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TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER

an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
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05.27.06, saturday evening (ed.)

For the past few hours I have been carrying a fragment of shell in my pocket, picked up this sun-split stormy morning after Jimmy had cajoled me out of bed for the community beach clean-up, cancelled due to rough weather.

We went walking instead, on one of those Green Roads, which secretly crisscross this part of the world. Running alongside pastures and hazel woods, these roads are narrow, muddy, banked by tall ferny limestone walls. Ivy spills into the path, snagging on jeans and jackets. We hopped fences, peeked into the cloudy windows of lonely little sheds, and stroked the muscley bark of a bolt-struck whitethorn that had fallen across the path. Jimmy caressed its heart. It had a complicated life, he said.

We meandered past creamy burnet roses, bloody cranes-bill, diminutive indigo bursts of germander speedwell, yellow rock roses and copper-capped mushrooms, all netted in bees and white butterflies. We saw P. O. pour antibiotics into the maw of a skinny young beast. We watched as wind rippled dark water in an open reservoir. We passed the same sign thrice; we were lost.

At last we met a farmer, herding his cattle down the Green Road, who pointed in the right direction. His eyes had these grey irises that strayed off in separate directions, as if to see everything but what was in front of him.

After the drive home, I daydreamed in sunlight over a fashion spread in the Saturday edition of The Guardian. White broderie anglaise dresses. White high-waisted trousers. White pin-tucked shirts, tiny black buttons to prick interest.

There are so many ways to wear white. I pulled out the shell, alabaster against my palmís gilded peach. I stroked it the way the sea had, for however long the shell had lain in its depths, sanding down the razorous edges, so that it took on the texture of a childhood fetish, so that I could discern, one by one, the fine layers grown by the creature to whom this shell once belonged. The subtle sheen that it didnít have the eyes for, but I do.

See, here's a tiny pinhole, clear through the shell, and light, the exact size and shape of a pinhole, shines through. How have the the winds of the world transformed me, in ways I cannot sense? Along the Green Roads, the wind sings through the stones.




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