We met at the Tip Head, where we always went, out to the rocks that stretched like hands into the sea, huge chunks of hard earth that screamed defiance at the ocean. The dark swirling waters crashed against its base as we made our way cautiously around the small beacon, sitting then in our usual spot, back to the town, surrounded by the waves. It felt like we were on the edge of the world out on those rocks, even though we knew we were simply looking at Australia, out there somewhere past the horizon, staring back at us with her heat and her yellow sand beaches.
I pulled a joint from my pocket, my hand searching in the other for the lighter I hoped I’d put there. I lit the twisted end and huddled back into my hoodie, our legs touching briefly as we sought a pretence of warmth.
It was a pity Shane was gay, I thought, remembering back to that awkward scene in high school – a mixture of too many beers, of too much denial.
“Shane, we have known each other forever, why are we not together? You know I love you.”
“Meg”. There had been a long pause, as if his tone was trying desperately to tell me before he did. “You know I’m gay.”
Maybe I had known, but that didn’t stop me from lying back on the bed and nearly choking in my own snot and tears.
I took a long drag as I watched the tops of the waves peak and trough, their white heads disappearing into the deep undercurrent below. “So, I was listening to a podcast the other day. About how language is literally the foundation to our reality.”
Shane’s hand suddenly appeared in front of me, his fingers coaxing the joint from mine. “What do you mean?”
“Like, this idea that our world is limited to the words we use. That words are like code, like on the Matrix, you know? All that green shit running down on the screen. That what we experience is the result of some sort of binary code. Literally mind before matter. ”
Shane laughed. “So, you’re saying that not only am I stuck in this shitty little town, I’m stuck inside my own shitty vocabulary now is it?”
I started giggling as the smoke swirled and danced around us, mixing with the sea spray and my own giddiness with it. “But Shane spoke English good, no?”
We laughed into the roar of the water, the stones slowly curling in to embrace us.
“Well, we could be optimistic too, ya know. Maybe it means we have the power to rewrite things.”
“What, you turn into a hot guy and we escape this town on Gandalf’s pony, is it?”
I punched him, swiping the remainder of the joint, chuckling into its tiny blaze. “Or you just be less of a dick. Can’t be too hard to write that code, can it?”
He punched me back and laughed. Our shoulders leaning softly against each other as we both sat in our own thoughts. My body drifting into the same miasmic rhythms of the water before us, as words lost their meaning and my mind floated out to sea.
Claire Loader was born in New Zealand and spent several years in China before moving to County Galway, Ireland, where she now lives with her family. A photographer and writer, she was a recent finalist in the Women Speak poetry competition and blogs at www.allthefallingstones.com. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Crannóg, Dodging The Rain, Tales From The Forest and Pendora.