Author: Hari Navarro

There’s a galaxy tucked away neatly within a grain of sand on a beach that stretches out within the warm memory of my youth. In it a planet and on it a palace and a windowless corridor that leads to an intricately carved door that opens out and into a chamber.

A bay-window towers from floor to ceiling. A monument of glass that dwarfs even the crude gape of the rooms opulent volume. At its base, a battered school desk, at which now sits a girl with pencils gripped in her hands.

Her hair and clothes are as black as thoughts, a failed attempt to scream at this world and lay down at its feet a dead rat. But these her unraveling threads they manage but a whimper, an exhausted relic of the angst that buds within the transient folly of youth.

A hum torments as the suns rise and unfurl their tepid winter shawl and servitude drones enter and clean rooms in which nobody will ever again dwell. Silent doors taunt when all she needs is something to slam, something to render from its hinges and send splinters of echo deep into the faces of those who say that they care.

The desk, a trophy of the siege, one found neglected in the corner of a burnt-out school. Its lid soaked in smoky memory and as she lays her head at its surface, as the light plays with it and her hair, she inhales the char remnants of the tiny deaths that it holds.

Her attention span hurts as her fingers run across etched names and hacked heart-shaped grooves, the memoir scribblings of murdered children wrapped in the delusion that they could be loved or could love.

Here she escapes, slumping into her art, rubbing charcoal fingers into clay and canvas. Hers a mind augmented, its talent artificially accelerated to wring out every last ounce of expression. Hard-wiring her meant, to her parents at least, that her art was an exact reflection of she. Not just a selected tantrum exhibition by an artist rebelling against the confining walls of her youth.

And so, as each image, every last sculpture became devoid of colour and achingly bleak to the core her parents they turned and they hid.

So maddening these husks that pretend to love, struggling so hard as they cut and paste this thing she’s become and try to make her back into that thing that she was. The little girl who ate sand on the beach.
She thinks of them and her love flashes to hate. She wants to shout at their eyes. Her anger the foam that rides atop waves before rolling back and into itself. Shoulders sag and she bores, yet the spike comfort of her dark thoughts still whirl and they drill a deep hole in her head.

“I like to sharpen them with a knife, I find that it gives me more control over the tip”, she says to no one, splaying her fingers flat on the desk and driving a pencil deep into the back of her hand.

Her mouth opens, throat contracting to pack down its scream and she picks up another. Gripped in blooded fingers it too is pushed clean through this flesh she despises until its nib it cracks off at the desk.

Pain crunches as tendons flex and she imagines that these nails they ground and hold her in place and she sighs as again, she feels.

“I don’t want to be like this”, says the girl with pencils in her hands.

But nothing is there to listen.