I wrote this piece quite a few years ago for my two friends, Wendy and Tom. It’s called Crumbs.
I believed in love then, and broken and bruised as I am (as we all are at one point or another) I still believe in it now.
In a regular city, in a regular suburb, on a regular street, in a regular house, there lived a girl. This girl was not regular; far from it. This girl had the Universe on board, touched by the hand of her God.
But the Universe, and indeed, the Gods the Universe play house with, were obligated by the girl’s contract. They were bound to test her, to erase her, to break her, and then to show her the tools that would put her back together again. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men were useless in the face of her restoration. This girl had her destiny for labourers.
So the girl made her way, her slow, deliberate way, leaving crumbs on the ground so she could make her way back home should she forget where she had come from, never imagining that the tiny, luminescent crumbs were not meant for her to follow back, but for something else entirely.
Over an ocean, somewhere else quite regular, there lived a boy. This boy was not regular; far from it. This boy had the Universe on board, touched by the hand of his God. You know how the story goes. This boy, too, had signed a contract with his God that called for tests and challenges and broken bodies thrown into lion’s dens. And this boy, like the girl, rose up and burst forth into a life earned, a life justified.
In the short story version, he crossed an ocean and saw a path. And the path had tiny, luminescent crumbs on it.
And he followed.
One day, in a regular city, in a regular town, on a regular street, the crumbs stopped, and the boy had no more nourishment for he had been feeding on these crumbs and putting his broken shell back together again. Yet he did not thrash about or gnash his teeth or stamp his feet. This boy was treading gently in the world and he knew the world would respond in kind.
One day, in a regular city, in a regular town, on a regular street, the girl was saving her crumbs up. She had only one piece of her shell to glue back into the jigsaw puzzle of her soul, and she was not rushing. This girl was treading gently in the world, and she knew the world would respond in kind. The girl was living, head down, business face on.
And then she looked up, and she saw him, strangely familiar. And she stopped. And then he stopped. And then the world stopped for here they were, meeting on the same path they had both helped to build; her leading the way, him laying the bricks.
The girl asked him, ‘Where have you been?’
And the boy responded, a fleck of shimmering crumb left over on his tongue from his last feast, ‘Waiting for you.’