❦Clay Coloured❦

Bleak and bland, a bothersome blight.



Umeå, 19/3/24

There is nothing this life has to offer that you want more than to be done with the dishes. To be done with tidying and making your bed and doing laundry and folding clothes; staring incuriously at the same familiar fibres, feeling the same old, near-repetitive textures and weights, knowing every little touch will be a memorandum of the last time you folded that top, those trousers. You are intimately acquainted (but no more than that – there is no time-mile-long friendship or hellfire romance to speak off) with every little escapee thread and every irremovable stain. You know what buttons are loose, what t- shirt has badly oxidised green-near-blue brass studs, what pair of slacks have a burgeoning hole where the weave is wearing wafer-thin. You know you ought to enforce it so you will not need to mend it. But you do not, because the unrelenting undone never ends. There is no time to mend. You know what jeans are too big, and every time you get to them you consider giving them away or taking them in. But you tried, once, because you saw a pretty white girl in a pretty white room in a pretty white ring light glow, probably in veneer-white L.A., aged anywhere between seventeen and twenty-seven, on Instagram, tightening her jeans with shoelaces. Turns out that only works if the jeans are only one size too big, and if you are a pretty girl, probably in L.A., aged seventeen to twenty-seven, on Instagram, who drops her clothes in a basket and a few days later they come back clean, and if you have never been a little bored – no, wait, more than just a little bored. Devastatingly disinterested, dulled. It does not work when all you ever do is the dishes and the tidying and the bed and the folding of your laundry, and when you are consistently confronted with the life that you were handed alongside a knife and a whetstone, and then, undeniably deliberately, carved into. Sometimes big chunks come off in one, two goes, sometimes you leave it in a bucket of water for a bit so that you can more easily whittle fine details. Oftentimes those eventually come off, too. There are immovable parameters, but let’s not get into those. We are too busy with the change: the too-big trousers are donated, and you get a new pair that fit like a glove right now and tomorrow and a year from now but not when you are old; you mend a moth-eaten Swiss cheese jumper with yarn a shade slightly too grey and lose it on the train on a surprisingly warm April day. Could it be you keep everything? Big bags in the basement, bulging with memories that when you unpack them, years later, spell out…well…Well. You think to yourself:

When did I wear this? How much did I pay? And this! Did I wear this to a birthday party, or to watch someone get lowered into their grave. Hard to say.

In the half-damp half-dark, holding slippery polyester or heavy wool, you stand in a tomb. Up to your neck in your own remains, which you pick at, collect, recollect, rerecollect, but, predictably, naught remains. You look down at the body bag – no, it is a bin bag, though you could quite feasibly stuff a body in there. Clothed or unclothed does not matter, because what you feel when you crawl inside is this:

I am done.