by Suzanne Conboy-Hill
Sydney leaned back on the door of his converted garage and shook his head. The thudding and hammering from within was beginning to irritate him but it was in a good cause because it would be short-lived, and it would put an end to the screeching and whining noises he had tolerated in this house for as long as he could remember. He had thought about it carefully: some solutions were fast and furious; like race horses or dogs, they were out of the starting gate and galloping away full pelt to the finish line with no time to consider anything or draw pleasure from the process. These he thought too hasty and liable to unexpected error as a result. He dismissed them. Others meandered along slowly like ancient rivers in flood plains with oxbow lakes and soggy marshes at their edges. This was attractive in the sense that there was time for adjustments to be made – little course changes along the way. But there was always the risk of getting washed into a minor tributary and running aground before the job was done, and this would not do.
Some though, were like snakes; ribs undulating in silence while large shapes made their way along the body with nothing but a flickering tongue to acknowledge their transition. This was a pleasing metaphor to Sydney because he rather liked snakes; at first for entirely aesthetic reasons, but latterly due to both the conceptual and practical utility of them. When a snake took its prey, it did so in a way Sydney thought of as almost religious, Buddhist perhaps, often swallowing it feet first, allowing it to witness its own progress from individual entity to becoming an integral part of another. Should the victim be capable of such, there was plenty of time for reflection on past sins – before the juices got to work on it. Realisation and regret, Sydney believed – albeit without the actual capacity to make amends – was important. It was also important that no mess be left behind.
Sydney’s mother, with her shrill attention to cleanliness and hygiene and whether or not even the fifty-three year old Sydney had changed his vest today, would appreciate that eventually, once she was done banging on the reinforced glass of the terrarium. He waved to her and smiled.
© suzanne conboy-hill 2016
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