I enjoyed doing this interview with Kenyona Copeland. You should drop by her page and say hi. She likes to meet new people.
Sorted, organised, boxed, sealed and labelled; our things ready to come with us on the next adventure in our lives. The old and broken are committed to disposal to the displeasure of our nostalgia. From simple things like a foot high plastic Christmas tree that we have convinced ourselves we will never use again, to old and torn t-shirts, jumpers and jeans that will be donated and forgotten. Years from now we will look back on old photos and see a couple smiling in front of a tourist attraction, draped in the same clothes whose style will have since been allocated to a decade that will make us cringe. We look forward to it.
It’s a strange feeling that we have, seeing our belongings gutted and compressed liked this. The logical part of the brain says there is nothing here. Nothing only things that were manufactured in a factory in some part of the world, sold in a shop half a world away and eventually hoarded in our home another half a world away. But the emotional side of the brain has attached a memory and a feeling to each piece of cutlery, each old shoe and each bottle of never-worn-before-nostril-invading aftershave. What should stay and what should go? Logic versus emotion? It’s a careful balancing act.
We stand in the doorway, holding each other, after taking one last look at the empty rooms we had filled with life for so long. It’s time to move out and move on.
The sun came out to turn our car into an oven and spoil the small bottle of milk that we had brought for our tea. We rolled down the windows to let the cool air and camper-van fumes in, sweating while we eagerly waited for the long line of traffic to edge forward as each vehicle verified with passport control that passengers were who they said they were and ‘illegal immigrants’ weren’t crammed in as tight as commuters on the tube at rush hour, sweltering as their shirt collars and neck ties strangle them, and their collective body heat and deprivation of ventilation inebriates them.
One look at our one litre, two-door car and a brief glance at our passports was enough to satisfy the uniformed lady with the hard stare; one Caucasian female and one Caucasian male, driving a car so small that a litre bottle of sour milk is considered ‘luggage’. We probably seem like the least threatening of this bunch of ferry-goers, who are mostly pairs of pensioners, eager to whittle away a couple of weeks on foreign soil, in a slightly warmer climate, in the comfort of their air-conditioned vans and a safe distance away from their adult children, who incessantly demand babysitting duties.
We move and we stop and we start and we sweat and we wait for our turn to drive our four-wheeled snack into the gaping mouth of the ferry-beast, within whom we will spend the next sixteen hours; either stretched out across a couple of bar-stools, desperately trying to evade insomnia as the rumble of the giant engines vibrate the pits of our stomachs and the gentle swaying of the sea dizzies us into a state of silent, numb and apparently eternal boredom, while the darkness of the post-closing-time hours ticks past us; or stretched out upon the deck, letting the sun turn our skin a gentle shade of blister, staring into the ocean with the hope of spotting dolphins or sharks or sea monsters, eventually seeing nothing but a seagull, nipping at the surface of the water and signifying our journey’s end.
They stare up with their naked faces and observe the long-haired, round-faced young woman, her hands shaking with nerves, shuffling through pages, squinting through the bright stage lights and sweating under their heat. The expressionless faces waiting to be encouraged this way or that, a frown, a smile, a gasp, a giggle, a tear; just one will do; it will make the multitude that the young woman has poured over her paragraphs seem a little less useless. All they want is content. Coherent content that they can soak up and process, through those brains, between those ears, behind those eyes; that glare up with so much focus; gazing through the young woman’s naked soul.
A pair of lungs get cleared and the sound echoes and rumbles through the room, deafening for the young woman, inaudible to the audience.
She lowers her focus to the pages that she shuffles through her hands and she tries to think. She knows what she must do. She must deliver herself from this moment of stomach wrenching pause. She must transport the audience away from reality. She must bring them on the journey that she once traveled in a dream life. She must show them the butterfly effect that caused these organised smudges to form letters, that formed words, that now crawl from her mouth, and grow wings, and flutter through the air, and perch on each of the ears in the room.
For a moment, they smile; a momentary indication of delight at the sight of words that metamorphose. But this pretty exhibition of pixie magic is not enough to satisfy their demonic appetites as they grab the butterflies from above their ears shove them between their teeth and munch on them like dragons on horse bones, preferring to feed on the girl’s pain and labour than to gaze upon her creations with awe.
She returns from her pages to the polite applause of the audience, their facial expressions still unstirred, no smiles, no frowns, no tears; not one. She descends from the stage and returns to her seat amongst her demons.
It was the content. It was too sweet. She shouldn’t have sugar coated the butterflies. It’s a lesson learnt and another dagger through her heart. That doesn’t matter now. It’s her turn to throw the daggers.
The bus nudged it’s passengers from side to side as it rapidly navigated through the sharp, narrow roads of the town. A curious old lady sat in one of the reserved front seats. She leaned her head to a side to better observe the contents of the pink plastic shopping bag that dangled in front of her. At first she thought it was some sort of white cuddly toy. But when she took her spectacles from around her neck and perched them on her nose the image came into focus and she saw it move. The bag was slung over a boy’s shoulder, the handles of the bag in one of his hands, a bus pole in the other. A head protruded from the top of the bag and returned the old lady’s curious glances with bright eyes, twitching whiskers and it’s long ears standing to attention. She looked and smiled at the boy and leaned forward in her seat to touch and feel the soft, white ears.
‘Is this your rabbit?’ she asks the boy, ‘he’s very pretty!’
‘Yeah. This is Dinner.’ the boy replies.
The old lady sits back in her seat, her expression of charmed admiration, slipped into confusion, to disgust, and back to confusion. The boy pushed the button on the pole and hopped off the bus.
He skipped along the footpath with Dinner swaying from side to side over his shoulder until he got to Lucy and Ciara‘s house. He knocked on the door and Lucy came out and lead him through the house to the tiny back garden where a box, smashed together with bits of old, white-painted, skirting boards and chicken wire, housed another black and white bunny. Ciara, the younger of the two girls stands over it, dropping pellets of rabbit food through the wire.
‘Is that her?’ the boy asks.
‘That’s her.’ Ciara says as she throws herself to her knees and removes the stone that keeps the door closed. She stretches an arm in and rummages after the bunny, trying to avoid getting her wool jumper caught in the stray, rusty nails that protrude within. She grabs her by a hind leg and lifts her from the box as she squirms to free herself from her grasp. She drops her on the grass and she scurries a couple of steps into space.
‘Isn’t she the coolest rabbit you ever saw?’ Ciara asks.
‘Dinner is cool too!’ the boy reacts. ‘What did you name it?’
‘Brittany. After Brittany Spears’ Lucy replies with pride.
‘Brittany the bunny… I like it.’ the boy says.
‘We can call one of the babies Brinner.’ Ciara shouts as she chases Brittany around the lawn, trying to gather the evasive bunny up into her arms so she can hold it and give it love.
‘Or Brunch.’ the boy adds.
‘Why would you call it Brunch? That doesn’t make any sense.’ Ciara reprimands, tired now from her futile attempt to catch the rabbit.
The boy shrugs his shoulders and lowers the plastic bag to the ground and releases Dinner.
Dinner immediately mounts Brittany and begins trusting quickly.
‘Should we give them some privacy?’ Lucy asks.
‘Maybe they escaped!’ Ciara says when the boy returned a month later. He was confused. Lucy had told him at school that day that Brittany was after having little bunny babies that morning. The three of them stood over the box, bewildered by the absence of the bunny babies.
‘They might have squeezed through the tiny holes in the wire and ran away.’
They turned the little back garden upside down searching for them, checking every bush, shrub, flower and blade of grass but to no avail.
The next day they found little bones in Brittany’s poo.
His eye lids are heavy. He can’t keep them open. His neck goes limp and his eyes blink hard. He straightens himself. He can feel the air around his eyeballs. His head begins to move in circles. Around and around. He tries to fight it, but Nature rolls his eyes back into his brain and commands him to sleep. Finally, his head rests down on the keyboard and a string of drool stretches for the letter ‘k’.
Now he’s bidding at an auction. He bids five hundred on an old sega mega drive game that reminds him of his youth. He is outbid. He bids again. This time six hundred on a set of first edition ‘Sherlock Holmes’ books. Again, he is outbid. He keeps bidding but someone keeps outbidding him. He remembers that he might have to wait three to five days for delivery and decides he can’t wait.
Now he’s at a zoo in China looking at a panda and her cub. The cub sneezes and gives the mother a little fright. He captures the moment. He takes the moment to Australia and shows it to some friends there. They like it. He takes it to America and shows it to some friends there. They like it. He then takes it home and shows it to some friends there. They like it too. It quickly becomes stale. So he stops.
Now he is at the races. He reads all the form on all the horses and he knows what the outcome of all the races will be. He places his bet. He bets on five horses in an accumulator. They all win. He wins a lot of money but not enough to retire. So he puts all his winnings on a horse in another race. That horse falls, breaks a leg and is shot. He loses his winnings.
Now he is in Vegas playing Texas hold ‘em. He gets pocket aces. He moves all in. He gets called. His opponent has pocket kings. The flop has an ace. He is winning. The turn is a king. He’s still winning. The river is another king. He loses. His opponent takes all his chips, all his money and all his pride.
Now he is in the company of a woman. A beautiful woman, who begins to undress. While she is undressing a second woman walks in. She too begins to undress. While she is undressing a third woman walks in. She too begins to undress; And then another; And then another; And then another…
He opens his eyes. He lifts his head. He feels the print that the keyboard left on his face. He observes the long squabble of letters, numbers and symbols on the screen. He wipes away the drool. He stretches his neck and back and sits upright. He cracks his knuckles.
Then he bids.