Wednesday, 27 June 2012

I know but one freedom ...

A wise man once said ‘I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery). A phrase that always comes to the tip of my tongue at times least expected. I find myself repeating the words ‘freedom of the mind’, what do they mean? I roll it over on my tongue play with it a little, accidently spill my tea on my fresh white shirt and the words disappear from my mind as quickly as they will appear the next time.

They popped into my head last night, as I lay in bed recalling the sleepless hours I had spent before. Freedom of the mind, I pondered, perhaps it is the right to think what you like, to be free from things that restrain us. Is it to cast away the ball and chain that squeezes our imaginations shut, an abusive husband, a school bully, society? I like to think that freedom of the mind is the power to imagine. So what if there is no such things as ghosts? It would still be fun to visit a haunted house, walk underneath creaking floorboards, through draughty rooms, along dusty corridors and believe.

 Most people would call me delusional if they knew that last night as I lay in bed I could see the flickering of lights around my room, I could hear the buzzing of wings and there was a tugging at my feet and my arms. They had come for me, my heart lilted. The fairies were here and they had spun fishing line around my ankles and my wrists. I could hear the beating of their hearts quicken and their groans as they tried to lift me from the depths of my dream and out of my bed. I laughed and rolled over, my ankles stung and I heard a loud thump on the floor similar to the sound of a fly hitting against the window pane.

Peeping over the edge of my bed to see who was there I saw a white, bright light glowing on the wooden floor of my bedroom. It was Gem. I picked her up and placed her in the palm of my hand.
            “What’s the matter my dear?” I asked, rubbing the tip of my index finger against her cheek.
            “It’s you that’s the matter,” she sobbed. “You’re turning into an adult and won’t be able to play with us for much longer. We can’t even pull you from your bed. Soon we won’t have enough fairy dust to give you so you can become one of us.” I chuckled at the spluttering fairy as she tickled my palm with every hiccupping bump she gave.
            “Don’t be silly Gem, I will never be too old to play with you and the other Fairies at Farthen Abbey,” I smiled and from her pocket she procured her tin shaker. Fluttering around me she sprinkled me with white fairy dust. My ears began to tickle and my back felt itchy. Looking at my hand I watched as it shrunk in size. We giggled and holding hands flew out my bedroom window and descended through the night.

 Perhaps freedom of the mind is the art of not growing up, holding onto our dreams and never letting go. ‘I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.’


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Human Duties

Some use it to disguise themselves, to cover their blemishes but really it’s for scars. Not the visible scars you received from falling off a swing when you were four or from jumping over barbed wire at the age of seven. These are the scars you got at eleven playing in the school yard, the scars of rejection from your first crush. When your mother called you ugly and your friends sniggered. We try to cover them over. Try to be what others want us to be. Be what we are not. It is what is expected of us.

We walk around like clones because we all want to look the same.  Like an army of soldiers we wear the same uniform upon our face, all of us are in unison. To walk out of line, not step to the beat we would be scowled upon. 

It is used in the morning, before you leave the house, depriving our skin from the morning sun. You can put it in your handbag, in the back pocket of your jeans. You must make sure it is always near. For those moments of vulnerability when we are coming undone we find comfort in knowing it is close. We run to the toilet and procure it from our pockets in the middle of the day.

They say it’s what makes us beautiful. It hides away our imperfections. But it doesn’t last forever. It fades away. We are revealed to the world once more. We don’t like it. We fear they mightn’t like us.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Queen of Hearts

Life is like a game of poker, all about the bluffing. At this very moment a group of people sit down to a game of poker. Whether they sit around a dining room table on Wisteria lane, the old kitchen table at their granny’s home or in a dank cellar of a brothel they all play the same game. They smile to their play mate, pull out their chair and sit down confidently, gulping their drink in case the liquid gets trapped in their tight throats.

Sitting around the table peering at each other, the housewives done a brave veneer upon their faces, flawless to each other but inside less fearless. Like Alice they see one another as the Queen of hearts, the person they must face to figure out the puzzle of Wonderland.  A fake laugh, a flutter of eyelids, a tap of a wine glass and their puzzle is solved, one walks away with the money, while the others wonder where it all went wrong.

At a rickety table in the back-ass of nowhere a family sit around a table; they drink tea and play a ‘friendly’ game of poker. The beloved son bluffs his way through to the end, but his sneaky smile is a give away the others know all too well. His ends in tragedy.

The smell of tobacco and cheap gin fills the grim room of the tavern cellar; the scurrying of rats can be heard by the four men as each sits around the keg of beer. They stare through each other, waiting for one to cave under the pressure. A gun is pulled, a struggle ensues and Mr Unfortunate goes home to tell his wife they are moving house the following morning.

Yes, poker is a game of deceit and trickery; one man bluffs his way to the end with a dead hand and the guy with the two aces has pulled out long ago; It is a game where one person wishes for more and the other is happy with their set of four.
 As we sit in the dining room underneath an ornate chandelier or in the old musty kitchen beside a purring cat or whether it be in the basement of an illegal brothel with creaking floorboards above our heads we watch each other intently to call each other’s bluff. Little do we know that the person beside us has it all, a full house. They sit in the dark, as their queen of hearts wiggles in their hands saying ‘off with their heads’. We take another glass of wine, heat up of tea, sniff of cocaine and the game resumes.

Until someone overdoses from their tea and the others realise the white stuff floating on its surface wasn’t lime scale from the kettle.

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