Hermit in the Hall of Mirrors: Chapter 2

Chapter 2

“What today needs…” muttered Arielle into the mirror as she fixed the back of her too heavy earring into place and flicked it lightly so that the turquoise glass shimmered enticingly in its copper casing. “What today needs is a kick up the arse, a change of gear… a little hint of danger…a visit to the edge…”

There had been a vibrato bass drum resonating in her root chakra for 24 hours now. She was fully charged and flashing and utterly awake. The energy writhed and rippled in her lower back, hissing seductively with an iron edge of bloodlust. Her body needed to dance – fierce, outrageous, stompy grindy dancing. Or to fuck, or ideally both, one after the other again and again. The Shakti force flowing through her made her furious with lust for life. She needed to consume the flesh of life and let its juices drip down her naked torso and pool between her legs, glistening in the sun.

Gah! She shook her head, scowling and growling at herself in the mirror. Containing the wildness within with no walls to bounce off was an edgy ride.

She strode across the room, jangling and swaying, her skirt slung low across her hips and sweeping, with each step, across the soft, sensitive surface of her foot. She paced, hand on hip, brandishing her mobile phone and fixing it with flashing eyes. Pietro had called in the night, drunk on a Caribbean island and rambling about the moon in that way that he thought hippy girls liked, forgetting in the fog of his alternate reality that she knew that she was the only moon in his sky, and that he had called -as he seldom did- to drink in her light.

Sometimes the sound of his voice stopped her in her tracks. Stopped everything, broke her open, filled her head with white noise, blocked out the sun and roared like the inside of an ocean wave pulsing in her brain. Not today. She needed earth to ground her, and a real warm presence. She needed hands and hair to tangle and tug, and some body who could really touch her, even if they couldn’t taste her soul.

Yusuf. As she slurped hard, pursuing the last drops of orange juice in her glass and squinting at the sun darkened screen, she chewed over that man in her mind.

There were simply two sides to that coin, pleasure and regret. He could inspire in her the depths of self-love and self-loathing. He would worship and woo her and lead her to the core of her sexual power and then leave her – cuddled, soothed. Confused and wanting more. She was learning over time that he just plugged her in to her own potential as a powerhouse of pleasure. He held no treasure for her, only a map, which he read through her open ribcage.

She could take this fire to him and he would pour petrol on it and dance through the flames, whooping with joy. He would swallow it deep and breathe it out in her face laughing wildly. He would slow roast her in the own heat, marinated in her own juices and leave her meltingly tender and falling apart.

Leaving Hagrid snoring in a sunbeam, tethered and watered, she trekked up the hill in the gathering heat to the car and slung her old tan leather rucksack across to the passenger seat, entering by the one door that opened.

As the iron gates clanged shut behind her, Arielle gave herself a stern maternal look in the rear view mirror. Driving around these parts required both hands on the wheel, especially when traveling in such chic retro style as she. As the elderly Passat wound round the olive trees and rode the soft edges of the landscape, she felt herself begin to unwind. The gentle ripple of the roads and the expansive ever-presence of the sea spoke to her soul like a whisper to a horse. “Hey…hey…hey…hello”

She punched on the radio and exhaled through pursed lips. Ha…joy. Lionel Richie. Is it me you’re looking for? She slapped both hands on the steering wheel and then grabbed at a fistful of hair, dropping her elbow to the sill of the opening window briefly, before straightening up and taking both reins for a sharp bend. Perpetually looking for, and only ever finding, herself. Arielle existed in a hall of mirrors and some days it felt more like a cosmic joke than a profound cosmic truth.

As the Tarmac unraveled beneath her and the olive groves unfolded all around, climbing higher toward the open horizon, she softened inside and opened herself to the breeze that came dancing through the windows. She sighed and let her head fall back on the headrest, straightening her arms and her spine. She slowed down, glancing in the rear view at the empty road behind and flicked on the indicator – just because- as she swept into a gravelly layby.

She rested her forehead on the warm plastic leather of the large steering wheel and let out a long sigh. From deep in her belly, salty sobs began to rise. Yusuf’s taverna was just a few bends further on down the road, and she knew that she was not going to reach there. She did not want to go there. The flames had burned out by their own intensity and she just wanted to hunker down and rest in the soft bed of ash that remained.

Sobbing into the steering wheel, Arielle slowly became aware once more of where she was. She remembered that this was life, now, happening right before her and inside of her. Not purgatory, nor heaven, nor hell – but life here on earth. Not a dream, not a story, not a nightmare – but stone cold living, happening now.

“This is now” she muttered to herself, lifting her messy head with its shining eyes and bleary Crimson cheeks. “This is now and I am here. It’s still now. It’s still just me. Where do I go?”

If there had ever been an onlooker, this was a crazy person to behold. Arielle, however, knew that it was only in these moments that she was truly sane. Looking life in the face, in total acceptance of the unrelenting is-ness of it all, and knowing that she was powerless to do anything but surrender and let go into its vast embrace.

All the tangles and the tumult, all the psychodrama and soliloquys, they were butterflies in a storm, fluttering with futility against the force of nature.

Trance-like in her wakefulness, deliberate in her movements and silent in her mind, she turned the key in the ignition, span the car around, and headed back down the mountain to the nook of the valley.

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