ISSUE Magazine

Bartholomew Bathos by Sara Trett

This monologue was inspired by the photograph above, taken by Shaun Tiong

There’s this feeling you get, when you know you’ve just lost something. Except that, to you it isn’t just something, it’s everything. You look around and you realize how true that saying is:

“You never know what you have till it’s gone.”

And unfortunately, it’s a very rare occasion that you find things that will stay with you forever. Be it luck, talent – or, heartbreakingly – someone you love.

I’m telling this story to try and find some solace, or understanding of how the world works around me, because most of the time it just seems senseless and strange. Like things specifically wait for the perfect moment to hit you, because timing is such an essential part of life, and as I know so well, it can make and break things in the most painfully searing ways.

I’ve worked out a small set of movements for myself. Just to have something to focus on when I get locked on, when my imagination runs off into a million different terrible outcomes for one single, small piece of bad news.

I hold my right arm out, palm facing upward. Then I turn it over, and use my left hand to bring it back and hold it close to my chest. Like laying something to rest. Like there’s a hand there guiding me back, when in truth all there is, is my own confusion and distress. Fooling myself by conjuring up such a transparent gimmick, comforting myself when there is no one there. And, there will never be anyone there.

I lose everyone. Then I force a smile and put on a charlatan’s mask and retreat to my room to practice my conjuring tricks. So that when the crowd walks past my sidewalk show all they see is my heart, held in my right hand, straight in front of me, palm facing upward. Then I turn it over, and suddenly my heart is gone. Because unbeknownst to them, my left hand has already stolen it and stored it deep in my chest, hiding it from peering eyes and muffling its beat.

Time and time again. Each time with perfect precision, fate crashes down in striking blows. Karma never forgets, she may delay, but she will never forget.

Is it bad luck? Or coincidence? No, it’s just careful planning, they will tip the scales against you until you are so close to the edge; you almost wish you’d fall. Almost. But in reality you are just left there, like you have crossed a line that once crossed does not allow you back. You can only walk forward into the unknown, and for a very long time, that unknown is a scary, scary place.

Looking back on your memories and they are faded with distance. You become used to the gnarled trees that line your path, the eerie, boggy fog that chills as it floats past you. You become brave (or at least you convince yourself that you could become brave, if you just walk on a bit longer).

In the sunlight, you feel wizened, you feel weathered, but you feel as if it has been a triumph. And you know that when night comes, it can only last for so long.

But, what of the monsoons? What of the towering cumulonimbus clouds that loom as massive hammer heads of impenetrable grey? Where is your sunlight then? Or in the eye of the hurricanes that so often now frequent our coastlines, what hope can you see in that darkness?

What hope can you see in the cracks of this pavement I stare down upon?

When you have lost your luck, your talent, and everything you love seems bleak, the spiraling air tunnels down your throat and squeezes you till you are left with only the smallest bit of hope.

The hope that with this raised hand, I will become a beacon through the storm.

And someday I will make it to the North, where the lights shine bright through day and night and the never-ending skies call the earth upward into an embrace.

I miss our embrace.

In light, conjuring tricks don’t work. In light, they are too visible. They are exposed. So I guess I’ll have to learn a new trade, while I dwell in the cracks of the pavement. While I wait for the light to return with my luck, my talent and the one I love, I will just have to look up to the hot, searing sun now and then, and try my hand at learning how to grow.


Sara continues to procrastinate in place of getting any actual work done. The songs currently running around her head include: Second Chance by Peter Bjorn and John, and Escape Artist by the Zolas


Camera in hand, Shaun constantly roams the city’s streets in search of of new subjects and precious little moments in life to appreciate the art and beauty that surrounds him everyday in the the little city he calls home

This entry was written by tretters and published on 08/04/2013 at 08:00. It’s filed under Fiction, ISSUE11, Musings, Sara Trett and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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