21 June 2008

Lost in Riga

Once years ago she promised to herself that she would listen to that song off the Breeder's album Last Splash underwater. The one where Kim Deal sings as it sounds like she is slowly drowning. Today was the day to fulfill the promise. She had nothing else going for her. Or any day for that matter. Here she was, in Riga, Latvia with nothing but a big hunk of borrowed money in her checking account and an increasing amount of billowing fat forming around the donut of her middle. Her friend Edgars wouldn't get home from work for another two hours. That was enough saunter of a time to fill the tub and turn up his speakers. Strip off her clothes. Pretend she was invisible. Feel the water surface break at her skin. Erase anxieties of her ambiguous future.

The water has skimmed the bottom of the tub. She sits in, legs stretched out, with the pouring shower head clasped to her heavy heart. The album should reach the song just as the water covers her ears. Time expands and contracts like ocean swells here in Riga. Food is eaten out of hobby, air is sucked in two lungs at a time, martinis litter stomachs, films play with three simultaneous translations, and minds continue to knot while hearts dream of mending.

Here is the middle of everything. The spaceinbetween is Latvia. Perceptions overlap into each other. Its the only place where she's confused seagulls for stars, words for singing, water for diamonds, and... she forgets the other misplaced thought. These moments were not to be confused with whimsical imagination; when these experiences happened they were profound and forced her to question her sanity.

She slides forward and places her legs against the wall so her body lies in the tub. Her hair spiders out- each strand half dry while pinching the surface of the water. It is close to the point where her ears will be under. She listens to the slapping of the water as it bubbles around her ears. Baths are the only time she allows herself to feel calm here. The water lets her shed the weight of the stress from her overwhelming and borderless freedom. In here she listens to music and stares at the edges of flesh and water.

Here it comes.

Her ears are under. The water rushing out of the shower head is now underwater and makes a distant hissing echo around her. The song starts up. Its just loud enough to be heard under there. The water level raises some more. The edge of her nostril. She arches her neck until the water is deep enough to sculpt an air pocket glued in place with nose hair.

Kim Deal sings to her. She hears it back underwater. They are fish communicating. Edges blur. Does she hear the sound of water over music or music underwater through water. Or is it...

The bass guitar creates a cradle over the water's slither. She is sailing in a boat of sound, slowly drowning as the water surface performs feats of cartography on her skin.

Sound and touch is interchangeable- much like the confusion of intermingling sights and sounds that exist in this nook of the world. Borders are lost in a land where the borders were taken and renamed and slaughtered. With her eyes open wide underwater she sees nothing but the white ceiling.

She is surprised with her decisions- with a passport and a wad of cash, she feels trapped in a friend's flat in a small country whose name most have never heard. She is sinking and hiding into nothing. And as the water washes over her entirely, hair moving as a jellyfish's tendrils, she notices that in this borderless place that edges become most meaningful. She stares at the glass pane of water over her and thinks this thought. It is entirely possible that she can disappear from this world and be mistaken for something she was not- quite like the seagulls she mistook as falling stars the night before.


  1. jess. i'm so glad you're writing. you SHOULD write. this is meat. protein. i reread it twice.