I gather myself and move to the other side of the room. I open the wardrobe to see it’s still filled with your clothes, though of course there aren’t many. The dust hasn’t found its way in here. I carefully run my fingers over the different fabrics and notice that my hands are trembling. It’s strange how things that are seemingly so mundane can suddenly feel so significant. Even after all this time, your laundry detergent has more or less managed to keep the smell of musk at bay. Just as I’m about to close the door, I spot an old shoebox tucked away at the back of the wardrobe. Intrigued, I can’t help but pick it up and take it over to the bed. I lift the lid to find a collection of old, tattered papers. There’s an old card with a beautiful hand-painted picture of a small harbour on the front and a handwritten message inside, written in a beautiful yet almost illegible scrawl. I squint, eager to decipher the message. My heart drops when I see the words ty a fyll dhymm at the bottom of the page and realise the card’s contents will remain a secret. I turn my attention back to the items that remain inside the box. There’s a number of receipts and, though the ink has faded over time, I can just about manage to make out a couple of them. There’s one from a seaside fish and chip shop in St Ives and another from a Parisian restaurant called La Chambre aux Oiseaux. I never knew you’d been to Paris. Underneath the receipts is an assortment of photos and, under those, your wedding ring. I slip your ring onto my finger and carefully pull out the photos. I move over to your bedroom windows that stretch from floor to ceiling and lower myself. I sit cross legged and rifle through the photos, smiling at the memories we share, and the ones we don’t. I should have asked you about those.
Eventually, I place the photos on the floor directly in front of me and turn my attention to the view from the window. You had a good view from here, I can see for miles. In the distance, I can see Bodmin moor majestically rising from the horizon, an imposing silhouette in an otherwise gentle landscape. To my left I can see sheep peacefully grazing in the green fields, and my ears can hear the chirping of the birds that have turned your overgrown garden into a home. The view is idyllic, and for a minute I forget the overbearing despair of the house I’m in. I forget what brought me here. I forget everything. It’s a clear, hot day, and I watch as the gentle, yet insistent breeze tugs the leaves from their branches. The few rogue clouds that pepper the deep blue sky float gently from west to east, trapped in the aerial currents. Before me is nothing but miles and miles of rolling hills. It’s hard to feel caged when you’re staring into freedom. I think I understand why you spent so long sitting here now. I feel my eyes start to sting at the thought of you not being able to witness all the life in front of me on this warm June day: white lambs frolicking under the late afternoon sun, blackbirds whistling in the hedgerows, and paragliders making the most of the pleasant weather to soar high above us all. This house would seem so small to them.
I stare at the view until the night pulls in, and the vibrant greens and blues of the day morph into gloomy shades of grey and black. A cold chill steals its way through the poorly sealed window frame and teases my skin. I stand up and turn away from the luminous full moon shining through the huge sheet of glass and turn back to face the inside of the house, squinting as my eyes adjust to the sudden darkness. I return the photos to the shoebox, put the lid back on and tuck the box under my arm. After swinging my rucksack over one shoulder, I feel my way back down the corridor towards the stairs.
I don’t look back at your room.
(…to be continued…)
Series – Evanescent
January: If Something Can Go Wrong…It Will – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Planet of Pleasure – Nane Sevunts (Armine Asryan) (Armenia)
March: Evening with Jackie Chan – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
April: Vuvuzelas, Walkie-Talkies and Madiba Magic – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Remembering – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
June: 5-4-3-2-1 – Talia Stotts (America)
July: Getting Ready for Newborns – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
August: Regrets – Kate Korneeva (Russia)
September: A Hollow Pursuit – Diana Haidar (Syria)
October: The Test – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
November: A Life Rekindled – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
December: Translation Perfect – Zhang Lu (China)
Special: Catching Water III – Javier Gomez (Argentina)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Cover photo: Cornwall, England – Bodmin Moor – Julian Gazzard (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed