My lover, my sister and I have arrived at the venue hours too early for the show. It’s 4 o’clock; mid-Summer hazy sunshine produces a glowing that gestures towards lightness-of-being, but not for me – I am anxious and angry.
Attempting to communicate with my mother, who is interchangeable with Sarah: my friend. Both should be here I am in possession of tickets, frantic, I cannot relax in spite of being present prematurely. There are crowds of people, and dogs, everywhere. The venue is a valley/is a park (Potternewton Park). Human bodies lie down in the grass, basking in the sun, enjoying the company of other humans. David is dancing inside with a beer in his hand. His face is filthy and his movements are jerky, which alarms me; I pass him, ignoring his attempts to grasp me.
My sister sits at the bar smoking, always smoking. “You are always smoking” I say. Her lips are painted red. David is sitting at the bar. He is upright though dressed casually, with an expression of confident geniality. He is desirable. My sister is dancing. In a swift movement she swooshes up to David and launches her body onto his. He is seated on a short stool with his back against the bar – legs open, feet fixed to the stool, rendering thighs rigid. My sister lands perpendicular to him – her open legs scissoring his lower abdomen – their pelvises are locked together (her legs remaining outstretched at either side of his torso). Their hands are fixed at their respective sides. I approach them as she springs away from him (all of these details occurring in an elegantly prolonged moment). Their coupling strikes me as neither one of whimsy nor concupiscence.
I direct a rage at them that had, up to this point, remained buried within me. I spit bile-fuelled diatribes at each of them in turn. All attendant fall silent and cease to move. Everything is still and my mouth is moving. We three leave for the sun-dappled exterior where so many dogs roam; I am terrified, I am thinking of my baby daughter. We have walked away and begin to hike up a narrow trail on a hillside that looms over the city (Hebden Bridge – where ‘the view’ is). There is an impenetrable tension between us and everything. My face is contorted – the lines around my mouth and nose growing deeper, ageing me; I am suddenly aware of being alone in my body; my body as an army, a membrane repelling psychic interlocutors from all directions (including within).
On the trail two black dogs rush by; as they pass they rustle the dry grass that has been baked by the sun. My sister is ahead of me and I witness her body folding into the soil as a dog sinks its teeth into her arm. I see blood on the arm and on the muzzle of the dog, which has turned white. From this point on we are allies. The dog owner – an apparently mild-mannered and apologetic woman - begins to walk with us. She speaks of her husband and her babies (they are down below beside the venue with the contented masses who lay there in the grass with their lovers and children, static instead of trudging merciless along, as we do). We seem to represent a nihilism that produces propulsion: Keep Walking! We Must!
Still too early for the E.S.G. show. I have a red union jack letter-headed sheet of paper on which I write a note for Sarah, something ambivalent, which I heard someone else say: “Come if you like”. I write it neatly over the horizontal section of the St. George’s Cross.