This is a prose/story based on the lyric of 'And She Was' by Talking Heads. The original lyric is at the end.
'She' loved it here in the open air this was where ‘She’ felt free. And this was where 'She' would escape to whenever anger fueled by alcohol would come home to fan the flame of the dysfunctional. Laying flat on the ground, in touch with nature, and with the sun upon her face, 'She' would escape this world within her mind. The carpet of grass felt soft beneath, and with the occasional breeze, the blades would tickle the soft bare skin of her wrists and ankles like a lover, touching tenderly.
'She' could hear the passing of the birds above, that mingled with the voices of the playground of the local school, the school she herself had attended, and 'She' could hear the breathing of the distant highway, as the cars, vans and lorries passed by, carrying out chores and duties. 'She' could smell the breeze that stirred the trees, ruffling the leaves, which carries the strong acrid smells of the nearby factories, the aromas of welded metal, black smoke and clogging dust. And 'She' could see, if she looked across from those factories, the lights of her neighbors houses, illuminating interiors to defy the dying light of the day. Ah how she loved it here, and with the cold of the on coming night chilling the air, 'She' took one short moment longer before lifting herself into a sitting position. 'She' paused, allowing her senses to re-adjust, and then after placing her hands on the ground beside her, 'She' used them to lever herself to her feet. Then 'She' opened her eyes.
And floating up above the earth, looking down, 'She' watched the world, slowly turning.
In the backyard of the house 'She' once knew, she drifted from within the sheltering shades into the openness of the emptiness between. 'She' remembered days gone by, those days of fun and laughter, of high spirits and games, and playfulness. The good days, the days she loved to use as inspiration for her art, instead of the dark, frightening ones, that not only haunted her creations, but also her dreams, the nightmares that would eventually drive her to extreme measures.
'She' slipped out of her dress, letting it fall to her feet and stepped out of it. 'She' wanted to feel the chill of the air on her skin once again, as she had done a few times before in her last days here. 'She' wandered slowly, aimlessly, getting used to the chill, and then began to gradually build up speed as she circled the yard, her eyes closed and her arms out like wings. Faster and faster, going from walking to jogging to running. Faster and faster, her body becoming lighter and lighter. Faster and faster, lighter and lighter, until she felt she was lighter than the air, and she began to float once again. Faster and faster, higher and higher, faster and faster, higher and higher, faster and faster, until she was up there, up there above the yard. Then once again, 'She' opened her eyes.
And 'She' was floating up above the earth, looking down, watching the world slowly turning.
Watching the waves, breaking against the rocks below, 'She' remembered that final night. Leaving home in nothing more than her nightie, and a coat, with loose fitting boots upon her feet, she carried a small suitcase in her hand. In her pocket she had the exact fare, and after waiting at the end of the street for a quarter of an hour, she boarded the bus, and within the following hour, she was here on the cliff edge. 'She' had been here alone a couple of times before that occasion, getting a feel for the place, deciding if it should be the place. But that was on sunnier days, and it didn't have the same feel as it did on that night. That night it felt better, that night it felt right, that night it felt the night, the cliff and the waves were welcoming her.
'She' heard a sound and turned to look behind, and in the distance 'She' could see a figure, a slither of colour, that's detailed were blurred by the growing, building wind. Step by step the figure got closer and grew in size and detail. 'She' could see red with tassels of white that came from beneath that fluttered more willingly in the wind. The red was topped off with the pinkness of a face, and auburn flames of long waist length hair, that followed her every step. Step by step the figure became clearer, sharper, and in the hand down by the side, 'She' could see something, something brown and box-like. It was a... 'She' looked harder, it was a... a suitcase. It was her, 'She', herself. 'She' was seeing herself, crossing to where she stood now. It was like watching the playback of a movie.
Stepping aside, giving 'herself' the space she needed, 'She' lowered herself down, and sat cross-legged as 'She' watched 'herself' and the event unfold. 'Herself' stood at the edge for a moment, breathing in the night air, and watching the growing ferocity of the waves, each one breaking harder than the one before, causing a spray that dissipated into mist, and fell like rain back into the sea. 'Herself' crouched down and laid the small suitcase on the ground, flicking the catches that released the upper half. As she opened the lid wider, the paper within began to flutter more and more wildly with the wind, and the top one broke free of it's moorings, and was carried for a moment upon the wind. 'Herself' reacted immediately, the only quick and sudden moment she would make, and brought her hand down upon it. 'Herself' then picked it up and looked at it, it was an early picture, when 'She' was 5 or 6, the usual thing, a house and garden, with stick figures, the two females wearing triangular dresses and the two males wearing suits, drawn in happier times when the orange sun in the child-like image, burned just as brightly in real life. 'Herself' then flicked through the rest of the pictures and designs - the ones 'She' had deemed fit to keep, till this day - and smiled at her creations. None of these had existed until 'She' had dreamed them up, they were like her children, pieces of her, pieces of her life, emotions and feelings that had experienced. 'Herself' placed the loose picture on the top and reached forward to bring the lid closed again; she couldn't lose anything, not a single item, not clue must be left behind. 'Herself' reached into her pocket, and pulled out a small container, and in the dying light she read the label. Waterproof matches. 'She' remembered looking them up on the Internet, the wording, she could see it as clearly as she had seen it that night a fortnight before. 'Strong-lighting matches that will light even in heavy wind and rain.' 'Herself' flipped open the lid, and shock out each match one by one, into the palm of her hand. 'Herself' then opened up the lid of the small suitcase once more and through the slight gap, she dropped the matches inside. 'Herself' flipped over the container, and ran her finger over the roughness of the strike strip, taking a moment to pause for thought, ensuring that she, in her own mind, was doing the right thing. 'Herself' looked to the small suitcase, then to the strike strip, and then behind her at the life she was leaving behind. 'Herself' didn't want to remember the reasons for being here, so she turned her attention back to what she was doing. 'Herself' picked up the last match from the palm of her hand and held it between her fore-finger and thumb, and then took the container into her other hand. 'Herself' placed the tip of the match at the top of the strike strip, and after pausing for the wind to calm for a moment, she then ran it the full length in a fluid continuous motion, and watched as the spark ignited into a flame. 'Herself' dropped the container, and cupped the flame, protecting it, as she brought it round to the front of the small suitcase. 'Herself' removed the flames protection, and quickly lifted the lid, slipping the match inside, the flaming match lighting another and another, one by one in quick succession. Through the gap which was just wide enough for the wind to fuel, and not extinguish, 'Herself' watched as the flames grew and multiplied, and then shed a lonely tear, as she watched her life, her passion begin to burn brighter and brighter. 'Herself' glanced around and picked up a fist-sized rock and placed it on a corner of the case, and rested the lid upon it. 'Herself' stood up and looked out into the night, the distant horizon, and the sinking sun, it's orange hue bleeding into the blackness around it. 'Herself' glanced back down to the small brown suitcase, and saw the flames licking the edges the lid like hungry tongues, wetting themselves in readiness to devour, the middle of the lid gradually thinning and collapsing in on itself. 'Herself' brought her hand up to the zip of her jacket, brought the zip down, opening it up and then slipped it off her shoulders. 'Herself' then placed it upon the small briefcase, and watched the growing flames begin to taste it. 'Herself' then crossed her arms, and clutching the nightie in each hand, pulled it up and over her head, and dropped it onto the coat, which was now fully alight. The fire devoured the nightie quickly, and for a moment the flames leapt high in their excitement. 'Herself' stood their naked and felt the warmth of the fire upon her, she felt their was something special about this warmth, a closer connection to it, as the flame were partly fueled by her, her creations. 'Herself' watched the fire for a moment, and then turned to look out into the night again. This night seemed so inviting, and the more the wind blew, the wilder the sea became, and it was almost like it was speaking to her, calling to her. 'Herself' glanced back to the suitcase and saw the flames were beginning to die, and burning remains were beginning to rise up into the air, and after swaying this way and that, they were carried out above the sea, slowly dropping as the glowing embers were extinguished. 'Herself' took one step backwards, followed by one to the side, and with a swift kick, the remains of the small suitcase was launch over the cliff edge, and down into the sea below, swallowed up and carried out into it's dark depths. 'Herself' then took to steps forward, and there she was, her feet at the edge, her toes over and hanging in mid-air. 'Herself' looked out, and then she sudden turned towards 'She'. 'She' returned the look, wondering if 'Herself' was looking at her directly, or just the space 'She' occupied. There was a slight smile on 'Herselfs' face, as if in acknowledgment, and 'She' rose to stand beside her. 'She' returned the smile, like a sister would, and then they both looked forward, and fell.
Putting up no resistance, 'Herself' joined the world of the missing people. She fell and then rose in spirit as she joined 'She', to continue life beyond the life she once knew. And ‘She/Herself’ was now lost to the world of the missing, hoping never to be found.
The Original Lyric to 'And She Was'
Written by David Byrne
And She Was
And she was lying in the grass
And she could hear the highway breathing
And she could see a nearby factory
She's making sure she is not dreaming
See the lights of a neighbor's house
Now she's starting to rise
Take a minute to concentrate
And she opens up her eyes
The world was moving and she was right there with it (and she was)
The world was moving she was floating above it (and she was) and she was
And she was drifting through the backyard
And she was taking off her dress
And she was moving very slowly
Rising up above the earth
Moving into the universe
Drifting this way and that
Not touching ground at all
Up above the yard
She was glad about it... no doubt about it
She isn't sure where she's gone
No time to think about what to tell them
No time to think about what she's done
And she was
And she was looking at herself
And things were looking like a movie
She had a pleasant elevation
She's moving out in all directions
Joining the world of missing persons (and she was)
Missing enough to feel alright (and she was)