Prompt via Weekly Writing Challenges (4th August 2014)
In this week’s writing challenge, mine your memory and write a memoir.
It is some time in May, maybe later, maybe earlier. I never remember dates. I find myself barefoot in Paradise and, though the sun feels like kitten kisses on my lids, I would give anything to be elsewhere.
I shield my eyes from the scorching sun and wonder not for the first time, or the last if I need more sunblock. If I am honest with myself, which I am trying not to be, I’m an Autumn Girl and beaches aren’t my thing. In fact, sand gets everywhere and there’s not much to do. Drink, basically and play pool while Bob Marley serenades.
Again, if I allow myself to stop and think about it, all his songs about love are just cruel. It will never be me.
I’m here with someone. Someone who scares me for reasons I can’t explain. I would rather be anywhere else with anybody else but I am weary. What if he is right and nobody else will ever want me? Is that even a bad thing? Love is obviously not for me and I was a fool to wish for it.
Take me back to heartbreak and desperation. Take me back to my bedroom floor, the one on which I lay crumpled, crying until I hiccuped. Crying until I had surely used up my lifetime’s quota.
He’s somewhere around but on these heady hot days I try to be where there are people. In a group I can just about handle this. It’s when he tries to touch me that I feel my facade slip. I can’t deal with the truth though because the truth hurts people and demands answers. I don’t have answers and so I’m going to keep on swimming.
I’m at the shop and I see him again. The man from the hill. I see him sometimes and he’s got his dogs with him. They look at me with rheumy eyes while I look at him. He’s tall and thin and looks just like a man who lives on a hill. His name is Mr Ood and he’s legendary, so they say.
I buy my juice and some food for his dogs while I’m there, why not? He’s thankful, even though he doesn’t speak my language. Or maybe he speaks it perfectly.
We go our seperate ways. Later he sends a message down via a village boy. He says he will tattoo me for free because his dogs like me. He’s legendary because he is an artist and was famous once on the Khao San Road.
The man I am with tells me I am stupid to even consider the gift. It’s dangerous and foolish, he says. It might be, I think but then I think, to myself, FUCK YOU. That’s how I find myself on the winding path, walking towards the hill.
When I arrive, I see that the village boy has a giant Koi on his shoulder; beautiful and intricate, almost jumping off his golden skin. “I’ll have that” I tell Mr Ood and I swear he winks.
The pain and all the discomfort than follows is worth it. The big FUCK YOU is so worth it. I will always have this on my skin as a reminder that even when I am down, even when I have no idea what to do, you can’t stop me. You can’t tell me what to do.
Even though I am already tattooed in discreet places, this is the most impulsive thing I have ever done to my body and it feels like nothing I have ever felt before. I don’t know this now, at this time, but I will look back one day and realise, this is where I started to fight back.
Later on, my back to him in bed, as it always is, he says it’s like I am somebody else.
How I wish, I think, as I shut my eyes, happy to feel something for the first time in months. Even if it is only defiance.