I was born in a heat wave, in the year of peace and love under the Sun and the Moon, as they danced somewhat languidly, waving their heavenly spires. Even now, I can still recall the stillness of those summers long ago, as if all the world’s air had come to a sudden halt like a faulty old fan had finally stopped working. That year it was so hot my mum had to rest her swollen feet in the shallow water of the seashore to find a momentary relief. If i close my eyes, i can picture her walking down the path from my grandmother’s house. I imagine her holding my sister by the hand, opening the squeaky gate covered in thick green varnish that turned sticky in the heat, and then the two of them would cross the road together and walk through the public gardens that smelled of flowers and dog poo, before hopping onto the dark iron-tinted sand of our private stretch of beach.
I never envied my sister for this period of grace, for being the only hand to be clutching my mum’s. Somehow, i always felt a little embarrassed for breaking this spell and rudely tumbling out, uninvited.
I was born in a heat wave, and partly by mistake.
I was a very small baby, barely ready to come out. My mum smoked heavily and carried me distractedly into this world, not really sure what to make of me. I know she loved me fiercely but i don’t think she ever dreamed of a future for me, the way you imagine all mothers do, while looking down at their heavy abdomens. I think my mother’s gaze always stretched further, behind her bedroom window and into the hazy hills that run along the horizon.
I had big eyes and untameable curls, and teeth that were far too large for such a small cherubic face. I had big feet and hands, and buckled knees that when I ran rubbed in the middle.
I was born in a heat wave but that is that.
Now I can close my eyes and I can only dream of it.
The last summer I ever had, i walked shoeless on melted tarmac, the bottom of my feet hardened like thick leather. I could have walked on coals if anyone had dared me to. I was invincible, that summer. I rolled my few possessions and my sleeping-bag together and hoisted them onto my back. I made do with very little by then. I had a cotton dress and some lace underwear which i would only change occasionally, the material had become thin and worn. I didn’t shower either. I liked being underwater, but rather than a shower, i would more likely find a garden hose to hold over my head. Failing that, i would walk into some public toilets and fill my basketball cap with as much water as i could and carelessly put it back onto my head letting the water splash and trickle down my face. I had shaved my mane to a couple of millimetres like a thick carpet of hair, my rowdy wild mess of hair, i cut it so short it was impossible to know whether it was straight or curly. In fact this way, it was pretty hard to tell much about the rest of me, whether i was a boy or a girl, so that i was often regarded as an alien by most of the men i encountered on my path.
I was one of the first people to ever pierce their tongue, and so, to add insult to injury, i could pull my tongue out to anyone that stared and they would scream in horror, believing that i was so mad i had actually hammered a nail through my tongue like a fakir from a freak show.
Well…people would look at me anyway, and make comments, or whisper to each other. They had done so for a long time, since the time of the accident, the day my mother and father never mentioned again in my presence or that of anybody else. I had gotten used to that murmur, the lowering of tone, the awkward changing of subject. I had been such a good girl until that day, people thought I was a very well behaved, a polite and shy child and I never ever disappointed them, until that day.
mystical anarcho feminist sound art performance directed by Conny prantera
Rebecca La Horrox
Kelly J Jones