After a couple of short walks, it doesn't really feel like I'm getting better in the slightest, but my body is just about beginning to mend itself. It's difficult to accept a limit to what you can do - particularly when that limit is small, and even more so when just a week-or-so ago it really wasn't so small - and learning to live within that limit is a bit of challenge. There have been several occasions where even mild exertion has resulted in a two-hour recovery in bed or on the settee. Still, bodies do heal and I can expect at some point to be able to do things like walk a quarter-mile without needing a sit down.
So, continuing the theme from earlier this week of short fictions that I have written, here's another. This one does very much fall foul of some of my own criticisms of other people's short writing, but here you go. I was obviously reading something achingly pretentious when I wrote it, judging by the way it's written. Enjoy...
The heat of battle is a good place to make a resolution, I suppose. Looking back on it now, from the distant reaches of my old age, it might seem that my recollections ought to be fuzzy, somehow, lacking the distinct detail of recent memories. It is not so, however. I wonder whether there is an element in what I remember of the extra flavour, the after-the-fact additions that enhance the story in the retelling, gradually accumulating until what is told is unrecognisable as what actually happened.
It happened at night, but in the flickering light of fire glinting from all manner of metal I could pick out the warped faces of friend and foe, indistinguishable because of their being alike in expressions of exultation. I fought my way through, trying to find sanctuary, desperate to be released from the press of bodies, sweating, heaving, limbs flailing, flinging salt liquid that stings the eyes.
As I looked round, I saw one man fall, lost beneath the moving throng, trampled into the murky, muddy grime. His face is still clear to me now, young enough for me to think even at the time that he was too young. Now I look back and my mind's eye sees him as a child of thirteen or fourteen, but that cannot have been true. Age has changed something, but whether it is my perception or the content of the memory itself I cannot tell.
I spoke of resolution. I did not intend when I began to recount this memory to make some great play of this moment, but it seems that the change it brought was of such significance that I can't help but do so. I saw him, and the effect was like the proverbial bolt of lightning. When I remember I do not see through my own eyes, but as though from the perspective of a bystander, looking at me and at him from some impossible angle. Impossible, because there cannot have been a place to stand from which you could see me and him without there being a mass of humanity in between.
I seem to stand proud of that melee, elevated perhaps. He likewise is alone, unsurrounded. The noise, the heat, the density of the atmosphere all disappear, a distant and dim background to the two figures who approach each other untouched by the hands of those around them. In that moment I decided, I made my vow. He comes close, such that I can see his long fingers, his easy, supple strength, his life. For a moment, hesitation takes me. But I am first.
“Would you like to dance?”
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought