Elizabeth M. Castillo - Thinking too loud
I felt it that day. Must have been around lunchtime, about one in the afternoon. I felt it then. A warmth. A touch. Something deep inside, between my belly and my heart, calling to me, pulling me out of myself. And I knew, deep in the marrow of my bones, that at that moment, you were thinking of me.
They must have been pleasant, those thoughts; and lovely. Were you reminiscing? Looking at a picture, if you kept any? To me, it felt like an embrace from the inside, like the sun shining once again in our own private universe. I stopped my frantic typing and turned to the west, as if by angling myself towards you I might give you a clearer signal.
Forgive me. It’s a fanciful place, up here in my head.
I was alone, the kids were away, and for a moment I could scarcely remember whatever imperative task I was working so hard at. All I could think of, all I could feel, in that instant, was you, as your thoughts converged towards me, and the whole universe contracted into the fine, invisible thread that apparently still stretched between us. All softness. All light. Still intact, even after all this.
Then, suddenly, like ripping out a cannula, it was gone, replaced with an emptiness that may or may not have made me cry out at the sudden loss. I’m not entirely sure. That concealed, cavernous part of me where I keep my unrequited memories suddenly flooded with dust, and I felt the entire chain of the Andes erect itself between you and I once again.
And you were gone. And I knew. Whatever tender thought, tender feeling of me, like a beautiful, handwritten letter that suddenly triggers some painful memory, you crumpled it up in your hand and cast me away from your mind. It would not do to dwell on someone like me. It would not do to waste time. It would not do to find solace or, God forbid, pleasure in our memories. It would not do to wonder if, on the other side of the world, I am also thinking of you.
But the thoughts in your head, and the feelings in your heart, or whichever part of you you keep them in, are yours, and yours alone. To do with what you will. To dispose of at your whim. If I know you at all I know that every memory of me will be banished. Exiled, and starved until their mournful, anemic protest sounds no longer, and all that remains is the dust and bone that will return home to the driest place on earth.
As for me, my thoughts will roam the wastelands like the ravenous, feral beasts they are, their cries echoing across both sides of the equator. In time perhaps, and probably driven mad by deprivation, they will throw themselves into the depths of the Magallanes-Fagnano fault, cushioned only by the hope that they might find some remains of your shadow there.
Things do not have to be like this, I think to myself repeatedly. Things could be simple, if only we could talk. Apologies could be made, misunderstandings clarified, the truth could prevail. But I, like your country, am caught between the desert and the mountains. To the east, my words are not allowed, and to the north, my words will not be heard.
All I have left is to think as loud as I possibly can. And hope you’re still out there, perhaps, even quietly thinking of me.
Elizabeth M. Castillo is a British-Mauritian poet, writer, indie-press promoter. She lives in Paris with her family and two cats, where she writes a variety of different things under a variety of pen names. In her writing Elizabeth explores themes of race & ethnicity, motherhood, womanhood, language, love, loss and grief, and a touch of magical realism. She has words in, or upcoming in Selcouth Station Press, Pollux Journal, Revista Purgante, Lanke Review, Streetcake Magazine, Fevers of the Mind Press, Melbourne Culture Corner, Epoch Press, among others. Her bilingual, debut collection “Cajoncito: Poem on Love, Loss, y Otras Locuras” is out summer 2021.
Photograph: Crannog at Castle Espie by Gaynor Kane
Gaynor Kane lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she is a part-time creative, involved in the local arts scene. She writes poetry and is an amateur artist and photographer. In all her creative activities she is looking to capture moments that might otherwise be missed. Discover more at gaynorkane.com Twitter @gaynorkane Facebook @gaynorkanepoet Instagram @gaynorkanepoet