Friday, 14 January 2011

Journey XVI – The Last Resort

And now I must prepare myself. I know soon I must walk down to the sea and keep walking and then I will be gone and then I will be reborn in a new life. I don’t want to know any more about it.

This is a nice place here. My chamber is bright and airy. The staff (who are a special kind of guide) look after us quietly, tenderly, prepare us for what comes next. We are all dressed in a flimsy white material (the guides are in silvery grey) and my body feels smooth and flawless underneath. I can already feel myself becoming less solid, less flesh. My mind is flowing around things, becoming simplified. I perceive directly without the use of sense organs. I am moving into the sunlight and passing out into the air where a million crystalline slivers of song and colour pierce me deliciously. I am the heat and the perfume and the buzz of insects.

Time passes. Some take a very long time to ready themselves, and we are assured that we can stay here as long as we like. Our accommodation seems to have been made by the same extraordinary process as those exquisitely sculpted Japanese seashells – of white translucent aragonite with a pinkish glow within. We rest on finely sculpted balconies and doze, or view the infinite expanse of coral sea beyond, or else turn over and look to the lagoon on the landward side, fringed with mangroves on the far bank. Travellers play quietly or sleep on the sand or on boardwalks below. It is like the most brilliant hotel ever, designed by geniuses, staffed by angels, occupied by spectres. I am still enough myself to joke that this must be the last resort but humour is fast going the way of arousal and tiredness and embarrassment and frustration and mucus and sweat and pubic hair.

I am a little anxious I must admit. I think we all are. We are all putting it off a bit – looking at the sea, going for a walk, chatting, having something to drink, having a swim. But we won’t discuss it – what comes next. I don’t know why. I could see a counsellor but I don’t want to and they won’t push. I want to go but I’m somehow not ready yet. I watched two people go yesterday – I didn’t know them. It looked like dying. I go for another walk, this time into the trees behind the beach and find a chameleon to watch.

Some ask a guide to go with them down to the edge. Some have made friends and they have them around for support. Some go down in groups, hand in hand but I want to do this alone and so at dawn I find somewhere up the end of the beach and sit on a coconut palm trunk that slants out over the water and I look down at the waves, and I have never felt more heavy and corporeal. There are tiny fiddler crabs scurrying about on the sand below, each waving his one outsized claw at the rest.
‘Wanna fight?’ or ‘Wanna fuck?’
Life eh?

So here I am. I think of the life I will be launching myself back into and it all seems horribly immediate. My only positive thought is that I’m sure I can do better than last time. I can’t just give in. I crawl a little way out along the trunk and slip gracelessly into the unexpectedly cool knee-deep water. I can feel the sand and little bits of sea detritus between my toes. I stop and look about but I know it is time not to think – it is time to move on. I slip out of the gown and it drops into the water, immediately becoming invisible there. I look around. I can’t see anyone watching. I begin to move deeper.
When I am down to my shoulders I realise with a shudder that I can’t see my body under the water, can’t feel it any more and yet I can keep my head out a little longer and I look at the sky. There’s a vivid turquoise bird flying past...

This is the last chapter of the first volume of Fruit. If you want to read the whole thing from the beginning, please go to Lulu to buy or download the book.
If you have been reading it, perhaps you could consider writing a review?

Thank you


  1. I shall, Steve. Haven't quite got here yet, but have now put them all on the Kindle and am an estimated 80% through. You have created a great deal of expectation on my part (and any reader’s part) that the journey will have a satisfactory destination, even though it has been enjoyable every second of the way.

  2. Thanks again Vincent. I'm wildly chuffed that you like it. I hope the rest doesn't disappoint. (Actually, I'm quietly confident that it gets better.)


A life backwards

It's in the nature of blogs of course that you come across the latest postings first (or you find yourself in the middle.) Normally it doesn't matter but if you want to read my novel in order, the first installment is as you'd expect, the oldest posting.
Thanks for your patience.