13 Jul


 mists photo: mists DSC00171.jpg

When he came out of the mists towards me I knew who he was, all right. There was something about him, an aura, an invisible power that had nothing to do with his averted eyes or domed cranium, his tatty rags, his bare feet, but everything to do with the air about him, and that aura captivated me.

“Who are you, Master?” I asked, though I knew the answer already. Of course I did! Who wouldn’t?

“A tramp,” came the reply, hoarse in a voice that spoke of suffering and a long passage of years. “I am a hobo,” he added, every syllable clearly an agony to him. And I knew he was lying.

He had to be, coming at me out of the mists like he had and having that aura about him.

“Where are you from?” I asked, “I mean, coming out of the distance like you have, suddenly into my sight…?”

He looked at me sadly, raising his eyes briefly to meet my own.

“You are a woman,” he said, obviously. “I have seen woman before, I know woman, I have lain with woman, I have loved woman…”

He was lying again! He was implying the impossible!

He was purity itself, and the pure did not lie with women, not any women, not even me … But why this diversion from the truth? Was he testing me, trying to see beyond the me I show the world, the woman in her forties with a bent back and a squint? The miserable wreck that I am?

“And I have loved men,” I murmured, deciding that if the game was testing each other I was going to play my part. Though it was a blasted lie, I knew that. I, with my deformities, have never even touched lips with a man, though I have dreamed of it. Oh, yes, I have dreamed… we can dream, can’t we? We can cast aside the real world for a time and construct a perfect place wherein we might somehow discover ourselves? So I said “And I have loved men”… and I knew, when he looked at me again, that he could see straight through my empty words to the truth that lay beneath them.

He sighed, and something slightly yellow hung from one nostril for a moment before dripping to the dusty ground near his feet.

“She was an angel,” he whispered, “and I lost her…. she had my substance in her, and yet she passed from this world to the next… and now I am childless, all because of me…”

He was weeping! I could see that! This was a strange turn up for the books! Him weeping when it should be me!

I squinted at him, and smiled, exposing both of my teeth. “I beat my child,” I told him, reaching into the back of my mind to find a big enough lie with which to confuse him. “I took a stick and beat it! And it died. Of course it died! That’s what I’m confessing to you … so that you can forgive me, for I know who you are.”

“You beat a child?” The horror on his face filled me with a sudden grief as though, in that twinkling moment, a lie had become truth. I don’t know how it happened, just that it did.

“Look at me,” I sniffed, “bent and crippled like I am, a tormented soul if ever you created one…”

“Me create?” he sneered, “Who do you think I am? Your father, maybe? The source of the seed that moulded you from dust? But no. I’m just what you see before you: a tramp. A hobo. A waste of space who walks through this world without loving or caring for anyone or anything. I create nothing because, to all intents and purposes, I am nothing…”

“No!” I screamed. “You are not, never have been, nothing… you see, I know who you are!”

“You had no child,” he whispered, “to beat or not to beat. To maim or not to maim. To kill or not to kill…”

I sank to my knees, there in front of him and scrabbled with my clawed fingers into the dust, furious at my own weakness but not able to rise out of despondency and show this man how feminine I really was, deep inside my mangled frame.

“I am your servant, my lord,” I whimpered, my ego collapsing and falling into the chaos of unregulated thought. Suddenly, like I’d always known it would.

“Who do you think I am?” asked the figure, nose dribbling again. “To pay me such an honour,” he added.

“You are my lord,” I squelched, “you are the spirit of my being… one day, dear darling, you can take me to your palace in the sky…”

“There is no palace…”

“And you can take my flesh… all of it, my quivering thighs, my eager, desperate… I daren’t say….”

“You are tempting me, crone,” he almost cackled, drifting out of character for my sake.

“But tell me,” I beseeched, “I am a lost soul, and ignorant. I have a bent back and a squint, and I have lost most of my teeth in my trawl through life … tell me, you are my God, my Lord, my Saviour, aren’t you, and have come for me from those mists?”

He sighed and sat down next to where I scrabbled.

“I’m nothing of the sort,” he said, quite clearly. “I have escaped from the highest security of all jails where I am serving life and more for rape and murder, and I vowed that the moment I tasted freedom I’d take the first wench I met and roger her like she’d never been rogered before whether she wanted me to or not…”

“You did? Well, I’m here….”

“The first: the very first. But that’s you, and it strikes me that you’re more pitiful than I am. Go in peace, hag, while I turn round and hand myself in! There are some things a man simply cannot do even when he’s desperate and his time’s so short, and you’re most certainly one of them!”

© Peter Rogerson 13.07.15


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