Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Suppose It Wasn't

As a child Sally was an irrepressible rock turner. The view from every window presented a world of opportunity. She would explore gardens and, much to the annoyance of her parents, dustbins for whole afternoons. What she would find was mess, an infinitely varied and unexpected and beautiful mess. The wonder at studying a disgarded shoe, inhabited by industrious insects and caked in traces of life old beyond imagining, never faded. That what she found was an experience of hers alone, never to repeated and never shared, was not lost on her.

Through teenhood the world grew faster than she. Though others stepped into view as never before, they could not mask the secrets that remained. There were boys, occasionally, but she tired of them even as she confused them. The initial nuances in their behaviour and character quickly revealed themselves as habits at best and calculated affectations at worst. Where they craved sense in their adolescence, she longed for surprise.

In class she was drawn to the sciences but all she found was the encroachment of order. Maths made her physically sick, not that the teachers believed her. She was incapable of playing team games, despite a naturally athletic constitution. Free jazz exploded into her life, for a weekend.

The worry her parents suffered ended with their lives on a country road in the north of Wales. Lightning felled a roadside tree, startling an errant fox into bolting in front of their car which swerved in reaction and flipped as it hit the ditch so that it landed skewered from passenger window to driver's window on a 19th century gate post. Sally accepted the news.

Now independently wealthy she abandoned plans for university and set sail for Borneo. In the jungle she immersed herself in the minutaie of life and matter, holding out as long as her luck held.

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