In the dream, I am walking.
The chain around my foot rattles like a hungry snake.
Yet I am walking, floating… down the sleek black streets of my past as if there is no chain around my ankle. As if this rain-soaked evening is as fresh and untainted as the day its first memory was made.
Yes I am light as a feather, for all the more the world changes, it remains the same. The lights take on different hues, but they lit up the same lanes, same streets, same people.
People look away. I keep walking, with my rattles, and the same look different as they turn their faces away.
You are sitting across the table, smudged in the darkness of this cheap, dingy cafe I have floated in. Isn’t this the cafe we used to visit always? None of us had money then. But one of us had chains that, even then, used to rattle, a little.
I shrink down, I don’t move a muscle. Anything, anything to keep the rattles down. Anything, anything for you to look at me, and not look away.
I look up. The smudge of your outline is almost red in the dark of our cafe. Red, like the dried blood on my knee and your kerchief the evening I fell. Like the street light under which you once told me to watch out, so many predators here.
I look up. You look elsewhere.
The chains will always rattle between us.
The accompanying image is Letting Go, a Cyanotype and gold leaf print on Hosho paper by artist and printmaker Monica Chulewicz. You can see more of her artworks here.