The Analysis of Flight….(part of my book)
Pressing her forehead against the cold glass, she recalled the events that had transpired. The familiarity of the faded morning light was soothing as she had been here many times before in the past year, waiting for her flight and the exit to another failed adventure. She had to consol herself with the stories in her mind, embroidered onto her hands. The narrative outline of the countries she had traveled had been easier to communicate than the actual truth itself: Everywhere she went she felt the same.
And yet she could not be more different.
Her heart was pushing up her throat like the fish she killed in biology class years ago, holding it in the palm of her hand as it ceased breathing. To kill something so fragile, the light catching the scales as it surrendered, was almost beautiful to watch. She wondered if this was the case with her heart now? Would he continue to watch her in his palm or would she be immersed in the safety of water again?
Would she surrender or fight?
Her mother had told her to be careful, but hearts are small wild creatures akin to foxes. She watched as it pulled her in all sorts of directions, and at times, abandoning her in the middle of forests, cities, taxi rides, and most recently tunnels where his tears echoed. She wished she had turned around that day but he told her to go with the promise of more mornings.
When M was 17 she felt the soft down of deerskin in the city of her birth, the light spots and flick of a fawn tail under the Scandinavian sun would never escape her. How like that fawn she had been; unsteady, unstable, and trusting with large dark eyes. Something had left that summer, and the evidence was still on her body or under the bed, she could not find it but others saw it like a brand etched into scarred flesh.
Whatever it was, she looked for her pieces under tabletops, in cathedrals where Michelangelo blinded himself; she even went to the Forbidden City in hopes of rediscovering these elusive parts. Like a Bellmer doll she found her limbs misconstrued and tangled, unable to defend herself as she woke up in places she could not name.
Was this the urgency to her plight?
But there was more, there always was. That incurable sadness that drove so many away and yet also attracted them in the first place. It was in everything she touched, the way her words ceased their clarity, the images she created were windows to something deeper. It was a hidden realm and a familiar one, this portal she had created with paper. Words often failed her but the visions she pushed on paper and film said more than any conversation.
She wove a necklace of words for him to wear in hopes of creating a link between sound and sight, but he used it as a noose instead.
M almost died several times, but like most creatures of a feline nature she had nine lives. The first death was not so simple, as it was also her birth. Screaming in the fluorescent light as the umbilical chord was cut from around her neck, it had tangled and strangled when she was in utero; this was the first time she had left home.
The second was when she was three, drowning in the pool until her brother jumped into save her. And then the last few times were not so clear, there was the time she almost starved to death at her own choosing, entering hospitals and living under the veil of medication. There was also the time she had drank so much that the ambulance was called, her head heavy the next morning with the knowledge that she would never really remember what had happened the night before. There were the times in foreign cities that she felt herself slipping away, the very essence of who she was dripping out of her fingertips and eyes, chapped lips silent.
So much of her life was spent in between destinations; the cold pattern of marble floors and the distinct smell of disinfectant were always present in her mind. She knew she put herself here, his words hitting her harshly; she was self absorbed and unable to recognize the truth.
Or was it that she never noticed the obvious, only the deeper things?
Her vision myopic, or was it a delayed reaction?
When one loses their mind it can be found in several places. M knew that the last time she found it had been inside of a horse’s mouth. Perhaps her mother knew this as well, pushing her to go to weekly riding lessons when her body was frail from her own misgivings. One summer after her many deaths (how many lives did she even have left?) she stayed at a ranch high on the plateau. The dry air was supposed to cure her or perhaps it was the horse underneath her and the clear sky above, so different from the rainy forests of her past.
One evening she had groomed a baby palomino, its long bony legs shaking under the sound of an upcoming storm, the skies changing in his eyes. In one moment she held out her hand as it spit up the pieces, each brightly colored as she glued them back together. How had it gotten there? Inside the mouth of a colt in a plateau far from anything she knew?
Many times her mind had tried to run away again, her heart always made itself apparent when it ran off, it liked attention too much but her mind was something secret, quiet and balanced. Only in the past few months of her travel had she realized that it had left her again, as she looked under gravestones in Scotland, in the soft down of a dead bird, behind Botticelli’s Venus, until finally she looked into the mirror at her own reflection. Had she changed overnight? The pale skin with dark flowers blooming under the eyes, she did not look older but seemed to be some frail waifish creature, not human. Or was she too human in her vulnerability?
It slowly dawned on her that she had lost her mind again when the only conversations she could hear were through telephone wires; the ones in real life muted but the colors in the eyes of her peers became even more vivid. Her life had become a silent film, a push in the stomach, the events all interconnected like the anatomy of the fireflies she used to catch when she first fell for him.
She thought she found her mind in the wings of a swan, its violent flapping as it struggled to get out of the water, for minds are heavy things and can often interrupt the act of aviation. Perhaps this was why she could never take it on airplanes, sending it express before she arrived.
But the swan got away as she watched her mind fall in pieces from its wings, like petals on a wilted flower. She realized then that perhaps this was her eighth death, and that meant she only had one life left.
But how could she continue with all of these broken and missing pieces?
I guess this is why M had to take the next flight.
It was the only way she knew to find herself.
In between the time zones, underneath glass tunnels, she knew it would come back eventually for life cannot really be lived without such intervention.
Unfortunately, it seemed, she would be alone in this last ninth charade.
-pictures taken by RyA