Welcome the Impact

“Writing becoming a weapon against your demons rather than anything else?” Dr Wakeley said, letting his tone droop.

His pen wearing down on his fingers, he stared at his messages to himself, interspersed with the same tired observations about Max, a stocky man in his 30’s. Max was the Tuesday morning punishment.

“Yes. I think in words and I daily hear in my mind responses or quips or one-liners that I will one day throw back at someone, yet I won’t write them down,” Max drawled to the floor. He looked up at the psychologist’s desk. Papers, whole files stacked. “I have directories on my computers and hard drives, full of them. But yet, I write so little.”

“Ava used to lament that she didn’t inspire me enough.”

Wakeley let his eyes gander at his daughter’s portrait on his desk, stuck in between patient reports and consultation notes. “She never understood that the bulk of my writing has come from my depression,” Max continued.

“What specific feelings drove you to write?” Wakeley replied. He stopped dead his thoughts. He was officially a banal therapist, speaking from an Internet meme.

“The, the, feeling destroyed! depressed, destroyed, fucked over, marginalized, hard done by. Those things have always fuelled my writing.”

It was Tuesday morning, so it meant another long tirade by Max about Ava, and his writings, and his feelings, but never why he’s still in therapy after years of torturing Dr Wakeley, and himself by not wanting to change his life. Wakeley let the words fill the cosy office like unavoidable exhaust from the douche truck driver in front of you. The words grew thicker and darker, as he saw his daughter Elise in the cloud staring at him, her face sullen.

Then, a tear fell from her eye, and ended up as a crater in his middle-class composure. He felt his temples shake. The tremors focused his sight on Max.

“Your work has fossilized over the past 4 years into a codification of the past: how you felt, what you went through, what you did, why you did, what you felt or felt what you did. You never captured you in the here-and-now.”

Max froze. He looked at Dr Wakeley as if he was naked and his body had become his naked mother’s. “Wait, how — how did you know that?”

“I, I picked it up from your train of thought, just working the trail, you know,” Wakeley said, to try to divert Max away from his sudden Freudian slip. The cloud was still there and Elise didn’t drop her stare.

“Could you give me a moment?”

“Is my hour up?”

“No… I just need to adjust the painting behind you.”

Max turned to check which one. “There isn’t one…”

Wakeley kept his gaze fixed on the cloud.

 

Justice

Justice, she looks tattered and battered, it seems

Her genitals ravaged by vice
Her eyes worn out from might

But she has a smile sown into her heart
That a scythe or tongue cant reach.
But she has a little fire stoked in a nook
That a prying eye cant breach.

Justice may be nude and appears forlorn
But she is fed by the random
And made strong by her captor’s hubris.

 

Det öppna kontoret

Deras historia började i köket på kontoret, det första ögonblicket mellan Kristian och Sandra, och det slutade också i köket när Kristian kom in med en blombukett och ett barnsligt kärleksfullt leende leende, och såg sin älskares vackra familj.

Han tittade med ett förkrossat hjärta på Sandra och sitt gulliga dotter. Hon förstod ingenting i denna stund, hon var nog nöjd över att se mamma på hennes jobb. Jobb. Kontoret. Han hade glömt allt om kontoret och hans utvecklingsjobb här i nästan fyra månader. I det här kontoret träffade han Sandra. Sandra var en pratglad blondin med ljusbrun ögon. Två födelsemärken precis ovanför överläppen fick henne att se glad ut. Dock skulle du se några trista rynkor vid pannan om du tittade noga. De flesta var inte hur då och märkte inte att hon var en medelmåttig blyg säljare som kunde bete sig som en alphakvinna.

Kristian märkte inga av hennes rynkor när de träffades på företagets introduktionsmötet för de nyanställda. Han är lite svag för kvinnor med födelsemärken och han döpte Sandras ‘Puss och Stuss’. Så töntig du är Kristian. Fan.
– Välkomna till Churn! Amina heter jag och jag är COO här som helt enkelt betyder att jag springer runt och säkerställer att alla är glada och nöjda. Och ibland jobbar jag. Ha!
Amina ser schysst ut, tänkte Kristian. Men inte så himla vacker som Puss när det hoppar upp och ner. Hon är så jävla snygg alltså.
– Vi kanske borde gå runt som på dagis och berätta lite om oss själva. Kristian!
Puss och Stuss, Kristian och – vad heter hon förresten?
– Earth to Kristian, Earth to Kristian!
Alla småskrattade försiktigt som nervösa nyanställda borde göra.
– Nä men förlåt, Kristian heter jag, jag är systemutvecklare i teknik och helt taggad över att vara här i Churn alltså.

Kristian? Ett väldigt gammaldags namn för en gullig kille. Yum, tänkte Sandra. Han stirrade på mig när Amina körde hennes tråkiga introduktion. Gullig tönt med en gnutta sex appeal. Yum yum. Sandra tittade på Kristian. Lika smal och lång som henne. Hon fick en glimt av hans rädda djupbruna ögon när de skakade händer tidigare. Han är vänlig och trevlig, blyg som henne också. Han är en utlämnad byte och jag är rovdjuret. Men rädslan i hans ögonen försvann lite när han pratade med kvinnor. Lite konstigt eller hur, Sandra? Detta bytet är ju en Pandoras box, alldeles tungt hårig och välklädd men… det fanns något så pass snett eller obehagligt med honom. Verkligen en Pandoras box, den här killen.

Kristian och Sandra stod med full fokus på mikrovågsugnarna medan deras mat värmdes upp. Och ytterligare någonstans i Kristians bröstkorg blossade hetans glöd för Sandra. Sandra visste det och tyckte om det. Och Veronika snabbt kom på all det här. Veronika var Sandras retligt visa kollega, en äkta Churn-veteran och amatöriakttagare som ägnar sig åt kontorets romantiska sagor.
-Hörru, viskade Veronika.
Olle kollade upp från en vitlökssjö med några få kebabköttbitar simmandes i.
-Va?
-Kolla på Vesuvius… du vet väl att det ska bli häftig kaos med de där två nya idioter.
-Skärp dig Vero, de kan nog höra dig.
-Bryr mig fan heller.
-Visst.
Och han dök tillbaka inuti vitlökssjön.

-Hur går det för dig hittills?
-Det är ju spännande! Sugen på att gå ut och sälja, vet du.
Så himla snygg. Ta det lugnt, Kristian. Bara ta det lugnt.
– Själv då? Hörde från tjejerna att du är typ en hotshot utvecklare.
– Ä men inte så kanske, tjejerna är ju snälla. Det har gått några veckor nu men aa – haft chans att skapa lite värde.
– Kolla vilket business lingo här!
Hon rörde hans arm som om det var efter månaders diskussion och strategi. Sandra kunde ge upp sin dotter Sofia för denna stund, när mannen ville bara explodera pga stundens intensitet. För Sandra visste hur killar som Kristian längtade efter tjejer som henne och sexuella stunder som de här.

Tre dygn senare hördes en massa oljud från två motsatta delar av kontoret, livaktiga ljud från tangentborden. Oljudet utgjordes av av det paret som höll på att skicka en hel del epost mellan varandra. Och sen började deras lågstadiefnissande.
Veronika öppnade ett nytt fönster i sin chatprogram och skickade ett meddelande till Olle.
“Vem tror du ska förstörs först?”
“Suck. Jag tar hand om Romeo.”

Några timmar senare såg Kristian Sandra vid hissen. Gör nånting nu då!
-Tjaba.
-Tja själv, Kristian.
-Vi hade ju en produktiv dag.
-Ja faktiskt, skickade ut en massa leads och sånt till kunder.
Det kände så pass flörtigt att Kristian vågade fråga henne.
-Vem… är de här kunder? Han stirrade rakt på henne.
-Kom igen teknik! Kan ni inte fatta innuendo?
Kristian hade aldrig tänkt sig som en befriad och trygg människa. Han kände sig alltid bedömd och skamfylld, alltid rädd, alltid fängslad av rädslan. Men nu var det annorlunda. Han kände sig stark.
-Du kan väl förklara dina insinuationer på krogen. Jag bjuder.
Nu händer det!, skrek Sandra i hjärnans plats. Nu fångar jag honom.

De kunde vinna Nobelpriset i tillämpad fysik i krogen eftersom de lyckades – böja ljud och energi runt omkring dem, och stoppa – allt annat och strunta i hela världen och resten av Stockholms snobbiga fulla finanstyper. Sandra var livlig och pratglad som vanligt medan Kristian var stark och bemötte hennes flirtande med intensiva blickar. Ibland skrämde han henne för att han var alldeles för självsäker när han gjorde det. Sex öl och glas vin senare. Och Kristian tittade rakt på hennes läppar och sen kollade han upp på henne.
-Tror att jag är kär i dig, Sandra.
Bra jobbat, Sandra.
-Mmmm… är det så, snygging?
Hon drog in sitt ansikte så pass nära Kristian att det bara fanns en hårstrå mellan dem. De snobbiga och fulla i krogen tog en paus för att titta på Sandra och Kristian. Det såg ut som en förverkligande av låten Sexual Healing.

Sandra hade fler än normalt antal bilder av hennes dotter Sofia bredvid datorskärmen. Men inte Anders. Hennes sambo. Hans namn dök bara upp när Kristian inte var vid på kontoret. Man skulle kunna säga att det var tur för honom att Veronika och Olle hade hört Sandra svamla osammanhängande historier om Anders och hur de träffades. Men Olle och Veronika fattade att Kristian inte skulle lyssna på dem. Han var alltså en löjlig romantiker på väg att evaporera bort på grund av Sandra Mullin.

“Hej sexy.”
Fan vad modig han är? . I ett mejl! På jobbet! Sandra tittade några gånger på skärmen för att vara säker på att? hon inte drömde. Det här är ju koolt, tänkte hon. Koolt… och lite… nej Sandra, du har sambo och barn! Det här är bara din vanlig kontors fling. Det betyder inte någonting. Du ska hem idag till Anders och Sofia och… men.. Kristian? Nej! Nej, nej, nej, Sandra! Skärp dig.

-Röda Marlboro?
Olle såg förvirrat på Kristian.
-Vad sade du?, mumlade Kristian. Han körde vilse i hans arbete som han hade kört vilse i djupa skogar.
-Visste inte att du röker alltså.
-Aa ibland liksom, lite sugen nyligen.
“Rökpaus!”
Sandras meddelande dök upp på skärmen precis när Olle inte kunde fatta hur den här vanliga killen röker.
-Aa tillbaka om ett tag , mumlade Kristian – medan han gömde meddelandet på skärmen och stack iväg som ett skyldig barn som gjort någonting dumt med mammas prylar.
Olle tittade där Sandra och Kristian stod och rökte som älskare och kollegor på balkongen. Och sen drog han tillbaka till sin dator för att undvika att tänka på hur han skulle hitta en annan skitbra utvecklare som Kristian. För Veronika hade ju rätt, tänkte han för sig själv.

Det var kvart i fyra på eftermiddagen. Folk på kontoret höll på att samla sina saker för att gå hem. Kristian stängde av sin dator och la den i ryggsäcken. Han kände tryck i kroppen. Måste kissa… och kanske bara se henne innan jag drar hem, tänkte han. Jag måste kyssa henne och… andra saker…
Vägen till toaletten gick förbi produkt/ekonomi avdelningen och just precis innan han nådde dit var det Sandras skrivbord. De blickade åt varandra.
Kristian stängde dörren efter sig och såg sig själv i spegeln. Han var glad. Och hörde han inte också dörren öppnas igen. Det var Sandra och hon stod precis bakom honom!
-Vad fan gör du här! Nån kan ju se dig!
-Ssh… och så låste hon dörren. Fan. Jag glömde göra det, tänkte Kristian.
Hon lutade sig mot dörren en stund och tittade intensivt på honom.
-Tack snälla, Sandra, att du stängde dörren…
-Mmmm –
Hon makade sig mot Kristian, som ett rovdjur som ska äta middag efter en långt jakt.
-Visa mig att du är kär i mig… på riktigt… nu.
Vår första kyss, min formella träff med Puss och Stuss i en jävla toa. Snuskigt!
Men när han höll hennes huvud i sina händer och smakade hennes mun, blandad med läppstiftet, fanns det inget grymt eller snuskigt. Han hällde alla känslor, all hetta och glöd som hade förvandlats till rå lust i denna stund i Churns toa. Sandra kände Kristians äkthet, hur en hand smekte hennes kind och den andra låg fast anlagd på hennes rygg. Medan Kristian äntligen kysste kvinnan som han var förälskad förvandlades rovdjuret Sandra, rovdjurus Sandrus, till den sårbara blyga Sandra. Kristian hade funnit den äkta Sandra.
Men hon ville inte finnas.

-Kristian…
Sandra drog sig bort från en kyss som Anders aldrig hade kunnat ge henne.
-Är det nåt fel?
-Jag kan inte.
Kristian blev alldeles still.
-Vad?
-Jag drar nu, förlåt!
Hon försvann innan tåren på hans kind kunde torkas upp.
Allt han kunde se var dörren och dörren var vit.

Varken inte vid köket eller inte på fika eller på teammötet varje onsdag. Vad är det som händer?, undrade Kristian. Hon undvek hans blick på var en tillfälle. Han fattade ingenting alls.
-Kristian, kan vi bolla lite om en sak?, sa Olle bredvid Kristians skrivbord. Konstigt. Inga hemliga sextalk under kontorstid. Oj. Fan.
-Självklart! Kaffe då?
-Yes.
De stod i köket och hällde kaffe i sina muggar.
-Alla i Churn är mycket nöjda med ditt arbete och tycker om att du vill lansera även om du är ju ganska ny här.
-Kul att höra, verkligen. Kristian var nöjd medan smuttade han det goda kaffet av segern!
-Jag ville berätta nånting pyttelite om Churn. Liksom insider information.
-Aa men jättegärna!
-Det här kontoret… det är nåt läskigt om det.
-Hänger inte med alltså.
-Det är ju vackert och modernt och öppet men… eftersom det är synlig för alla… det skrynklar till folk.
-Du borde inte nog jobba med sälj, Olle, kom igen nu.
Kristian försökte skoja lite utan Olle såg ut allvarlig.
-Det skrynklar till folk, Kristian. Ta hand om dig. Tack för tid.
Olle gick sin väg tillbaka till hans dator och lämnade Kristian med sina tankar och oreda.

Sandra hade fastnade blicken på mobilen medan hon väntade på hissen.
-Sandra.
Fan. Jag märkte inte att han var här. Fuckfuckfuck.
Och nu stod han framför mig. Som.. sista gången.
-Jag fattar nog inte ingenting alls, leker du med mig?
Okej, kör med alpha kvinnan och sånt.
-Ah gumman, du vet väl, har bara varit lite stressad-
-Gumman? Vad fan säger du!
Plan B.
-Kristian… förlåt…
-Sandra… va uppriktig och lägg av din skit.
Inte samma blick som i toan. Och jag är inte samma kvinnan nu.
-Jo. Jag lekte med dig.. men –
-Men vaddå?
Hissen ringde.
-Men nu är det helt annorlunda för att…
Dörren öppnades.
-… nu är jag kär i dig.
Å hur skönt är det när han smekar kinden, tänkte Sandra.

“Förlåt mig, Anders.”
“Tomma ord som vanligt.”
“😪”
“Lätta på trycket och sen kom hem.”

Hon var van att läsa sådana sms:en.

Kristian var inte lika de andra, tänkte Sandra. Han lekte inte samma lek och han ville inte. Han ville bara vara nära mig. Det här är för jävligt fel men… jag är kär, jag älskar honom. Och… jag älskar min man som är hemma med Sofia. Underbara utsökt Sofia, dotter till Sandra som leker med eld varje gång och tror att hon inte skadas. Kanske kunde Kristian läka henne.

“Vad har du för planer åt oss?”
Han tryckte hennes hand och kysste henne för alldeles mjukt.
“Du får se.”
“Nä men Guuuuuud-”
“Du får se, snygging.”
En annan kyss tystade henne. Kristian öppnade dörren till sin lägenhet och ledde henne in. Hon hann inte kolla runt eftersom Kristian körde sin tillämpad fysik magik igen och då var de tagen upp i att klä av sig och heta kyssar och glödande proklamationer av lust. De nästan ramlade över skorna vid dörren till sovrummet men lyckades anlända på sängen. Han kunde inte släppa att ta in av hennes lukt och driva läpparna på huden.

När de var nära att nå lustens spets tittade Kristian djupt i Sandras ögon och då visste hon att det här inte kunde slutas nu.

Han ville räkna hur många gås hon fick på gåshuden varje gång han fick henne att stöna i lust.
-Du är ifrån nåt annat planet, hörru.
-250, tror jag.
-250 vad?
-250 gåsor!
Sandra skrattade medan det elaka drycken av smärtan och ren nöje slängdes hit och dit i hjärtat. -Jävla tönt, alltså, gåsor är inte ens ett ord.
Han är så himla glad. Helt ändrat man i hennes famn. Hon började gråta.
-Måste erkänna nånting.
Kanske nu skulle det slutas.
-Jag har döpt dina födelsemärken.
-Vad sa du!
-På riktigt… Puss och Stuss.
-Vet inte om du är en tönt eller den sötaste älskare i världen.
Han lutade mot henne och kysste dem.
-Jag ba hälsar på dem… Sandra? Men du behöver inte gråta för att jag är en tönt.
Nu hade drycken krupit upp till ögonen. Hon kunde inte orka längre.
-Nej… det är ju… jag älskar dig, Kristian.
Han var alldeles stum och hade några glada tårar i ögonen.
-Jag älskar dig med som fan.
Hon la sin huvud på hans bröst och grät tills hon somnade. Kristian trodde att det var glädjens tårar.

“Ses på måndagkväll.”
“Du gör alltid som du vill, varför messar du mig då!!”
Hon svarade inte.
“Älskar du honom också?”
Sandra stängde av mobilen. Hon var upptagen. Hon ville gråta mer.

-Ses på kontoret, lover.
Kristian halvsov men han log.
-Självklart, lover.

På tåget hade Sandra en klar och orörd tanke: jag vill lämna Anders och vara med Kristian. Det elaka drycken hade försvunnit.

Det var en livlig måndag på Churn och alla i teknik undrade hur kunde deras storstjärn-utvecklaren Kristian blivit sent på en mycket viktig dag som idag, beta appen utsläppad till hela teamet. Sandra hade samma tanke men hon inte vågade messa honom varken på mobilen eller datorn synnerligen när Olle och Veronika höll vakt över henne som två hungriga örnen. Hon ville bara sitta i köket och njuta av kaffet och solskenen och minnen av hennes magiska helg med Kristian.

-Du ser glad ut, Sandra. Vad händer?
Ville örnen peta på sin mat innan måltiden?
-Bara glad faktiskt.
Hon log kraftfullt så att cyniska Veronika ville överväga göra samma sak men snarare hon ville varna Sandra om den kommande explosionen.
-Mamma! Mamma!
Sandras leende svalades upp av drycken i magen och hjärtat, blandade med ren panik och rädsla.
-Sofia gumman, vad gör du… ni… här? Skitdålig mamma är jag helt enkelt.
Veronika smög ut. Vesuvius, sa hon till sig själv.
Anders satte sig ner vid bordet och stirrade på Sandra. Tre dagars ilska och vrede förvandlade honom till en isblock.
-Du vet väl varför jag är här med Sofia. Du kan inte bara försvinna i en hel helg!
-Det här skit slutar nog idag. Fattar du?
Han hade förmåga att inte skrika på henne i hennes kontor men hon kände tusen knivar skära henne i öronen.

-Vad slutar idag, Sandra?
Anders såg mannen som hade brutit på något sätt det okloka dansen han och Sandra hade dansat i flera år. Det går ju inte, tänkte Anders, hon grisar lite och sen kommer hon hem. Inget snack om kärlek!
-Jag som hennes sambo i sex år och pappa till hennes dotter säger att hon får sluta det här skit med dig idag.
-Sambo?
-Mamma! Blommor! Jag älskar blommor! Jag älskar blommor just som Mamma!
Kristian var kuvad vid mikron med en blombukett och kunde inte fatta någonting. Anders hade en elak tanke.
-Tack kompis för att du tänker på lilla Sofia. Jag tar blommorna OCH Sandra hem ikväll.
Sambo?
Sofia?
Nej… nej, nej, nej, det här är något jävligt grymt skämt.

Churn var inte som alla de andra startups eftersom hela kontoret var helt byggd av glas. Det var på den tolfte våning och då hade alla anställda full koll på Stockholms skärgårdar. Köket och mötesrum var i precis mitten av kontoret genomskinlig till alla. Amina och CEO:en Matilda valde så att det skapades ett öppet och kul stämning i företaget. Nya MacBook Pro datorer var på varje skrivbord, köket hade dyra espresso och cappuccino maskiner, och man bokade möten i det allmänt mötesrummet med iPad Air fastnat vid dörren. Allt var uppenbar till alla och det fanns inga hemligheter för att solskenet lyste upp varenda mörk hörn.

Där stod Kristian och tittade på Sandra. De hade inte pratat i nästan femton minuter. Hela kontoret tog en paus att se på.
-Bara låt mig förklara.
Starka Kristian med den gammaldags namn struntade i henne och siktade på toan. Han stängde och låste dörren våldsamt.

Sandra knackade på dörren. -Kristian? Det är nästan kl. 19. Du har varit där inne hela dagen.
-Det låter ju inte som en förklaring.
Hon hade ingenting att säga och hann inte hitta på någonting eller söka djupt i hennes sårad samvete. Hennes mobil vibrerade.
“Kom hem NU.”

Churn ville följa trenden som alla de andra startups och hade en musiksystem som nåddes genom webbläsaren. Och precis i detta stund spelades en ny låt på Spotify:

Now I dread beautiful days/the days when I thought our love was a song

-Dra hem, Sandra. Kanske ta en promenad med Sofia. Det är ett vackert dag ute, eller hur?

Cocoon

It’s a heavy set enemy
lying face down on your chest

Arms wrapped around your body
like a vice

Teeth dug into your forehead
Tongue flaying about in your brain

Every fifteen seconds
like clockwork
he vomits
like clockwork

tick tock
shame

tick tock
fear

It’s happening every fifteen seconds
in this makeshift coffin

Still

still locked, clearly still

i thought it was growing, i thought it was going
but still it is

still, really still it is

to get off the plane and ascend our hill
a dream, that vision still in my mind

now not still, but still

to reach the top and find a kiss or a word or a sentiment
the heart yearning for a moment, but still is what it got in the end

still, my heart has grown still
still, her heart is still

to look deeply into her eyes, stand still at night
to know we’re together on our hill

still, that dream is still

apathetic, she said, her voice, a ring and gentle chuckle
i banter and she laughs, and still

it’s all still. still, she and I still.

there was no hill, there was no journey
it was just a path wiped out by unsure feet

but the language now still, clear, still.

Back on the plane with no security in tow. still no horizon ahead other than still hearts

still hearts, still very far away.

 

The Unabridged Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-3

1.

All the creation in the garden didn’t find it surprising anymore the daily cataclysms of energy that brought about a new addition to their world. But today, there were crashing tones, melodies, the wind being played like flutes by slender fingers of haze, hundreds of them sounding off, their melodies cleaving together, wind and soil and petals and pines being thrown about by forceful gusts of energy. Light broke through from within the soil and rendered the music, wind, and all creation immobile and reverent. Then, the light shuffled through the soil again, it hardening at one point into bones and joints, softening in others into flesh and cartilage, as though by invisible fingers, to bring about Hu – the Human.

Hu wiggled his toes into the soil. It felt good. There was a viscous goo throbbing through his eyes and the wings in his eyelashes were out for their first flight. Blood was everywhere in him, pulsating and beating and infusing his dusty hue with vigor.

The willows were drenched in white light that spilled on their leaves. Hu felt the muscles in his core contract and relax. He understood. They were talking to him.

He felt his insides turn inside and out for another message.

Amen, I have made you, Human, in my own image, and after my own likeness. Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over every thing.
Amen.
Describe creation to yourself.

Hu looked at the arching ferns and willows around him, and it could see golden sap rushing through them, the rush speaking to it. “Willow? Fern? Those are your names. I see you,” a message flew out of him and back to the willows and ferns. It bored with its eyes into every plant, animal, and being around it, to give it a name.

Hu crushed the fennel and sesame seeds with a thumb into its palm, the flavors seeping through its skin. Hu put more of the paste on its tongue. Hu looked around; every creature was settling down for the cool of the late day, with their mate joined and locked in. Hu looked around. Every creature around, all the ones that were named by Hu, had a mate. Hu let out a long sigh, a sigh that started from the heart and shuddered through the rest of the form.

I will bring about your helper.
Amen.

He felt rumblings beneath his feet, similar in form as those when he walked, but these shook him. The ground swelled with white light, great lumps of color being thrown at all creation and then wiped away by invisible limbs, the sounds of every creature coming together in unison and then separating like the white from a egg yolk. A steady, recurring noise was undulating from the center of Hu’s form. Now, the noise was getting louder. Hu could perceive the noise coming in from the top of his form and then racing through until it ended up in his core. He saw those hurling swathes of color mix with tree leaves, blanching them with light, and then the leaves went back to their original color.

It was the first time to experience this, but Hu understood that the Source was walking towards him.

Hu and the Source were now facing each other. With every beat at the core of its form, Hu would see the form reflected in the Source. A hushed hum would proceed forth from the Source and Hu would feel something new, that he hadn’t given it a name yet.
Amen, that is joy and happiness.
This is joy and happiness, amen.

This happened every day at the same time. This tradition has survived the ages and now we call it the Evening Service.

Thousands of stars grew large in the sky, expanded, and then splintered into a light shower.

Every creature around me has a name now.
Amen. Move through the garden and keep watch over it. Feed the creatures.
Amen.
Till the land.
Amen.
Care for the creatures.
Amen.

The entire garden leapt up and bent into a little ball, into something that resembled limbs on Hu’s form, and rested in the Source. The Source moved Hu’s attention to the little ball.
You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat, of it you shall surely die.
The tree the Source spoke of glowed in pale blue light that surged through it.
What does die mean? The word and question caused his form to darken for a moment.
You will not know that I am here.
I will remember, amen.
Good. I will bring about your protector-helper. I see your longing.

The ball expanded until the garden was restored to its original form. Hu felt the Source move away from him. Hu saw a gaggle of silver-haired geese stroll by. They nodded. We see you.

There was darkness now in the skies, but there was a shift in his form. Hu felt its sinews and bones weakening, and its muscles deflating, like air leaving a lung.
Life, what is happening?
It’s fatigue. Worry not.
I will not, amen.

Hu fell beneath a tall oak tree and gasped. This was new, too. Hu was fatigued, so it slept, the earlier meeting spooling again and again in the darkness of his eyes. Hu felt that joy and happiness, staring straight into Life’s face.
I am safe. I am safe. I am safe.

An awesome, rolling waterfall spilled out of the heavens and encircled him. There was a pulling of the muscles around the tender, prickly organs on his face.
Those are lips.
… lips…
It is a smile.
… smile…
The waterfall crashed into his face. Hu cried out, as the icy water cooled the fire felt in his side. Hu looked and marvelled. That wasn’t there before, he wondered. A gaping hole, of turquoise, yellow, and red syrup, like he had seen slide down his favorite tree on the other side of the garden, but the hole was growing smaller and the intense heat was cooling. The water was summoned up back to the heavens and he was alone again.

Hu heard a cough. It wasn’t one from an animal he had named. The cough came from a form, something new. Hu turned and saw by a nearby thorn bush a dark, gravel brown-colored form like him. It had a smell and scent like Hu. What was that sound, this cough? Who is this form?
Adamah.
Life!
This is Chava. She is of you and you are of her. Chava means life, but look deeply into her and give her a name, for yourself.

Adamah, Adam, looked into Chava’s face. He saw water, of the same color and shade, in the eyes of the form. There was walking limbs, like fingers on Adamah’s form, of fire past her eyes. Adamah neared Chava, every step matching the sharpening of the gaze into Chava’s form. Adam saw the sinews and limbs hidden by the outer skin – bones, little passages where life was rushing past. Everything looked familiar.
Adamah stepped back and stretched out the hands towards Chava, with curled hands, the chest of the form made wide and free.
Hear, creation, Ish will speak.

“At last! My own has come along! This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. I will call her Isha because she is of me, Ish.”

Ish extended the hand of the form and Ish put its hand into Ish’s. Ish pulled Ish up and they embraced. Ish felt the different warmth of Isha and it gave him joy and happiness. Ish didn’t have to face Isha like with the Source. The embrace was enough. They saw each other in the embrace.

Adamah. Tell her what I commanded you.

They turned, standing next to each other, to be brought into the presence of Life. The heavens and earth blinked, fawned, fell, collapsed, expanded, moaned, as the Source appeared as the eye of the sun, before them. Coils of little yellow hairs grew from the Source and touched Adamah and Chava just below their lips. They felt a whipping movement in their forms and something similar to the thunder they heard in the heavens, but now it was inside them.
italic: That is sound. And you shall create it, like the heavens do.

“buh-bah-bah-buh-bih-buh.. buhhhh… baaahhh.. hhhhhh… hiiii… iiiiii… isshhhhh”
Life smiled.
“Ishaaaaaa… Isha, you and I may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil we shall not eat, for in the day that you eat, of it you shall surely die.”
“Die?”
“Die is, we will not know that Life is here.”
“I will remember.”
Be fruitful and multiply and grow in each other.

The Source drew away from Adamah and Chava, and turned the earth into the inside of their tongues, but cast in orange-red light. It was for a moment and it was as before.
“Isha.”
“Iiiii-iiiiii-sssssssss -”
“Ish.”
“Ish!”
They embraced. Their closeness was so snug and complete that they wanted to speak, so that only they two could hear.
italic: The word is love.
“This is love.”
“This is love.”
Love was found in their embrace.

They sat underneath the oak tree, touching lips, as the other created sound, and they could hear it. They said the word love over and over again, every time it was as fresh as the dew that fell on their heads, from the leaves of the tree. Adam was caught up, rapt in Chava, and Chava was immersed, both in embrace and being, in Adam.
Adam liked to pull Chava by her limbs and they walked with the other creation. They were in sound with a group of boisterous leopards, leaping around them. One leopard let out a new sound as it looked at Chava. “Eeee, eeee, eeee!”
“Eeee, eeee, eeee”
“Veee, veeee, veeee”
“Isha, take eeee and veee… eeee, eeeee, veee, veeee.. Eve!”
“Joy! Happiness! Eve!”
The leopard lept and wrapped itself around Adam. :Call her Eve, call her Eve:.
“Isha, you are Eve! Creation wants you to be called Eve.”
“Eve. I am Isha to you and Eve to creation.”
And then there was a symphony of animals, trees, and small creatures in the ground, calling out “Eve! Eve” as Adam and Eve walked by. Life moved in the garden and the cries became hush.
Adam and Eve stopped to feel Life pass next to them. “It is the evening.” And every evening, they stood to face the Source, the Source of Life.

It was the time to walk again, but Eve stopped Adam as he got up. “Let us do this.”
“Do what?”
Eve pulled Adam down into an embrace. Eve grabbed the hand of Adam and placed it on the core of her form. Adam felt waves crash and saw flames come out from under a rock. “She, her, the words of Life.” Adam didn’t move the hand of the form and kept it on her. Adam took Eve’s hand and placed it on the hardness of the limbs of the form. It was like the limestone they slept on after a day of walking. “It feels like safety, a place of rest. He, him, the words of rest.” They were making sense of each other and the creation around them. And in creation, they found answers to themselves. “That’s a knee, Adam,” Eve said. “That’s your heart, Eve,” Adam replied. Adam was teaching Eve how to name what they ruled over.

There was a rustle in the thornbush. Adam knew the slithering creature by the grime on its scales. It was a snake, coated in rinds of green, blue, and gravel strokes. The snake was darker than Adam and Eve. Adam had named the snake after holding it to a cave wall, it wouldn’t sit still. Adam noticed something new on the snake, it had blotches of red wet soil around its mouth and teeth. He had never seen that before.
italic: Beware the snake, Place of Rest.
“I will do that, Life.”

Adam laid down on the ground and spread his body still. It fused with the ground and Eve rested on top on him, as the serpent eyed Eve. Eve counted the lines of black coal in the red soil, splashed around the snake’s mouth. “Eve, Eve, Eve, I saw you when they called you, Eve.”
“I rest on my place of rest.”
The snake hissed and growled as it took itself away with its tiny feet. “I will call you something else soon.” The snake was gone, but some red soil had fallen from its mouth.
“Ish, what is that grumble in us?”
“Fear. The Source told us to beware the snake.”
“And the soil?”
“It’s from the snake, so we will stay away from it.”
“I will listen.”

Eve curled like the racoons she had seen sleeping next to them, and slept on Adam. Adam slept, knowing that he had done what the Source had said he should do.

2.

They woke up from sleep and found that some blue-nosed deer were lapping up the red soil. A badger brought water from the river and they washed their mouths in it.
“Our friends have kept us safe, Adam.”
“They will.”
“I want to see the river! Let’s go!”
“We will.”
They loved this particular path to the river because they saw the rabbits form bridges underneath them and their fur would make them joy and happiness. The river would hear them coming and it would hurl some of its water in the air. It would come down and keep them cool.
“Eve, Eve, Eve”
“Beware the snake, Isha.”
“I will.”
“Snake, I am walking with Eve.”
“I won’t disturb the Place of Rest on his walk. I just have some words for Eve.”
“Isha, beware.”
“I will.”
Adam laid down and swept himself underneath Eve’s feet. She wedged her toes into him and stood strong. His eyes feasted on the wonderful sky.
“The skies are you, Life.”

The snake stood on its tail to speak to Eve. “I heard Life speak to you about the tree you cannot eat.”
“We may not eat of that tree for we shall surely die.”
“Die? There is no die for us.”
Adam rubbed his thumbs into Eve’s ankles. Beware, Eve. He was speaking to her in a way the serpent wouldn’t hear him.
I will. I am rooted in you, Eve replied.
“Do you know more than the Source?”
“I know that there is Source, there is life. But there is no die.”
“Adam was right. You are more cunning than all creation.”
“Life told you that you will not know Life is here if you eat of the tree. Life lies to you!”
There was silence on the earth and in the heavens.
Creation, beware.
Adam, why can’t we hear our friends?
Eve, I don’t know.
Don’t?
Adam, Eve, beware. Adam, take her and leave.
“I do not know what lies is.”
Eve was shifting around in her stance and Adam was still, waiting for the voices of creation to be heard again.
Adam, take Eve and head to the river.
Adam came up to close around Eve like a flower bud. Eve stepped off Adam.
“What are these things the snake is saying?”
Eve, I will tell you.
I will listen.
Adam pulled Eve back into him and he closed around her, as they moved away from the snake.
“You will see and move like Life. You will not just have life in you, but you will give it.”
Focus on your rest, Isha.
Ish, we still can’t hear our friends. Has Life left us?
“Snake, are you there?”
Their friends started yelping and howling. The heavens were pouring out crimson syrup, the winds were like blades of grass turned into rocks. There was noise, unfamiliar sounds being created.
Eve pulled herself out of Adam and she walked back to find the snake.
“Isha, Isha, Isha, wait!”
The snake was angling towards Eve faster than Adam, brown soil being thrown up in the air, forming into Eve’s face.
“Eat of the tree and be Life itself!”
Eve stopped running. Adam stopped a while behind her. The snake saw them, fixed in the ground, and bared his teeth. It disappeared.
“Adam, what does this tree look like?”
“It is there.” Adam pointed to scraggly ruddish tree standing in the middle of a bed of red soil.
“That red soil, it looks like the soil on the snake. Right?”
Eve felt a draw of energy from her core. “Adam, what is that?”
“I will not go with you to the tree.”
“Why not? The soil is by the tree, the soil was on the snake, and the snake said we could be like Life.”
“We already are like Life. We see him and face him, when the sun in the sky is stopping from work.”
“Could there not be more?”
“Your sounds are different. I don’t like this.”
“That sound don’t is coming from you a lot.”
Adam felt Eve slip out of his bud.
“Eve, where are you going? Why are you doing this?”
“I must know what is there.”
Adam didn’t chase after her.

The deer ran from behind them and stood around the tree. “Friend, no!”
“What is no!”
“No, no, no, no!”
Eve charged towards them and they ran away, cowering by Adam’s limbs. There were sounds coming from the red soil, nothing she had heard before in Adam or from the Source. There was nothing like these sounds. “Your hand must touch us before you can near the fruit.”
“No, Isha!”
All creation echoed the words of Adam. “No, Isha!”
Eve dunked her hands in the red soil and laid her hands on the tree. The branches bulged out white foam and the foam made the scraggly tree become green, luscious, and beaming. And she saw the fruit, a pink-colored pebble, smaller than her eye, with honey dripping from it and studded with prickles like the ones she had seen on hedgehogs. Eve sank her face into the fruit and she pushed it back into her with her hands. She embraced it deeper than she had ever embraced Adam. There was a sound like the sowing close of a tulip bulb. The beautiful tree had turned back into the scraggly form.
“The tree, where is the tree?” She had pits of the fruit all over her face and mouth, and the red soild had somehow covered her body. She ran back to Adam.
“Adam, Adam, Adam, Adam!”
He reached her before she could fall into his arms. “I am here, Isha.”
The red soil burned into his form and he could feel it more than he could feel Eve.
“You must taste this with me. I can’t hear our friends and I can’t hear the Source.”
“What is hear?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’re saying it now, too!”
“What!”
“Don’t!”
“No, I’m not, Adam, please, get this soil off of me.”
“I don’t know how, it’s all over me now. The deer.”
The deer were sniffing around them, having brought the badgers. The badgers were carrying the water in pouches made by their tails.
“Friends, we can help you.”
This was a different embrace than the one of love.
“Ish, this soil can only be removed if you take of the fruit.”
“I will do what Life said to do.”
“But I am burning and I don’t know how to get rid of the red soil! There is love in our embrace!”
There is love in our embrace. She said it intimately to him, there is love in our embrace.
Adam let his tongue slither all around Eve’s mouth and he took the pits of the fruit into him.

3.

They couldn’t hear the sounds coming from the deer, or the badgers, or all the other animals and small creatures that were throwing themselves around, trying to convince them to stop doing what they were doing. Adam and Eve’s tongues were all over each other, as the soil and fruit had turned into a mix of flavors they had never tasted before. They wouldn’t let go of each other and every lick made them discover a new bump and limb and flesh in each other. They couldn’t hear or feel the heavens talking to them, or the waters whispering to them. All they could hear now was themselves. When they finally stopped, the animals stared at them. They can’t hear us and we can’t hear them. They ran away.

Adam and Eve were lying in a heap, smeared in red soil, the fruit, the ground, and this new thing. It was coming from their bodies, a pungent water, it wouldn’t stop. Adam remembered the fatigue before he saw Eve, but this was different. He couldn’t stand up. Eve wouldn’t get up, either. “Life!”
“What?”
Adam was frozen. How could Eve have heard his call to the Source?
“Life!”
“Adam, this sound is hurting my ears.”
“Your what?”
She pointed to her ears and then touched his. “These things.”
“Eve, how could you hear my thoughts?”
“I can’t. I saw sound come from your mouth and I heard it.”
Eve now froze. She was aware of her body and she knew of its parts.
“Life!”
“Eve, stop shouting! I’m right here.”
Eve couldn’t call out to the Source, too. She had never tried on her own. Adam always did it for the both of them.
“Life!”, they both cried out.
“Life has left us. The Source has left us,” Adam whinced.
“Adam, I’m afraid, what is that shaking in my bones! Why is everything turning against us!”
“We have to hide! Come on!”

They ran to the oak tree, the only thing they knew well right now and hid behind the trunk.

The Source was moving through the garden and it was not good to him. Things had changed. Something had been broken and he knew it.
Adam! Adam!
There was no response. This cannot be. How can Human not hear me?
Human.
All the Source heard was the sounds that he had created, all except one, the one from the Human.

This is the saddest moment I know, the moment creation doesn’t hear me.
“Adam!”
“Life!”
“Eve, Life is here, Life is here.”
“But.. why did we hear it with our ears? And why is there blood out of them right now?”
“Wait, what’s blood?! And why does it smell so foul?!”
Adam and Eve were being battered by new smells, sensations, and thoughts, all at the same time, with no mercy. And they were being called after by the Source.
“Where are you, Adam! It is the evening. We are to face each other.”
“Life, I.. I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid.”
Snake. That snake.
“Why is this happening to us?”
“That snake, Eve. That snake.”
“Not now – later!”
“We can’t face it like this, we’re covered in this blood thing and … I have never seen you like this.”
“Like what?”
They both looked at each other, a growing terror taking over their sight, as they noticed their respective forms, in all its ordinaryness and queerness.
“Should I be seeing you like this?”
“You’re right, I don’t know, we can’t ignore the Source!”
Adam rushed to find some thickets to cover himself and threw some to Eve. They hid behind the tree where they had slept in each other, way before any of this inexplicable event had happened.

“Adam! Why were you afraid of me? How do you even know fear?”
“Life… I…”
Eve tugged at his arm and whispered,”Cover for me. Will you, Adam?”
“We got into this whole thing because of you! How am I supposed to explain this to the Source?”
She tugged again and now there were tears of hurried pain in his eyes. “Adam, you were just standing there, letting me talk to the snake -”
“You have some nerve-”
“How do you know fear, Adam!”
“Eve gave me the fruit of eat of. After we ate it… we just… felt it.”
“Felt it and thus understood it?”
They stared into the eternity of their actions.
“You disobeyed my direct instruction and ate of the fruit of the tree.”
“Yes, Life. We did.”
“You and Adam ate of the fruit of the tree… that I asked you …”
“We have to explain to him what happened, come on -”
“No, we can’t Eve, we’re naked -”
“Just care about me for a change, come on!”

Eve jumped out from behind the tree, grabbing Adam’s arm and shrieked, both from the blinding light that seared into her head and from the teeth that were eating into her body. “Adam, I can’t hear the Source talking to us, what is happening!” Adam had no time to answer or to clamor for her body for his own was also being thrown about like a ragdoll, in a torrent of fire and sizzling flesh and blood being juggled in the air, along with dirt, leaves, and bits of their compatriot animals.

Adam and Eve still managed to see, despite their eyes being ravaged by the torrential pain, and they could no longer see the Source. Their eyes had been stopped, but everything else – the animals, the trees, the water – remained.

“Snake! Snake! Where are you?”

A family of elks popped up their heads from within some nearby grass and looked in terror, and ran the other way.
“Adam… why did they do that? We didn’t hear …”

“Snake! SNAKE!”

Adam could only hear his own sobs.

Adam and Eve laid there, in a heap of shock, tired bodies, and no animals to console or comfort them. They had their backs to each other, Eve kept company in a million new thoughts, swarming around her mind.

“Adam?”
“What.”
“What now?”
“Leave me alone -”

Light, familiar light, cracked through the skies. Their eyes rung and they turned to embrace each other, as if it was the only thing they could have done in that moment.

“I’m sorry, Eve!”

After the light, came the last words they ever heard with their eyes and minds, from the Source that now seemed on the other side of their memories:

Work the ground from which you were taken.

They heard a thud next to them. It was a few hides of their animal friends.

“I’m cold.”
They covered themselves with the hides.
“This feels wrong.”
“The hides or covering ourselves?”

Adam turned to Eve,”What now?”
“I guess you have to get to work.”

The Bookstore

The books started from the passage from the main street entrance. They formed a path, then a maze, then decorations to the stairs and the inner gate. Walking in felt like visiting your eccentric uncle’s apartment, the one with a books with a bit of an apartment. This was the catacombs of book heaven. The style was retro chaos and stale urea was the staple smell.

I waited for her by a shelf with Arthur Miller, Freud, and a hundred other authors I hadn’t heard of. Whilst tilling the soil further, a few copies of a book by Hanif Kureishi, her favorite author, fell my way. I messaged her with hurry-up exclamation marks. I wished they’d make a bridge in the sky so she’d get here faster. The excursion to the city’s largest bookstore was finally happening. I was on a date with books and this woman whom I love.

Kerri picked up books and examined them, like she would never buy them, but always cherish them. She didn’t have a grammar of literary criticism about books, didn’t need to squeal and gesticulate at the lift of every book, or turn her nose up at bestsellers. No, that was me. She was a lover of all books for they were her solace. She was the strong, silent type, taking in the glories of dust, neglected shelves, and I was a snotty, loud-mouthed faux-literary snob, who still wanted to make out with her against a shelf of obscure German art history books.

“There’s a lot of dust here.”
“So observant…”
“Shut up!,” she smacked my arm and then her hand stayed there, just long enough for me to sigh. It stayed to linger, squeeze, then fly away.
“There’s that squeeze again.”
“We all know you’re the master…,” she turned from some random annal to throw me a sly look, “groper.”
“Yes. That is I,” I intoned, as I pulled her into me and grabbed her butt with both hands and kissed her through her girly giggles.
“Omagod stop, someone might see us.”
“Yes, the grumpy shop assistant and the elevator have seen us, oh no-”
She pulled away from my lips and rested her forehead on them instead. “You’re leaving me.”

Yeah. I was leaving the country.

“Not quite that, though.”
“It’s what it feels like.”

She walked ahead of me. We must have been on the fourth floor, shoulders deep in history books. And I must have gone through every infantile gag, every inside joke we had accrued, and looked at her startlingly beautiful eyes three times over.

“Wow. Look at all this… when could you get through it all?”
“Yeah… I keep coming here, and it just doesn’t end.”
“I could literally make up a subject and we’d find a book about it,” I said, while I flipped through a luxurious architecture book.
“You’re so dramatic, yawn.”
“Is that a challenge?”
“Bring it!” she chuckled as she looked away.
“What kind of challenge averts eye contact?” I hugged her from behind.
“Mine… so, are we doing this challenge or what — ok wow..”
I found my favorite place on her neck.
“How about… illicit sex in contemporary Cape Town?”
“You’re so full of shitt…”

She pulled away throwing me a wanting look over her shoulder. “Come on, Demian”

I recognized this section, a narrow passageway decorated with yet another avalanche of books. “Hey, I remember this place, it’s got first editions.”
“Is it”
“You go first,” I hurried her along from her hips.
“You dont hide the fact you want to check out my ass”
“Yup.”

We followed the passage that wrapped around, like that snake around the pharmacy sign. It was getting quieter and my ears were ringing, my body telling me I’m about to enter a special moment.
There was a forlorn chair at the cul-de-sac. I sat down to watch her mill around looking at C.S. Lewis and Hardy.
“Look at all this… wait… I’m alone with an Arab in a quiet spot of a shop, I should be worried, right?”
She looked like a dork when she smiled big. and was being bigoted.
“Whatever, Grodzel. Come here.”

She sat on my lap and turned towards me, trying to escape my gaze as usual.
“Thank you for today. I really enjoyed it.”
I rubbed her thigh. “I’m glad we finally got it done.”
“Because you always get it done, Mina.” She sighed. With her slender finger, she drew into the sand of my face and escaped for a while.
I paused. “You’re my first edition… you know that, right?”
I could see a hurried meeting in her eyes, trying to decide to tell me that that was corny but she stopped mid gulp. “That’s so… real.”
“I love you so much, kerry… I’m sorry…”
“Don’t be.. it’s your life… you have to do you… but…”
Her eyes wilted. “What, Kerry?”
“I’d wish you’d not say real stuff when you’re leaving.”
“I guess…”

I wondered if she had the same ringing in her ears now.

“but… it wouldn’t hurt to hear it once last time…”
“You’re my first edition.”

And I kissed her, trying to pour my heart past her glistening tongue, for her to keep me with her for a while before she would blot me out.