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Mid Summer's Eve

Nothing is all of a piece

Mid Summer's Eve

Sarah was in a despondent mood. It was Midsummer’s Eve and a thin rain was falling. She looked out of the window onto her soaked garden. A man was walking down the path and knocked at her door. Well, well. It was an odd time of day for a salesman or a Jehovah’s Witness to call.

Although she knew it was probably foolhardy, she opened the door: “well?” He began to speak, and he had a voice like honey: a sort of Alan Rickman timbre, with an overlay of huskiness and promise. Sarah was too transfixed by the sound to pay much attention to the sense: but later on she recalled that he had talked about getting rid of stuff, insisting that for something new to come, something old had to go. That seemed sensible. 

He walked backward down the path and returned to the road, calling “change, Sarah. Change!” She closed the door and went back to her sitting room. She felt peculiar: her whole body in flux, her mind in turmoil. Something was happening. She looked down and noticed that she was wearing odd socks. But on closer inspection, it was not the socks that were odd. It was her feet. They now looked completely different from each other. The right one was rosy, fleshy and with painted toenails: the left one was bony, prehensile almost. It was the same with the rest of her body. One hand was lustrous and smooth: the other was capable and strong. Her breasts too: one leaked milk, and swayed a little as she moved: the other was firm and perky. One blue eye, one brown. God knows what was happening to her internal organs, to her vagina for example. She only had one of those, so far as she knew: but could it be that she had one kidney that performed its job, and another that was recalcitrant? One chamber of the heart that knew its proper rhythm, and another that baulked at it?

Once she sat and thought about it, Sarah realised that she had been vouchsafed an important lesson by the man in the rain. She could no longer insist that she was all of a piece: she had to accept that she was made up of inconsistencies, of mis-matched parts. It was not wholeness that she should strive for, but acceptance of difference  and the disparate. That was the high road to change. That path was not smooth: its texture was lumpy. To accept the cobblestones that hurt you and impeded your gait: that was what she understood now. Nothing good comes easy.

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