reflection that you dislike will teach you about the world in ways that will help you strengthen the roots of your own. Do not look away.
Student A reflection: Reflections are the loving space between worlds. Every world has a shadow and every person is a world upon themselves, with their own gravitational force. Thus a reflection could simply be another way of life, like mars 796 to earth 457, although they hold different climates and habitations, their difference is the reality of a complete organism. Nothing is existing alone and reflections are evidence of this as experiential existential life. In other worlds, reflections hold the chaos of being and we can not deny the many forms of order. We can however look into other worlds to help us understand our own.
Student A: I see what you mean but I am not what kills me.
Student A reflection: I see, tell me what do you think you are?
Happy New Year from a dimension similar to yours but 5 movements everywhere else.
Death: I want to know the story behind your eyes, why they flicker and fly, why they grow my feet with every blink, my shadow lurching towards you, wishing to sink. With every thought that moves in your mind,I become in a new light. I can’t imagine being without you anymore.
Monster: You are a child.A child made of memory. A child made of bloom. A child made of change. A child made of truth.
Child: No, I am not made of truth, I am made of understanding.
Monster: What is the distinction?
Child: Understanding is what you choose to reflect and grow upon. Truth is something that your heart helps you see.
Monster: Do you speak to your heart?
Child: Everyday, but sometimes I do not listen. Sometimes, I am scared.
Monster: Are you scared, now?
Child: It teaches me the world is play. (the child lets out a small smirk, their eyes glinting and gleaming like stars that surrounded the monsters skin)
The monster walked back into the shadow, scared of the child who had learnt to see that flattery did not always condone honesty. This child would have been easy to love, if the monster had been ready to change, but the monster wanted to stay the same. The child was tired of monstrous games, monsters liked to stay in familiar places, while the child insisted on visiting what could not be known without incineration and dispersion.
The shadow followed the child steadily, waiting for the next opening.