In early 2007, I wrote an essay. Yes, over the years, I have written many essays. But, this one, stuck with me, because – at the time, I was living alone, in the depths of a horrible heartbreak, and I was steeling myself towards the idea that I was going to be alone for the rest of my life. No, really, I’d accepted it as what I was meant to do. What I would do to cope with accepting that weird void, was write. I’d write and enter strange competitions (which I never won) or I’d write just for me (most of which is littered across this blog, pieces of paper, journals and diaries I keep in my house). Thanks to this newoldfriend, I read this essay again today, as I look back on the woman who wrote it seven years ago, at about 3am when she couldn’t sleep, would watch her kid sleep and the words just tumbled right out. This essay’s purpose, for me, I now realise was my own inner self hoping, still, that I wouldn’t end up alone, but desperately aware that that may just be the reality of it all anyway. Perhaps the strangest part of this essay, is that it came true. Funny-haired, 3am Cath didn’t know it then, but she was writing her future. Anyway, I thought I’d let it see the light of the Internet today. Here it is.
Little City – Cath Jenkin.
This used to be a much younger girl’s city – this city inside my head.
On the left, off Main Street, lived Regret. He spent his days on a toilet seat and was flushed daily. Just past him lived Guilt. Guilt was a useless emotion. He did what other useless emotions do, and he left.
Off right on Main, lived Anger. But right beside her, lived Sorrow. They shared a garden where nothing ever grew. Their houses were built with solid stone, eroded by time and tears. The houses’ foundations extended right onto Motivation’s plot and anchored all the Bad Deed’s families’ houses to the ground.
Up the hill that every citizen climbs to survey the beauty of their town, lived Happiness, Peace and Love. Happiness was nomadic – passing through, sticking around and then moving right on. Peace grew flowers and tried to start a vegetable patch but Anger’s fires spread right up the hill and singed her cabbages.
There was one house, where many had been welcomed and had resided. But they never stuck around for too long. They never stayed long enough to re-decorate, hang up a curtain or even throw around some new paint. The door always stayed open though. That was Love’s house. But, one day, Love slammed her door shut, ran out the house and towards Sorrow for consolation, while she warmed herself on Anger’s flames.
This is an older girl’s city now – this city inside my head.
Everything continues as it was but Naïveté is leaving town. Exhibitionism is still there but is taking some time out to rehearse her new, quite difficult show. Vanity still washes her windows every morning and Self-Preservation has decided to take a vow of silence because she doesn’t feel like talking to anyone at all.
There was a day, not so long ago, when Happiness looked across the way and saw a visitor at Love’s door. Happiness told him that Love had gone away but she knew in her heart that Love would return some time – she just wasn’t sure when. He asked where Love had gone, and Happiness showed him the way down to Sorrow. He bravely went to Sorrow – none had done so before – and Sorrow thanked him for the smile but Love had been and gone away. She pointed him on to Anger.
Anger fumed when she saw the visitor and spat hot fire at his face. But he wiped it off, washed it away and asked for the way to find Love. Love had been and gone and left anyway.
He wandered around the town, helped Naïveté pack her bags and let Exhibitionism give him a little show.
When he finally needed to rest, after a long day of being helpful, he returned to the path that led up the hill to the house where Love lived.
He knocked again, but no answer came. Love was still away. But he elected not to scurry off, because he needed to see her so he chose to stay. He opened the door – it had remained unlocked although closed. He walked in, seated himself on Love’s couch of perfect blue. He waited.
Love knew not where to hide or go, so she tried to find Peace. The answers always lay with Peace, you see. Peace told Love of her visitor and, in shock, Love ran away.
But night did fall, as night does on every day, and Love had to return home, for darkness is when Anger reigns, and nobody’s safe outside when Anger reigns.
And when Love, scared as hell, opened the door to her perfect home, she fell to the floor in surprise.
For there, on her perfect couch of blue, sat You.