I face my thin, gangly opponent at the other side of the court. It smiles weakly and shrugs it’s shoulders, palms up. Harmless.
I am panting, I have been moving for 18 hours in 38 dg heat without break or food. The dizzier I feel, the harder I push.
We serve for the first set; focused, rhythmically I pull back, drop my racket face, grip, then hit. Each movement represents one syllable of one man’s name. The only man who has ever moulded me to him, not one of the 17 alias’s – but His actual name, the one the Private Investigator gave me. Over and over and over, I breathe out each sound and expel each letter.
We are half way through the 4th game before my challenger scores a point. I win the match 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.
Of course I fucking do.
1 year ago, I would not have had the courage to do this; I would never have shown my strength to a man in such physical and obvious ways. Today, I am not ashamed of my aggression, my desire to win, to destroy a fragile ego, but today has been a new level of hostility, even for me – this is un-lady-like.
The Thin One starts to walk toward the net, I believe he wants to shake my hand, congratulate my overwhelming win. I stand a distance away from it, heaving to get my breath, blinded by my salted sweat. I stare directly, but hear another’s voice; hissing, angry, wanton.
I open my left palm suddenly; my racket drops to the ground, The Thin One frowns disapprovingly. I slowly turn 180dg, as dozens of sunglasses simultaneously turn towards the scene. I leave everything I came with, and walk off this court to mumbles and suburban gossip. I will never indulge this opponent again; my tolerance for weak men has expired.
When I woke this morning, my blood was not my own. It was at the mercy of another. I get up, go to the gym, I want to run outside but I am waiting for the humidity to rise and the HK sun to burn. I keep walking; I drink a steaming coffee and start a 30km hike in 95% humidity. Every step is heavy, and the heavier it becomes, the more I fight.
I have a plan of course; it’s in percentages. I am belonged right now, at 100pc, I have to sweat that out. Today I will decrease it by 10pc , in another 6 days, it will be down a further 60pc. I can cope with that, I can function at 30% obsession. At 10km when my mouth is dry I refuse myself water, at 15km when my long sleeves are drenched, I will not take them off. At 20km my skin is sandy and my fingers shriveled. At 22km my chest stings with pain, and I decide I will always accept pain over hurt.
I know our time has come, I’m avoiding the conversation.
Love that never becomes rooted in the every-day becomes epic. I have the choice of having Him every day, but I want epic. I am not ready to return to mundanity. To someone’s pocket. I like to be a shiny new thing. He has changed me, He has created something that cannot stay….
“The problem with us Emma, we meet at the wrong time”
I don’t reply, I don’t want to know that this is true, I cannot let him go, so I do something I have never done before. I ask for help
Calmly I whisper into his sleeping ear
Will you help me ? Will you help me to let you go ? Please?
I keep, going to the river to pray
Cos I need, something that can wash out the pain
And at most Im sleeping all these demons away
But your Ghost
The Ghost of you
It keeps me awake