Outlines

Outlines

Words by Chris Kent

The sea itself was lashing against the window.
It was a terrible night, an awful night. Like a storm that you had never seen before. The window shook in its frame. We could see the darkness of the night, in all its blue-blackness, leaking into the room.
There was my reflection in the glass, though I hardly recognised the face staring back at me.
A face looking lost, trapped within a layer of glass, like a water spirit. In the distance was the light from a ship beyond the harbour, far out at sea. Then, like ink, the darkness covered the glass. The darkness had wiped everything out. The world we knew had gone.

We sat by the window, remembering where we used to live on the island.
That small piece of land around us. Where we used to walk for hours exploring the lanes, paths and coastline.
I picked up a map off the shelf. Unfolding it, I noticed that what it showed were unmarked, empty squares. It showed no rivers, no roads, no villages or settlements. Like it had been wiped clean. The world of ten thousand years ago.
Who would undraw a map?
This map will need remaking, to remind us of the places that have disappeared.
We must redraw our maps by imagining and remembering what was out there. A kind of exploration, without travelling.
Our old maps were drawn with boundaries. Edges. Drawn lines created certainty, for a while. Those lines were ideas which had both comforted and imprisoned us. They held us in, and kept us out. People fought and died for those lines. Have we now finally escaped from those imaginary edges?
But what if those ideas were turned inwards. Might we carry these divisions internally? Maybe our hearts have lines scribed through them? We got used to delineation.
Yet how we long for connections. We send messages out there, sharing our inner world with others.
Our privacy is handed over, and our personality becomes porous. Do we absorb each other?
Where are we, now the dream is over? How can we find ourselves?
Despite the darkness our inner self remains, not in a body, nor in any physical space.
There we are.
The face we see when we seek ourselves is that watery spirit we half-see within the glass. Our face moves through the glass. It is free to roam.

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