What can I do?

Written for Kinly Grey
What Can I Do?, Clutch Collective, 2017

Kinly Grey, what can I do? (2017), Presented with CLUTCH Collectiv, ANZAC Park, Toowong, Brisbane, image courtesy of the artist

It is unfair that you should be walking home alone again. At three in the morning, the moon has set, but the cold light of the street lamps offer themselves as a weaker understudy. Though through eyes filled with tears, you almost wouldn’t notice the difference. The carefree happiness you felt in the bar feels so far away from here.

Passing rows of houses with darkened windows, you can’t help but imagine what it would be like to live in each. Fast asleep by now, taking for granted the warmth at your back of someone who might make you coffee in the morning. Each house has roses, flowers poking through the gaps in fences and resting heavy heads over the top.

It is a fleeting hopelessness, even now you know you will have forgotten this fragility in the morning. Each time only remembered in the moment, yet every occasion compounding, so they always feel worse than the last time you felt this way, and at the same time, like all other times combined. All this you know will be erased with the morning, so even hopelessness feels hopeless. The exhausting thought that two negatives often almost make a positive. You might feel ashamed of this tomorrow.

Still, it is unfair that you should be walking home alone again. The houses remain dark, their occupants uncaring. You think even the moon has turned its back on you.

The roses, responding to a breeze, wave their heads at you in cheerful circles. In an act of futile protest you grab a handful of the flowers from the bush and throw the petals roughly to the ground.

What else can you do?

Their perfume rises and gently envelopes you before you storm out of its perimeter, head down, up the street towards your house.