the space in between

Published on 17 - 08 - 2020

the space in between was first published in Unpublishable Zine

It was also featured on their excellent podcast, which you can listen to here

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before there were fast things
bright circling things
distractions to retreat into

life chugged along

you took trains with the one you love
watched the rapid retreat of thoughts through the window
swept up in the tunnels and wind
and you chugged distracting liquids with friends

you worked
often choked by the speed of approach
but it was normal

you received therapy
a gift, wrapped in cardboard and posted second class
but when it arrived it was beautiful
bright white and spacious

you took deep, agonising breaths full of it
holding them in

then there was panic

a sudden breathless rush
coming in from the cold; a ruthless, aching wind
before all life slowed down

trains passed through empty stations
pasta briefly graced empty shelves
beds emptied and refilled

there were some fast goodbyes

and then you were home
surrounded and thawing but somehow alone
therapy came crackling and broken by static down the phone
work arrived in spluttering bursts; and then it flowed

and there was no time to think
no time to breathe or seek a safer place inside
but you did not mourn these things – they had barely crossed your mind

now there is some pause

a slowing down of sorts
as life begins to open up
albeit at a changing speed

the flow of work splutters almost to a halt
a trickle
and you can breathe just for a moment

but in the freshness of this breath
there is a sour note
a sense of older problems creeping in
now they have been awarded space to swell and bloat
to regain old hard-fought ground

and still, there are no swooping trains to be whisked away by
no touch to be taken over and consumed by
not even the familiar rush of cool air to be renewed by

you do not know what to do with these sprawling empty days
but this painful part of you does; it rushes in with anxious thought
to fill the space in between
and pull you to the very edges of the room squealing and taut

therapy salvages some clarity again
in terrifying painful truths it says
you must reclaim the air it swallows every day
and step into the space instead

you must reframe the time it takes
not as some sorry stolen thing
but as an opportunity to bring
your fullest self to the fight

an opportunity
to stretch yourself out - astonished, and renewed
and extend into the light