We are on a train. You and I. Heading in one direction in unison, but you are facing backwards, and I am facing our destination head on. These have become our roles. You, comfortable with the unknown, and me, the one who needs to be in the know.
You are trusting of the universe’s will. You always have been. I must, however, be prepared for what could come. I have never been at ease with a life unplanned. I must account for what probably won’t happen. But, if it did, I will have a plan. These are our differing personalities. It is only a train ride but to someone who knows us it reveals everything about how we exist as a unit.
So, as you sit with cerulean light adorning you from a computer screen, I sit watching you. I often am watching you. You used to tell me how my watchful gaze intimidated you. This was early on in our relationship which was many lifetimes ago. As I take you in, you tell of political news that is of great interest and importance to you. You have always been this way; someone with a distinct understanding of what is right and wrong. You list off the names of MPs and secretaries, people who for a moment of my life exist within our shared space. These names and laws and opinions will sit at the back of my mind.
I will go about my life as normal but now and again these things will come up. When watching the news or reading a broadsheet, I will remember how you were the first one to share their names with me. I will think of you and the white face painted blue. How you explained how you wanted to be part of the change and how you wanted me to be part of it as well. How you believed that I could create waves and be a changemaker. In my mind, you will be remembered as the master and I the pupil. My call to action. My revolution. This is all happening before me, but already I am planning how I will remember it all.
Out the window green is melding into other colours of the landscape as we zip down to the seaside. That is where we are going today. Announcements are made over the intercom. Such interesting sounding English towns and cities. Hove? Hove is a word that perplexes me. Origins of nautical yesteryears. Heave, ho, heave, hove? It brings to mind images of muscular seafarers battling storms and crushing waves, pulling ropes and manoeuvring sails, all the while praying that Neptune will be forgiving.
I envisage a bright city on the coast, but today it will not be bright. Too early for summer brightness, so instead I will see it as grey, shades of grey painted over Regency architecture. But I will go on to misremember it in yellows and bright blues (for that I already know). I will remember heat adorning us. Will you remember that? Will you remember our rented room of whites and crystals, worn floorboards and the ermined blanket? I will remember it all.
You leave me at the beach, as you go to an archive to do research. On the stony beach, I write you into stories that fill my notebook to keep you forever. I create new stories for us to make real one day, weaving future truths for us. In this story, I am a stranger in that place, left alone and so I wait for you. I wait, thinking words and dreaming you in metaphor. Making you a hero. As I fill pages with new words, I long for you to come back to me. I wish for you to come back, so that we can make real memories for just this day. True memories that I won’t misremember or try to rewrite.
As I wait, I recall how earlier I heard the word ‘Hove’ for the first time. Heave, ho, heave, hove. Yes, I remember it now. I am the boat and you my seafarer. You are steering us evermore off into the distance. Over unchartered waters, where we will write a new story together. When you are frail and can’t remember, I will tell you our story. The story of the day I waited for you on a stony beach and wrote you into metaphor.
Read this while listening to ‘Rising Water’ by James Vincent McMorrrow.
Andrés N. Ordorica is a queer Latinx writer and educator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He creates worlds filled with characters who are from neither here nor there (ni de aquí, ni de allá). His fiction has been featured in Confluence Medway, The Acentos Review, Gutter, and 404 ink Magazine. His work has been anthologised in Ceremony (Tapsalteerie Press), We Were Always Here (404 ink), and The Colour of Madness (Stirling Publishing). His non-fiction has been published in The Skinny, Bella Caledonia, and Medium. He serves as the Programme Manager (Community & Events) for The Scottish BAME Writers Network.
WORDS FROM THE AUTHOR
Hove was originally written as a poem six years ago. It has had quite an evolution to its present state. I wrote most of it in one sitting on Brighton Beach as the story alludes to and then tucked it away for a few months. Later that summer, I had the honour of workshopping it in a poetry & performance masterclass with Anthony Anaxagorou and I remember him telling me that the ending read as sad. The comment really stuck with me as I intended it to be a love poem. The more I worked away at it and turned it into a short story, there was a sense that maybe the ending is sad, but that is okay. So much of my writing is based on personal experiences and with this piece I wanted to capture the blurred lines of experiencing life in the present whilst imagining how it will be remembered in the future. Perhaps the temporality of life is as joyous as it is sad. Maybe that is what it is to be human. So, in the end Anthony might have been right! It is a happy, sad, temporal story about my day at the seaside.