Thursday, 10 March 2005

tape used as device

Imagine an audio cassette tape.

Recorded upon the tape are confessions you never made, but should have done. After this are promises you made just to break. Next comes a list of all the people you trusted and then hated. Finally, the tape finishes with that secret, the one that you told to that single individual on that night beneath wretched stars and under a blanket of humidity and pollen.

You decide this tape is a bad idea. Its presence, or rather your knowledge of its presence, starting to affect your health, you cannot sleep. You see your friends with decreasing frequency and enthusiasm, you spend too much money on too little. In a bid for lover’s empathy, you are closing doors. Your relationships can be divided in two. Your happiness depends on company.

You decide to destroy the tape. It is a matter of fidelity.

You should burn it but cannot, looking at fire hurts your eyes.

Instead you unravel the tape from its spindle and great reams of shiny black tape pool around your feet as you frantically reach for every last inch of the offending material, purging the plastic case, cracking it in your endeavours to reduce and nullify.

You take scissors, and begin to cut the loops of tape. It lies in layers of concentricity, the inside of a tree trunk, but gradually you are wearing it down, diminishing it. The tape cannot be played now, repairing its chronology is an impossibility. There are only the memories now, the remembrance of what has been said. The actions fade faster than the words.

And now you open the window and look down into the street where everyone is too busy to notice a man perched upon a broad white sill clutching at segmented fibres of a past life. You drop the sections of tape into the wind where they flutter before being hauled upwards and disseminated across the neighbourhood.

A disposal of sorts, then.

There is no chance of retrieval, the tape has been altered and eliminated in a sense, but now, during walks around the suburb in the haze of an early spring afternoon with a weak pallid sun tenderly resting above the clouds, you begin to notice slivers of the tape in bushes, entwined in hedgerows and lining gutters. It becomes impossible to look anywhere without seeing a length of the tape, mute and stolen away by thermals. It begins to become caught in your shoelaces when you pause at street corners, and the tape even binds together your ankles when walking through long grass. The birds begin to build their nests from it.

Yesterday I saw a ghost.

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