Stories about you, by Tristan Foster

A story about you 1

There is a block of stone on the other side of the world, on which a member of an ancient civilisation scratched what you and I would call words. You will never know what these words say.


A story about you 2

You get in a fist fight on the dock before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Your watch comes off and slips through the gaps in the wooden planks like a reptile. Now the ocean wears it on its wrist.

 

A story about you 3

A couple, both people you consider friends, breaks up. You have an afternoon coffee with one half of the couple, now a whole on his own, and you offer the advice, advice that you have never followed yourself, nor that you believe, that he should maybe appreciate what he had when he had it. He looks up into your eyes – briefly. On the table is a jar of cubed sugar and a miniature pair of tongs. He uses his fingers to take sugar cubes from the jar then drop them, letting them plop, into his coffee.

 

A story about you 4

You remember the dead and rest your head in your hand, or against a wall. Then you remember something else.

 

A story about you 5

The muted television plays into the empty bedroom. Blue and red and green lights pock the darkened corners like the stars of distant galaxies.

 

A story about you 6

Later, alone, when all is quiet, you feel, rising in you, the realisation – the recollection, in fact – that the reaction you actually want comes from throwing over yourself a veil of strength, or not even strength but just one of indifference, and not of weakness. You wore the wrong thing.

 

A story about you 7

While on holiday in Europe you go to a Courbet exhibition with a friend but you are so distracted by the scratching of your shirt’s tag on the base of your neck that later, after you’ve left the gallery, all you’ll be with left with are memories of idyllic, woodland scenes. Only when you exit the exhibition do you go into a toilet cubicle, wrestle the back of the shirt around to the front and pluck off the tag, tearing a hole in the collar.

 

A story about you 8

You pick up the first thing that comes to mind, or rather, the nearest thing, that being a bar heater, use your elbow to shove the window open wider, step back, then launch the heater out the window, its plug trailing, and watch and hear it break open, clatter, the bars smashing to dust, in a way that doesn’t quite meet whatever expectations you had – and scream.

 

A story about you 9

Your grandmother grew up in a house her father built with his hands on 8,000 acres in the middle of the state. After ten years of drought and locust plagues, your grandmother and her family walked off the land. Now it is as though that land never existed.

 

A story about you 10

You don’t get it. You stare.

 

A story about you 11

You stay in a house in the country. You can hear the wind rolling in down the hill. There is a table out the back. The moment you sit at it, tiny spiders try to use you in their webs.

 

A story about you 12

A party in a yard, an aunt’s birthday. She wears pearls around her neck. You smile at the jokes, stab at barbecued sausages with a fork. The children adore you: you are young enough to not be one of the others, but old enough to go unpunished; they interpret their fun as yours. You help with the dishes, one in a production line. But, later, at home, you have feelings that roughly translate to the dislike of who you are. In fact, they are so strong that they keep you from sleeping, so that you see the dawn. Why is that?

 


Tristan Foster is a writer from Sydney, Australia. Most recently he has had writing published in Music & Literature, 3:AM Magazine, Visual Verse and The Bohemyth, with fiction forthcoming in Gorse Journal and Black Sun Lit.

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