She was a pirate, with sword in hand and had dipping low on her face. Too big for her, grin full of trouble and hands full of flair and swind.
She was running, Grass whirring past her bare feet. Leaping, dodging, laughing into the still air that she whipped into a breeze.
She was a writer, sat in her retreat, pen on paper and mind stuck on a story she couldn’t quite get out into the world. But dammit she would try.
Her hand lifted up and the gun shot. A harmless pellet rang out and a cry of laughter erupted.
She was a space pilot, decked in spandex in a sombre suit. Her stern features carved from a stalwart stone of stubborn determination.
He whizzed past and shot back, more laughter, and the sound of his voice singing along with the birds in bliss.
She was a singer, alone in a room without an audience, clad in her dreams and eyes shut and drowning to the world. But not so alone, one figure sitting and watching her from the dark theatre and letting her pained voice embalm him.
She tumbled to the grass. He tumbled down with her, wrestling away the gun. Fledglings that they were, all they had was laughter, and each other in the open air.
She was a warrior. Armor shone, tarnished from recent battle. Stern sadness was in her eyes and loss echoed from the glint of her eyes and the blood on her sword. Her shield hung in one limp hand.
They looked at eachother, her atop him as she regained her toy gun and his. Both were dropped, and her hands were busy reaching for his heart as the music tinkled gently around them.
[And I just watched you.]
She was walking. Rows of houses on either side in the cold darkness. Uneven paving tumbled below her feet, the thick block of her heel clumping along with the music she had turned up to drown out the world. Her eyes saw everything, but nothing. Her feet kept steady pace. A cat ran past her path and she bent to offer out her hand. It ran off.
The music became louder. The drum beats fierce, but they weren’t supposed to be.
She shielded her eyes from a sudden house light, and looked around. She was alone in the neighbourhood street.
Another light. Pounding, she raised up both arms in defence as they came up with each deafening beat in her ear. Her face went from dreaming to scared. Things began to rush past her, not cats. Shadows. Things. Lights, Movement. Not tangible. They started to crowd her as they fled past and away and ignoring the pain scratching at her ribcage.
She was drenched in the lights, beckoning down on her and judging, and her face was torn. She felt the chaos of her brain on the outside of her body pressing in. These whirring, sprinting lights and shadows. They were London, they were Singapore, they were Istanbul and Paris. They were all the quiet places, too, where her mind screamed the most. Normandie, Boulogne, Oxford, her room. Her dozens of rooms where she had sat trapped away from the judging gaze of the lights.
The Pirate was a girl with a hat too large, and a roll of used wrapping paper in one hand.
She crouched and huddled faster away from the lights, feeling the scream inside of her.
The writer was a girl bunched up on a seat in the tube, scribbling in frustration at a page that simply wouldn’t come to life like her mind.
She hid her face from the glaring lights, eyes burning so hard that tears began to well between her lashes, the music overpowering everything inside of her.
The pilot was a girl with that toy gun, standing in preparation, thinking of the world and how it wanted to hurt her.
Her lips opened in a silent sob, as her hands clawed around her own head, stuck in this reverie of a nightmare.
The singer was a girl in the shower, singing out all of the sorrow and heart she felt, alone, with no one there to see her. See her.
Her body huddled as far into itself as it could, and there seemed no retreating as everything else carried on around her, whirring so close that these shadow people almost knocked her over, and the lights of the imagined headlamps threatened to run her down.
The warrior was just a girl. She had no weapons. But she felt loss, and the scars on her body were just as real as she stood there in her shorts and t-shirt. Thighs and wrists revealed the battle that raged so hidden and silently in her twisted mind.
Her final moment had footsteps. Not her own, but another set she couldn’t hear past the beating drums and the words repeating over and over again in her headphones, in her brain. It was always rushing past her and leaving her in the depths of a darkness she could not fathom in these brumy pits of despair.
The girl was gone. She could not weep loudly, or openly, but hid behind her clawed hands and behind the scars. Behind the hard exterior as she broke down without warning.
She felt it before she saw it, though it never touched her. Her eyes peeked out from behind her barrier, pale in the lights that blinded her. She was always blind to the world. Always.
The figure was a calm shadow, a respite from the judging lights and darks that screamed down at her to stop pretending, to stop dreaming. To stop living. It was quiet, and sad. And the music was unbearable.
She took the hand, and the lights were all gone. The dashing, the glaring, the flaring of her mind on the outside. Gone. She saw him. He saw her. And he helped her to her unsteady feet. It was a pause. It was a quiet.
“Pick up your shield”.
He nodded down at the dropped handbag on the ground, keeping her hand so tightly in his, she thought he might crush it. She thought that his voice might break with soft, worried tenderness.
She picked it up. Her shield. But really, as he pulled her to his chest, he was her shield. She smothered into it, silent tears and invisible cries muffled against it as she was held in those arms.
She saw him. And he saw her.
[Tonight. You just close your eyes. And I just watch you. Slip away.How close am I. To losing you.
Hey? Are you awake. Yeah I’m right here. How can I ask you. About Today?
How close am I. To losing you. How close am I. To losin’.]
In the midst of uncertainty, without the lights of judgement baring down, they went home. Already in a separate world.