Trading cities 4, Ersilia
Viewpoint: A man trapped by the strings
My first memory of the city was when I was seven years old. How can I forget the sweet, silent breeze on the nape of my neck, and the ball tossed into the air a hundred times, and the dusty, decade-old swing upon which I sat? It was quiet. The houses were not tall as they became after we migrated. The strings hung, blowing lightly in the wind. I cannot forget the iron gate through which my mother came running. We were moving. I cannot forget the yellow dress she was wearing and the draught flirting with her tresses. Yellow for sadness, yellow for the hot sun in a deserted land. I hadn’t understood what this meant then. The strings were easy enough to pull down, much easier and much faster than the effort father had taken to put them up. We were moving. As each string fell, another relationship crashed. Breaking me free, tearing me down, like my house coming down in a rain of wood and dust and waves of emotions dragging me into a whirlpool of memories I couldn’t escape. We left the place I had been born in, a place that was now ruined and the only thing left of it was the supports and torn strings that had once connected us all. Time has faded everything to dust. And now, as I wither away, held down by the weight of those threads, I can feel the edges of every memory, cutting sharper than the strings, long and lingering like the feel of my first kiss. I couldn’t leave again, I couldn’t tear down these relationship like my mother had. I couldn’t let the city change any more than it already had. They told me to let go. These strings are the only traces of what once was my life. Black, grey and white threads, with the occasional red, the colour of pain. There were too many strings, they had told me. I had let them go, watching from the broken ruins that were once a city, a city that was now a memory. Bittersweet nostalgia overwhelmed everything else. It was as though the world had finally set into motion, twirling, twisting, like a knife pushing into a wound. A knife of my past, of my memories, of a life that was life no more.