By Sofie De Smyter
If you asked me to describe myself in 150 words, I’d give you 300, at least. Not because I am the kind of person who keeps on giving, but the kind of person who doesn’t know when to stop. That’s a problem, I’ll admit. I’m also the kind of person who calls a problem a problem instead of a challenge, which, I’m told, would be the more mindful way of addressing problems, especially mine, but the mindful way, apparently, is also about pretending you’ve never eaten raisins before. You’ve heard about the raisins, right? Because that’s what they made me do, the mindful people in my life, when all else failed. Got it out of some book, apparently. My mother, always the first to break. Eat a raisin, she said, it will teach you to focus on the here and now. Fill your entire mouth with a single raisin, and keep it there. Do nothing. Just taste, and feel. The future will happen the moment you stop thinking about it.
You. Here. The raisin. Now.
Like a heartbeat, she smiled.
A fucking raisin.
Worse than fruit gone off, I tell you, which is at least still full of life. A raisin’s somebody’s way of telling you to embrace it instead of face it, when your body is folding back into itself, again, over the not-quite-a-grape thing, again, and your head becomes the place where flies go to die.
And by flies I mean thoughts. I’m thinking of flies because there’s one in here, in this room. Lured in by the buzz of the radiator, its heat, beating itself up against the plaster, splattered now with shadows of flowers, the ghosts of the plastic Ikea pendant bought for the baby – the one forever in the making.
I know what’ll happen. I do. The fly won’t stop storming the ceiling, looking for a route, but there’s no way on, or out. It’ll end up dead on the carpet, or somewhere I can’t see, and as soon as the heat drops into darkness, the fly will look like a fool, and after a number of days, like a raisin.
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Sofie won a number of accolades for the fiction she wrote in Dutch back in the days she could still do somersaults. Posts in tune with life’s rhythms on www.soofs.co.uk. She has a story coming out in #2 of The Belfast Literary Review.