I found my first piece aged three on a holiday by the sea: a small pebble. My tiny reach plucked it from the swirling beach and once chosen, it was a jewel. A shining obsidian ovoid, it was as smooth as my life except for a tiny indentation that I thought of as an eye. Though not an eye that sees, but rather an eye that is seen into. I made a gift of it to my mother and she kept it in the small drawer of her dresser among my foil-wrapped milk-teeth.

Aged nine or ten, (I don’t remember when), I smelled my own forearm hair stuck to bare skin with spit. My own caprice had found another piece.

At seventeen i saw it clear: the sky cleaved clean in two by the mast of a ship, seen askew from a pier, my friends walking as revenants with fear of slipping from it’s algae slicked surface.

The kiss I was gifted at twenty three, an integral part of me: two destitute travellers meet in a run down town in southern Sicily. No money, no food, no shelter, nothing to exchange but their humanity. For a year I could still smell her, and I had found another piece of me.

Do we become our memories? Or do we discover the pieces of ourselves?

Years later, on the salt plains of northern Argentina I stood still as the world revolved. Then I revolved, in a Bagua circle, widdershins. One more piece.

Are people unhappy when they mistakenly add a piece belonging to someone else?

I don’t know how many pieces I have left to find, but then that’s part of the game, the global mission, and when the final piece slots home… I’ve won. And death my prize.


~ by Sixto on August 17, 2008.

8 Responses to “Widdershins”

  1. Hi Mantecanaut,
    Umm, the last part sounds a little sad. Are you OK?

    You said: Do we become our memories? Or do we discover the pieces of ourselves?

    I think both. I think that our memories make up who we are now and though the life experiences, we discover the pieces of ourselves. Just imagine you have no memories. How do you define yourself without memories of the past? Also to me life is about experiences and leaning whether it is about myself or others.


  2. I’m peachy thanks asiam. It’s not sad at the end…I’ve won. 🙂

  3. True, but is life about winning?? 🙂
    If you need someone to talk to, I am here as a friend.

  4. Thank you, that’s very kind.x
    Didn’t realise that I was projecting such melancholy.

  5. Well, it was the combination of this post and the comments you left on my blog. Maybe I was wrong. Or maybe I was projecting my feelings on to you…but in any case don’t we all feel melancholy from time to time?

  6. For me it was burnt forearm hair. The smell still lingers, easily resurrected in my memory banks. Life is all about widdershins, swimming against the current. For me, I find the glowing pieces of revelation, of awe at how reality slots within your psyche, diminishes at a seemingly exponential rate as I grow older. I am not sure whether it is a condition of the world, or a private affair with myself.

  7. zxvasdf, brunt forearm hair? sounds interesting. want to share more on that? 🙂

  8. Odours and smells, scents and aromas…such potent memory markers. Occasionally, while walking in the street I’ll catch a few molecules of some forgotten stink and it’ll just fire up my memory centres. A half-imagined, half-remembered romance, or the cinnamon of freshly made atole in a mexican market.
    Burnt hair is a good one, as is burnt toast. And a freshly extinguished match. The smell of campfire smoke on your clothes. That patch of the pillow that still tells of someone’s presence.

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