Wednesday, 14 December 2016


I made some music. I hope you like it.

I thought gardens were supposed to be loud. And dark. I thought they were supposed to smell sweet, like rotting things, like garbage dumps. But this one is fresh planted, weeks old. The trees have barely taken root. I bet I could pull that fan palm by the corner door out single handed. I bet I could tear the whole place up, just me. And it is just me here, it has been just me here for days.
There’s been no sign of Rhys so far, but I’ve been looking. And they have plants here that help me remember them. Not the kind of remembering that makes me sad; it brings them here, out of my chest and into the space beside me. Laying on their back with their legs crossed underneath them. Combing their hair out into a thick blond halo and chewing cherry flavoured gum.
I started writing this down because I’m getting lonely. I got so used to speaking to the video log that when I couldn't anymore, a large space opened up, and needed to be filled. A blank page is a different size to a camera lens, it fills a different space in my head and I'm having difficulty shifting things around. I still read the words out loud as I write them down.

The garden was designed by me, even though the Earth they want was never the Earth I knew. Everything I’ve asked for came from this CD rom called Encarta 95. Rhys found it in a dumpster before I knew them, and gave it to me when they found out that I could read.  And I read all of it, on their stolen laptop, on long nights when they weren't in their room, or mine, when they were out with someone else. I learnt a lot about growing things that way. There was this entry, I highlighted every word. I'd read it so many times I can still write it out, word for word, more or less.
“The rosemary plant is a woody perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family, and its name is derives from the Latin for "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea". Taking a draught made from the flowers of the plant has been said to allow access to deep pockets of memory. Some say that if you drink it hot, you will be able to commune with the dead.”
I didn't think they'd find it, I wasn't sure if it even existed. But it does, and they did. It has broad green, almost blue leaves and large, full petals that glow neon pink.

Today the moths were released into the garden. I told the architect that if he wanted the plants to grow here like they used to do on Earth, they’d need moths to keep things going.
“Are you sure?” he’d asked at first, “that doesn't sound right.” But then I showed him an orchid I had found with dark spotted and yellowing leaves, and I spoke with such authority and earnestness, he decided that it must be true. Bees would have been the best to have, I think, but I want moths, for Rhys.
“We need to name our gang,” they'd said. We were sitting on the roof of the ALDI building divvying up some of the stolen loot between us, as I checked items off the list on the back of my hand. I was a better thief than them, I mastered sleight of hand, but they took more risks, went harder for bigger stuff. That time, they'd managed to steal a small gas bottle, two cans of mid strength beer and a packet of salt and vinegar chips from a fuelling station.
“I think there needs to be more than two people in a gang” I'd said, cracking open my beer, letting it fizz and drip down my hand.
Rhys ignored me, taking a long sip of their own beer, looking out over the rooftops. They'd already settled on a name for us; the Bohe - moths.
“Because moths like the dark?” I'd asked. They'd shrugged. I could feel the beer warming me up from the inside out, like I was being microwaved.
“Sure. Want to hear my moth call?”
All night, the lights are kept on inside the garden; if plants need sun to grow, why not let the sun burn all the time? But tonight the moths have gathered round the light fixtures, in clouds so thick it almost feels like night. They clump, but they don't make the sound that Rhys made. They rustle, like little leaves.

The garden is a good place to be hungover. When the comedown from remembering Rhys gets too much, I go and sit in the river I made them make for me. At first it didn't look right, with the high sides cut into the floor, the black plastic laid down, it looked like the nasty canals that used to carry the trash out into the bay. But now the roots of the low growing plants have started to creep over and cover up the sharp edges with their soft mosses.
Holy shit can you believe this? We were hunting for bird-kill, and somehow made it to some real, running water. The colour was green-black, old bruisey and oil thick. I wanted to dip my fingers into this water, but part of me, the scared part, was afraid that they would come out just bones. The surface was flat, but when the sun hit it glittered like wet roads at night. When this happened, I was filled with wanting to kiss Rhys, but instead I pulled their hair, and they pinched me under the ribs.
“First one in’s a pile of trash!” they'd cried.
“A pile of bones,” I'd said, “And you're already a pile of trash.” They pinched me again, on the nipple. I flinched away, and reached for their upper arm. This was always how we were together, hands on each other all the time. Sometimes softer, sometimes much harder than this.
The architect came to see me again today. I told him, “We need more water.”
“We've given you so much already,” he said. He squinted at me in the moth-made dark.
“It's not enough.” I said, “Our plants, and our animals, and our people, we need water all the time.”
He shook his head, looked down at me sitting in the river he designed for me.
“No wonder your planet broke,” he said.

I think the garden is almost ready now. I've walked down every path, marked off every plant from the list on the back of my hand. But there are new things starting to grow now, things that I don't recognise growing in between layers, filling the gaps. I flex my fingers, push down the urge to pull them out, to keep only the ones I know. This isn't for me, though. This is for them. This is for Rhys. They might like the stuff that grows in between. It might be their favourite part. 
The moths are still blocking out the lights. I thought they might have got over them by now, but they’re still there, choking out the light. This morning the architect asked me what this will mean for the plants. “Nothing,” I told him. “The plants are fully charged, like batteries. And the moths will be soon, too. Then they'll leave the lights alone.” This isn't true, but as I said it, I looked him in the eye, and he nodded ‘okay’. I don’t know what this will mean for the plants, but I won't be gone for long. I'll go get Rhys, from wherever they are, and I'll bring them back. The garden just has to survive for that long. They just have to see it. Then they'll know what I can feel. Then they'll know what I can do.

No comments:

Post a Comment