by Daphné B.
Oie de Cravan, 2017
In Taipei, at the top of a mountain, I saw lizards with blue tails. At first, just a single tail, so turquoise I thought I was dreaming.
The blue-tailed lizards come from Christmas Island, between the Cocos and Java. When they get scared they leave their tails behind. They bolt to safety, the predator distracted, watching the glittering blue, unaware of what is happening, that the lizard has gotten away.
I’m distracted too. I walk up and down the mountain. The past hangs in front of me like a lizard’s tail. I am my own diversion, my own cinematic love story, I am all the stories I tell myself.
If there’s a border to cross, it’s the border of memory. It glows like the stars on the ceiling of my childhood bedroom.
At the top of the mountain, I found miniature cities an artist had cast in stone. Statues, gods with missing heads. Only the shell of the houses remained, blue paint flaking away into the bottom of the lakes.
I wanted to bring a boy there and tell him all the things he didn’t know about me yet.
“Here’s my crumbling tower, my boarded-up gas station, over there my silver skyline, its broken windows.”
The boy lay down on a bench in some kind of small pagoda. He unzipped his pants and put my head between his thighs. I wanted him to love me, so I let him. Oh how young I once was.
I pull on the thread and my story unravels. The balloon floats away. It’s hard to describe when all you can see are memories.
Thom pours me another drink, as if to say don’t leave just yet, but it’s already three in the morning and if I don’t leave soon, I never will. I’ll stay here on his couch pouring my heart out and laughing it all off. I’ll stay here on his toilet pissing my life away, talking to him through the closed door.
I wish I could distill everything I am and show it to him. But I’ve lost my name. Without it, it’s as if I’m hiding something, as if part of the story has gotten away from me.
“You can write on a wall with a fish heart, it’s because of the phosphorous. They eat it.” Phosphorescent, the story keeps emitting light, even in the dark, when it’s over. The molecule releases its photon, the story tells itself. “Now you can tell me how wrong that is, how long it glows.”* There’s never a real ending.
Translation by Aleshia Jensen & Aimee Wall