Conduit: A Tale of Connection Through Concrete

Lady Liminal Dialects of the Hum, Future Ghosts, Landscape, Memory, Remember, Underpasses are Liminal Places, Wanderings, Wyrd Leave a Comment

Slapped, spittle spattered, the girl ran. Ran towards the flyover, her place of safety, the space where others feared to tread, let alone linger. Here, the girl fell out of sight, out of time. The concrete enveloping her like wings, supplying solace, sanctuary, a place to breathe…

A hot summer’s day, the woman approached the flyover for the first time in over 30 years. Walking the two miles from the train station, she could feel the anxiety rise within. The viscera wrapping itself around the trachea, stifling her breath. Heart beating so hard that she feared it would burst forth, like a cannonball. New builds had appeared, the pub had undergone a facelift, but the topography of past trauma remained, for the greater part, unchanged.

As she rounded the corner and gazed upon the road that led to her first home, the place where her initiation into The Hum had begun, the woman decided to take the long route to her destination. Compulsion drove her, a need to see, with adult eyes, the various tableaux of her past humiliations, dotted across the council estate. Invisible to those who now inhabited the landscape, but forever imprinted upon the soil and stone, upon the woman’s memory…

The rain came down, pitter patter, spitter spatter, mingling with the girl’s tears. Her sobs seeping into the giant struts which held the tarmac serpent aloft. Sitting with her back against the pillar, she felt the vibrations from the lorries and automobiles overhead pulsate downwards through the flyover’s columns, piercing her spine, awakening her chakras. It was then that she heard it…

At first it was nothing more than a whisper. The girl looked over her shoulder to see who was there, fearful that the bullies had finally decided to cross the threshold and enter her realm. Yet, upon turning she saw nothing, no one. Perhaps it had been the wind? It had played its tricks upon her before, whispering sweet words and serenades into her ears, lulling her into repose. But today it blew too strong to drip words of respite into her mind. It was roaring around the girl, not purring.

And the voice, for it clearly was a voice, sounded, somehow familiar, yet she couldn’t place it, the words too, resonated… “Little Star, can you hear me? Are you still there?” It was not unusual for the girl to hear the spirits. She was visited by those who had passed, frequently. It was the main reason why she was relentlessly pursued by those who wished her harm. People, young and old, have always feared that which they do not understand. Yet, this felt different, this wasn’t a separate, distinct entity calling out to her, it was something, other. The connection was deeper than usual, more intense. There was no need for a connecting thread, it was as if the voice was emanating from within herself. Uneasiness gave way to curiosity, as it always did. The girl placed her ear and hands upon the pillar and concentrated…

The woman reached the flyover, her original protector, just as the sun hit its daily zenith. At first, she felt trepidatious at the thought of crossing the threshold, but, as always, curiosity won out. Stepping beneath the asphalt river, her first feeling was one of relief. The reprieve from the heat was instant and welcomed. Staring forward, the woman espied the pillar at the farther end, her pillar, her benevolent sentinel who had stood guard, freely offering protection from all who had wished harm upon her all those years ago. Here, even now, in a new millennium, it, and its cohort, continued to keep watch over her, shielding her, offering refuge.

Had it noticed her? Did it even recognise her? Was she just one of countless others who it had gathered to its core, shrouding them from the harm of others? Or had it been waiting for her, waiting to resume its duties, waiting to reconnect with a friend? The woman walked forwards, nodding silent salutations towards the pillar’s comrades, retracing the steps of yesteryear, but this time walking, not running in panic, fleeing from her persecutors. And then she was there, stood before it, looking upwards towards its peak, the broad, supporting shoulders looking as strong as ever. She smiled; she felt a response ripple out towards her. Recognition and warmth enveloped her; they had reconnected at last!

Sitting down, the woman conversed with the pillar, telling it tales of how the strange child had grown into an even stranger adult, and how the bullies had, for a time, caught up with her again. Whilst voicing this admission, the woman felt a shudder reverberate through the pillar. Did it feel guilt at not having been there to protect her in later life, or had something, or someone, else from within the concrete heard her words? Was this shudder the sympathetic recognition of someone who knew, and understood, what the woman had endured?

She had thought that she was alone with her friend, but now the woman knew she was not. She circled the pillar, seeking out any interlopers, but there were none to be found. And then the sobbing began to filter through, quietly at first, barely audible, but growing in intensity. Memories came flooding back, overwhelming in their intensity. The woman looked up, the sun had vanished, replaced by heavy rain and a brisk breeze. The flyover was the same, but different, she felt out of time. Then the compulsion came over her, what if the reverberations came from an even closer source than her pillar? Thoughts of her younger self huddled against the concrete, hiding from the creeps, from the world itself, began to permeate her mind, burning her eyes, scrambling her brain. The distortion was increasing, becoming unbearable, equilibrium had to be restored. The woman reached out, placed her hand upon the concrete; “Little Star, can you hear me? Are you still there?”

The vibration intensified, the violence of the tremors radiating from the pillar made the young girl’s hand ache. The voice from within was growing louder; “Little Star, can you hear me?”  Confused, but not fearful, the girl called out; “I hear you, but who are you? How do you know that name, it’s only ever spoken by one? Silence fell, but the connection held, the girl could sense it. Her patience paid off, with the distortion subsiding, the signal was restored…

“Little Star, I’m calling to you from the 21st century. Never stop dreaming, feeling, shouting out into the ether. The universe is listening, The Hum is carrying your call throughout the world, and others are hearing it. One day, somewhen in the future, you and they will connect. Together, we’ll find release, friendship, happiness, we’ll finally be able to move beyond. The Hum, the Universe, has got your six, Little Star. Don’t be afraid, we’re all here, waiting for you…”

And then it was gone, but instead of feeling bereft, the girl felt invigorated, she was no longer alone. She did have friends out there within the world(s), she just had to trust in The Hum, in her parent’s teachings, and all would be well. Her tears dried, a smile burst forth, brighter than the sun. She kissed the pillar, the conduit of her joy, removed her hand, and headed for home…

The reverie lifted, the woman came to, peace had descended upon her. Her hand still pressed against the pillar, she offered gratitude; “Thank you for protecting me. Goodbye dear friend, we shan’t meet again. I’m ready to move on.”

Her tears dried, a smile burst forth, brighter than the sun. She kissed the pillar, the conduit of her joy, removed her hand, and headed for home…

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