Grace Coppola

Australia

Disappearer

December 9, 2019

December is decay. In Australia, the loss of life starts in November and just grows and grows. I walk roads that radiate dense, glossy heat, and lined along them are always dead grasses. The plants are all so withered that they might as well be grey, and not the sickly, palest yellow colour they decide to be, to at least remind me of clouds fat with rain which I miss very much. It’s all so sulphurous. 

Rain. Clouds. That’s what I want to sink my teeth into. In the wintertime, the clouds are a reassuring safety blanket in the sky, but in the summer, the sky is open and vulnerable. Just like you, in short clothes, as dictated by the climate. I should have collected and stored raindrops in my pocket when I had the chance. Now, my pockets are just full of sand. My cup is empty.

December is disgust arising in response to petrol burning as you drive to find something fun to do. December is dread filling you as you consider every piece of plastic being used at every second. December is discomfort, as you sit with a mouth wide opened to food you’ve lost an appetite for, and to take criticism from relatives you don’t want to talk to at Christmas dinners. 

December is death, because you feel like you’re on fire all the time. Your life becomes hollow, and intensely vacant. Life is lost in December, because it’s too hot to do anything at all, but stay indoors, inside air conditioned houses. Leaving your home means an ambush of heat and your insides feel like they’re melting and about to drop out of you. It’s all a swarm, and I pine for rain and also ice. 

The only sweet thing is light. The sun is loving, but it kills plants with kindness in the summer as it supplies sunlight. It means well, but it’s cruel nonetheless. Christmas lights are dazzling. Each individual bulb put up with love, I imagine, and they seem to say “shine on, shine on, shine on” etc. Admiring sunlight reflecting off of the ocean at the beach is a joy, too, I will admit.


I pour myself a cup of boiling hot water several times a day. In the pool in the mug, I imagine a smiling face forming and disappearing in a miniature whirlpool upon pouring, and when I drink it I feel watered and hot and better. I go to see Helen, a friend, since it is 9:00PM now. Me and Helen are the same.

I said, “Hey Helen, what’s new?”
“Hi, nothing is new, 
The stars are always the same,
the sky is still blue.” She said.

Helen existed exclusively at night time. In cool air, under the stars, between dusk and dawn. I imagine her starry eyed as she sits nakedly contemplating everything, every single night. The air at night is always just a soft breeze and carries bird calls and the sweet smells of fruits, and it sits with her and holds her. It does not tear her shoddy clothes from her body or melt her. Everything is always the same. It’s constant and reassuring, this arrangement of stars, albeit bland. The night is always welcome. It’s a welcome interruption, an intermission, before heat persists again. Darkness envelops Helen. Sleepiness always very quietly creeps up on me, very slowly overcomes me. Heat wears out the body.

Starry eyed Helen also talks to boys and listens to old records which feature unrecognisable things. We both don’t like a girl named Julie. She looks orange and yellow, and wears white and denim, and eats peaches and cream. She spends all her time at the beach and carelessly believes that everything will be good. Carelessly.

I take cool baths in the evening, now, before bed. Hot baths make me feel tense and sticky and completely imperfect. I sink into the water which I pretend is a lake on a distant and nice continent, and think of love. I hold a firm grasp to things I love so they’re not buried in tall sulphurous grasses and lost forever, and I look at everything else with scorn. I hold tight to light, and to cool baths, and to Helen. I think ahead:

December is nothingness. December is summer and summer is violent heat. At least to me, during these months, everything around me is so dead and everyone else is wasted. I feel that I am all there is, but I am decaying in the sun too, so I will also become nothing.

But December will end and the world will be reborn in a flood of light, exactly like as I imagine a Phoenix to look like as it takes flight when it is reborn from a pile of ashes, every year. Then the world will turn and burn and be empty by December. It will be nothing in December, again and again. I will be hollow in December, again and again.
 

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