I have not posted in Beautiful Creatures in a little while, having concentrated on my Love Wins series. However, I thought this fitting in that it reveals my own childhood experiences with my brother and family that have shaped who I am and I was inspired by the familiarity of sounds that can trigger such powerful memories.
The air resonated with the familiar whirr of static, like the sound of a breath as it escapes the threshold of one’s lips and snakes through a blade of grass held between one’s thumbs. That constant low pierce saturated the summer air but never revealed its source other than in the memorial shell of a previous corporeality. The preserved memory of alien husks are the only signs of these cyclical transient guests that remain bonded to the bark of the maples whose branches swayed in the summer breeze to filter the sunlight where she sat on that park bench watching it dapple through the leaves. It’s all about the framing… She lay there listening to the constant drone of the cicadas in the wee morning hours of that still August night. She had always thought of the sound as a source of comfort and a reminder of her childhood until he’d revealed his own loathing of their uninterrupted mating whirr that seemed to have no end. They had sat around that evening talking about different insects; a strange topic but one bug led to another and the conversation continued in ebbs and flows with imitations of the maddening perpetual familiar mating call of this cyclical insect. Now, as she lay there in bed she could hear nothing but that piercing buzz that disturbed the fluidity of her intervallic thoughts of the reminiscences of the weeks gone by that brought her to this point. The 17 year awakening of the cicadas seemed a fitting metaphor for the summer’s loss of her uncle that had brought her family together. With the exception of a few of her relatives, it had been about that long since she’d seen the greater part of her family on her father’s side. The family that she’d grown up with as a child, and for whom she’d had fond memories of in those foundational years of her childhood. She closed her eyes thinking back to that day of remembrance that had brought them together, focussing on the small wooden box at the front of the room that was once her uncle and she fell into sugar-coated recollections of moments on the farm with her cousins. She remembered the pig that wowed her in disbelief by her sheer size, for she had only really known the idea of a pig to be like the piglets that were suckling this giant sow. Each time her brother and her were let loose with their cousins it revealed a new curiosity, from feeding the goats, the softness of touching the ethereally downy fur of the angora rabbits she remembered eagerly waiting to brush, to the mischief and contrary nature that simmered beneath her shy and sweet demeanour. She smirked as she recalled riding a horse for the first time with her cousin’s at the neighbouring farmstead. As she got on this huge splendid animal she could barely contain the smouldering anticipation behind her soft manner to feel that moment of connection as she and this horse would begin to race through the open field. She was warned not to touch the backside of the horse behind the saddle and that cautionary advice inevitably sparked her contrary nature. As they began to trot her crooked smile revealed her intentions and her hand slowly reach behind the saddle to gently tap the horse on its right haunch sending the animal into a wild gallop as the two shot forward in a breathless moment that she can still feel over thirty years later. It is like those last moments of giggles of freedom before leaving when they’d find themselves up in the rafters of the barn flinging their bodies into the void of that weightless moment before landing in the hay beneath. These irregular visits to her uncle’s farm were always filled with moments of wonder, mischief, connection and childhood whimsy. They are moments that will always remain with her, they are memories that she still cherishes all these years later. She can recall the tenor of her uncle's voice and those family gatherings. In loss she has been given those memories once again that were not forgotten but simply squirrelled away for days like these to revisit when she needed a smile.