colours in this room, in this space, landscape, or whatever it is,
they are all very basic. Primary, and even the non-primary colours,
well, they look like primary colours. You can't imagine them being
reduced down to their respective parts. Dissected. No. They are mono-colours.
Monolithic and monotone. Pillar-box red and Empire green. Burnt orange
and a Royal Navy blue. And even the geese, their whiteness, it isn't†
... I don't know how to put it but it is, they all are, all
these colours ... immovable. Earthed. There is an overwhelming purity
and thickness. And the light, my God, the light. Intense, strong,
blinding. That's why the colours have to be so strong, they†
have to stand up to that light. They have to refuse to become
bleached, refuse† to take second
place in the order of things.
then he came in. That pale little figure. You wouldn't have noticed
him except for the clothes. The thick green jumper with the gold buttons
along the left shoulder, the thick brown pants. And the black Wellington boots. As though somebody had shown
him the key, the were-withal, stuck him through a ritual, to† get him in here. When he took his silly hat
off, when you saw that fine blonde†
hair on top of his pale, transparent face, you couldn't make
the connection. Between him and the space, I mean. Between him and
the íscape, the ... canvas almost. Not that it is like a painting.
Not at all, for one thing it is freezing† out here. The wind is howling off left somewhere,
as though it is boring down† into
the sea, into the very depths of the ocean. I think the word I'm looking
for is brutal. Everything out here is brutal. Primitive. And then
this ...† this walking contradiction. I mean, where did
he come from, how did he† get
said he was a sleepwalker. And then I became afraid. If he was a† sleepwalker then he would be able to see me.
And sure enough, he was moving fast, as though he had no fears of
that space, as though he didn't have any real connection to the ground,
the earth, the soil of this ... three dimensional world. As though
he was two-dimensional. A thin whisper, a wafer, a waif, a wastrel.
A sleepwalker, I should have guessed it. That would explain the lack
of heaviness. The way he could just look at you but without using
the organs that were his eyes. He looked at you with something else.
He heard you, listened out for you, without using the organs that
were his ears. Then he smiled. Why had he come here? I had not asked
for him. I had not invited him in. Called upon him. I†
certainly had not visited him.
Mark, Suzie LaLu said, he's come in looking for you. Mark? I couldn't
believe it. But, he seems like a ... like a little boy, I said.
Nevertheless, it's Mark, Suzie LaLu said.
looked more closely. He looked half his age. Half his forty years.
They have to do that to get in here, Suzie LaLu said and she laughed.
A heavy scented laugh, appropriate to our home, to this thick coatedness
we live in, this atmosphere that feels more like water than air.
I asked. Why do you think, Suzie LaLu said. Was she jealous? I wondered.† I walked over to him and smiled. You never could
help but smile when Mark was† around,
he was kind of infectious like that. He didn't see me, not until I
was† right up in his face. He
was moving about too fast, that sleepwalking thing. I thought he was
going to say something silly, that he was just on his way to the bathroom
or something. But he didn't. I don't think he had expected the†
physicality. He had probably thought to encounter some disembodied
soul. An angel or a cat. A boddhisatva or a boa constrictor. Not just
me in my usual heavy body, more at home here, more grounded. Listening
with one ear to the wind† boring into the ocean.
Mark, I said. He blinked hard twice, then smiled. I saw the beauty
of his face, was reminded of it. Why? He asked. Why did you go from
me? I didn't mean to, I said, I just did. Won't you come back? He
asked. But I wouldn't know how to. I mean, I'm at home here. And if
I think about it, he was always a bit like that, Mark, always a bit
overly spiritual somehow. Oversensitive. You could imagine him slowly
drinking himself to death if† things
didn't go well. He wasn't abrasive like me. He wouldn't ski down the
Dolomites or stick his head in a gas oven. He was never really into
the hardness of the earth. I don't know why he ever went there in
the first place. I don't understand why he didn't skip it at once.
need you, he said. And there was that old twinge of pain. That feeling
of something probing, spiralling downwards into me. Boring, penetrating.
Trying to get into places where it had no right. Stay out of my space
you fuck! I heard myself shout out loud. Then he turned even paler.
Julie! Suzie LaLu called out, in that reprimanding tone she has.
he never did understand things, Mark. He was always so damned, so
damned ... he always wanted to get to the bottom of things. As if
things have a bottom. As though everything can be explained. Just
look up the origin of the word, the origin of the religion, the origin
of the this and the that. And there you have† your answer. That was Mark all over.
it felt like he was explaining me away. That I was becoming not-me.
That I was becoming some kind of artificial, highly cultivated, oversensitive
co-exister. Vibrating with him whilst he read a poem, a tuning fork
between us as the stereo turned a string quartet. I mean, Mark, it
was all so lovely in the† beginning. I thought you were so, so ... so
everything that I wanted to become but in the end you were nothing
that I wanted. Nothing at all. And you couldn't take it, you couldn't
leave alone. You pursued me, chased me, wouldn't give up, wouldn't
accept no for an answer. Started to talk about the stages of love.
The stages of love, do me a favour! I'm a healthy woman for crying
out loud. I want to ski down the Dolomites and stick my head in the
gas oven. Get out of my space. Take your sweet, smiling paleness and
piss off out of† here.
think you're going a bit over the edge, Suzie LaLu said. But I had
already† gone over the edge, I took myself over the edge,
joyfully, in full† knowledge.
I embraced my life and carried it with me into this place. Into this
private place. Into this place where nobody should be able to enter.
Not unless I give them permission.
how did he get here, Suzie LaLu asked, if you didnít let him come?
I looked out at the wind, boring into the ocean. Forcing its way into
another element. Tell me about it, I said. Please, Mark said. Oh,
sod off Mark. Better come again another day, Mark, Suzi LaLu said.
suddenly he was gone. The funny thing, the absurd thing is, that he's
left his footprints here. That's so he can find his way back, Suzi
LaLu said. And in a funny way I miss him already. I look forward to
seeing him again. My little, irritating sleepwalker.
††††††††† © Anita Kane-Evans