They call me obsidian.
They say I was born out of fear.
But they are wrong.
I wasn’t born at all.
I was planted.
Like seeds carelessly strewn about over decades by the hands of so-called farmers, only to grow and climb in the most peculiar of places. I appear sometimes in plain view, sometimes barely scratching the surface, and others lying in wait for the perfect moment to sprout.
The hard truth is that I will cover more ground in your lifetime than you have thoughts and years to put towards it.
I grew up with you.
I know you.
We rode our bikes together down the gravel hills and through the trees that would one day become Cowan Heights — a patch suburban sprawl positioned neatly behind a dying shopping centre in St. John’s.
We would weave through the hole in the chain link fence adjacent to your house on Ferryland Street West. And we’d sit in a meadow behind the bushes staring up at a large brown monstrosity of a home on a patch of private land.
There were rumours of mummies.
And so we’d wait.
Hoping to catch a glimpse of a dangling rag or two rising from the third floor window.
It was your fault they didn’t show.
You made too much noise coming through the fence. If you were smaller we would have been fine. You would have impressed all of your so-called friends with tales of how you were the one that saw the great Ferryland Mummy.
But you fucked up. Didn’t you?
Of course, you did.
Not that it mattered. They didn’t like you anyway, your friends.
Because you’re soft.
You’re like a sprinkler. All they needed to do is to un-cinch that hose with a carefully placed word or two and cue the waterworks.
It was a great little game. I know you didn’t enjoy it as much as me — but I feel as though it helped us grow together, a little, you and I.
Don’t you think?
You were always making feeble attempts to rid your life of me. It was cute.
Acting all proud on the outside. But on the inside hating every inch of yourself — your legs, your face, your ears, your skin, your arms, your hair, your back, your stomach, your everything.
Where there was once love you killed it — simply because it ran the risk of making you feel good. Feeling good is the enemy. And must be avoided at all costs. Even if those costs include the ones you love.
And so fully clothed and hiding in plain site, you stripped yourself of joy.
It was beautiful to watch.
These days you’re pretending like you don’t see me.
But I know you do.
Riding your bike, smiling to the world, walking upright with your shoulders back.
How long will that last, do you think?
You’d better keep an eye about you.
I may not be very present in your life right at the moment, but I’m still here — standing in the meadows off Ferryland Street West, behind the bushes, waiting for you to rise up in a third floor window. So I can take hold of that rag and completely unravel you.
They call me obsidian.
But my real name is shame.