Elizabeth M Castillo
I weave it round and round my hand. It is fine, and bright, and surprisingly resilient. Its taut lines catch the smallest hint of the day that threatens to break at my bedroom window, and I twine it tighter, lacing it like macramé between my fingers and thumb. I hold it fast, more so than I ever have before. I will not let it slip through my fingers. This time, I will not let it go.
For the past ten years it has been there, crumpled in my pocket, occasionally getting caught on my cuff or wedding band as I rummage about in there, looking for some, very likely unrelated thing. At times I imagined I felt it tugging gently at me, as if to remind me it was still there, waiting patiently to be taken up with force. With purpose. With an end.
But sometimes, life goes quiet, and the strobe lighting and bedlam are gone for an instant, and I am left with nothing but to take stock of myself. In those moments I would remember it there, stuffed unceremoniously away in the recesses of my pocket, in the recesses of my memory, and my heart. Left there, as something that is of little consequence, but persists nonetheless. Without food, nor air, nor light, and yet, somehow, still living.
It is terribly fine, and terribly fragile, and for the best part of these years I feared it ended in emptiness. Nothing there. Nothing on the other side. A memory perhaps, of classes and dresses and hopefully a little laughter, but nothing more. How could there be? There was only ever one side to this thing. I looked, and I looked, but there was no trace of anything, or anyone, at the other end.
But just like the untamed beast that it is, my heart decided it was time to take things into its own hands. After a short labour it gave birth to a story, and with it, a small flicker of hope and its fraternal twin; a tiny drop of madness. Then I looked. I looked once, I looked again, and I looked one more time for good measure. I traced this soft, silken thing as it stretched perilously across the Pyrenees and the peninsula. It tunneled its way under the ocean, battling through the Amazon brush, braving the Atacama desert, scaling the Andes and plunging fearlessly into the restless city streets until it came to its final destination at the other end of itself.
I pull it tight, tight across my palm, and close my fingers over the dent where it is almost cutting into my skin. I hold fast to it, bringing my closed fist up to my cheek where I rest my face against it, as sleep claims me once again. I have tamed both my hope and my madness, and the threat of emptiness on the other side has left. And at such close quarters, with it so tightly wrapped around my fingers, I am sure to feel the slightest pull, the smallest tug, any movement on the other end of this terribly fine thing.
It is the thread that anchors me to the end of the earth, to the corner of the world, to where you are.
Elizabeth M Castillo is a British-Mauritian poet, writer and language teacher. She lives in Paris with her family and two cats. When not writing poetry, she can be found working on her podcast or webcomic, pottering about her garden, or writing a variety of different things under a variety of pen names.