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Pinpricks

Pinpricks

by Stephanie on December 9, 2009

I never feel like I know a city until I can walk its streets at night, alone. And I can see the current snaking along the Brisbane River, a curl on the surface of the water—I can see it, from all the way up here. Vertigo doesn’t haunt me three beers down, and anyway, it’s the urge to jump and go flying that whispers seductively. I know that voice, its giddy music, and I grip the railing of the bridge to steady myself.

And I know you, city lights—flimsy, artificial things, clamouring that you have the answers, that all of the world’s secrets can be found in the crackle of electricity and the flick of a switch. I know what you’re really hiding from me. I’ve seen them, out in the bush, hurtling across the sky, dying thousand-year-old deaths in front of my just-born eyes. I’ve seen them glistening between the branches of the redgums and the stringybarks and the ghostgums in the mountains. I’ve seen them out in the middle of the floodplains, peeping awake as the sky bruises purple. And I’ve seen them in the shudder of a lover, in the taste of sweat and dirt and eucalyptus, and the way my fingers break the skin of a peach.

And I know my shadow is far more willowy and graceful than I will ever be, but still, it is part of me, and so I run along the Story Bridge with her leading the way, my little weightless piece of the dark, carved out by streetlights, skirt billowing, hair flying, flat-footed, shoeless. And I don’t care what they think of me. I’m not here for them. This is bigger than them. This is bigger than me.

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