mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Sport 19: Lightworks


page 158


it was more or less exactly as I expected only there was more of it and it had less substance. I was not sure where to lay blame. there were a number of events that led up to it, a number of people slightly responsible but no one leaping up claiming full culpability. and nicer for many of us to be left a little darkened in that way. everyone had their own opinion. none of us could have claimed to be one hundred per cent sure but deep in the back of our guts there was a fair idea which secretly we knew was the truth. and we would never share it with others but sometimes by the way people were nodding we would realise that they knew the truth as well, possibly had done for a while, although obviously not before we did. this is a feeling I have had before. you may have had it also. you may have stopped on the street one day with a friend, a good friend, and the reason you have stopped is because you have run into someone whom you know only slightly, perhaps from schooling days, and you all stop and have one of those awkward little chats where you all ask the questions that you find most boring and you've sworn never to ask again. and your brain thinks what a boring conversation, and your ego thinks this person is so dull. and your religious upbringing thinks I must be very stupid for I cannot find anything of interest in this verbal interchange. and then someone mentions their dying grandmother and suddenly your slightly acquainted schooling friend is talking about France, and passion, and fragile birdlife. and they talk for a long time, and your other friend, your good friend, swaps cunning little eye movements with you, and you find the situation distinctly entertaining in a way that you can imagine would soon wear off. and you discover your newly-found but quickly swelling acquaintance has that particularly charming habit of knowing much more than you about any topic that you care to mention. I once went to Hawaii/ I grew up in Hawaii; I like to write stories/ I used to flat with Margaret Mahy; sometimes I get depressed/ I find life so intolerable that I slash my wrists and spend two weeks of every month in hospital as a retreat from the black and dark and evil of the outside world that burns and claws at your face and page 159 never stops blowing sand in your brain. and you and your friend think, yeah, yeah, sure you do. but you don't say that because that would be downright rude. besides, there is a small chance that they do know Margaret Mahy. a lot of people know Margaret Mahy. she seems to really get around. I guess she gets noticed more easily with that brightly coloured wig she likes to wear. it is good that writers are so easily identifiable. it is good to be able to say, as if one were flicking through the Oxford Dictionary of Saints, yes, Baxter, kind of crazy, liked drinking, bit of a martyr to the cause. Frame, lady, had trouble with menstruation. left a stain on the chair at school. felt very embarrassed. slid out of class. sneaked quietly away. fled to the refuge of the cows. so peaceful, solid, so full of milk which stops your bones breaking but speeds your mucus production. there is an emptiness out on the farm that is not still. it drives you some-where, pulls you to a fiercely exciting place that you have been aching to get to for a while but have held back because of some-thing your mother said. you see it in the eyes of the cows, the mad eyes of the mad cows that draw you in to their wet and bottomless world where you will fall forever and the beautiful moist wind will blow all sand from your eyes and you will feel to be a young child again, a girl or a boy, and you will be peering into the box at your great Aunt Mary's house who used to work at a toy factory, has a whole box full of toys, just for you to play with and they're all yours there's no other kids around and the clocks have all stopped so you can play until the end of the world when the cows and all their crazy eyes will form a giant hexagon around you and you will feel the wetness flooding from their eyes into yours and there will be a sign from the big cow, Bessie, who raises her left hoof and flicks her tail, so now all the cows are crushing towards you, bursting in around you so you can't breathe and they squash and push you so hard that you eventually fly out of your skin and go screaming across the sky like a French skylark, the ones that never build nests but just steal other people's and you're screaming away, loving every second, knowing that you are going to hit the ground, but not for a long time yet, not for a very long time yet.