Draft text from pending Instalment 2 of Green Messiah:
The philosopher on the wall is meant to be Socrates – as ugly as he is honest – or Aristotle, perhaps: a better looking man. Or perhaps Pythagoras or the historian Plutarch. He is at the very least someone, Mattie thinks, who means something to Marshal, something important. She lowers Marshal’s hand to the duvet. She is exhausted, depressed. Depression is anger turned inward, she understands that. Depression is a corrupt form of wrath, denied its rightful expression. But why is Marshal angry? She studies the lines around his eyes, his clamped lips, his cramped jaw. She wishes… imagines… oh, god, she imagines… lowering her night gown to expose her diminishing breasts. Despicable, milkless mother, unmothered by age! Through Marshal’s closed eyes – because, in her genes, she is nine million point nine nine percent Marshal – she sees herself digging at her breastbone, scrabbling and tearing at her poor, haggard chest, digging and scraping and hacking and clawing with increasing desperation until at last her fingernails penetrate the skin and reach into the flesh. Through Marshal’s eyes she sees her fingers pluck her own chest open, her ribs parting and unfolding with hardly any mucous and even less blood to reveal at last the small, hissing mouth of a new umbilical cord.
She sees herself, through Marshal’s tight-closed eyes, draw loop after loop of nacreous cord from the cradle of her ribs. She sees herself raise the sucking umbilical mouth to Marshal’s lips. She sees herself ease her new umbilicus across his flaccid tongue, over his gulping epiglottis, into his oesophageal tube. She reaches forward. She feels the bite of his teeth on the side of her hand. Bite me. Hurt me. As if this is real.
And thus will her child be healed.
And thus will she sustain him with an energy and a life force entirely of her own.
Thus will she redeem him, thus bring to him his lifeline, thus provide him with an exit from the place in which he is trapped. Here… the knotted, bloody cord up which to climb. Here… pinion, cleat and rope with which to scale the looming valley walls. Here… faith to believe he can succeed…
Oh, see him skirt precipitous overhang and crag!
See him climb, inch by hazardous inch, from darkness and depression, from rancour and self-loathing, from self-pity and despair towards a perfect, plangent light. Thus will he overcome the darkness in his soul. Thus will he rise from his self-created hell, from bitter, clinging murk, from cloying, stinging smog to a new and better place, to a world where despair no longer signifies, where all can be rebuilt, where joy has been reborn, where every object upon every surface of every home within every city of every nation of the entire world glimmers and pulses and glitters with the radiance of hope.
– and thus will she bring him to the heaven his earth should always have been…
And thus will a mother’s duty be done.
© Luke Andreski 2012. All rights reserved.
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