Posts The Archipelago

The Archipelago

by treenaorchard

Feet dangle from ankles and toes dust the floor, all except the pinky ones. Is that what the little toes are called? I?m loose and more than a little adrift in the murky fog of big things completed. The first draft of my first memoir and an appearance on a national television show. Days feel big and empty as I totter bra-less around my house cleaning and thinking of what to do next.  

New people populate my social media and I flip through them like a rolodex. Who are they and what do they like about me? Soon I?ll be like some of them ? WRITER-  with a cover release and pub release date of my own, another cheque in the red mailbox. In the soft afternoon of my failed nap, I scroll through podcast options until I find a woman from the Orkney Islands.  

On the map, these scattered chunks of old land look like they?ve been randomly heaved into the North Atlantic. That?s how it feels when the drink takes hold. We fling ourselves away from the mainland and retreat to islands so blue. Her clear voice pulls me in like a wet rope and I hold on. We?re both women finding new ways to envision how we want to live.

Two – word titles grace the covers of both her memoirs: The Outrun, The Instant. Compressing it all to a ?the? and one other thing is impressive. I google her and begin a forensic search of Amy?s angular face for evidence of stumbling nights or the temporary euphoria being more than drunk can offer. I catch it in her glance, which is far away and knowing. What does she see?

The interviewer asks where she finds her edge now and before the author begins, there is a pause. I hang in the air. That pause is a hug for the girl who made do on that tiny white yin dot engulfed in the sleek dark yang. But she no longer lives life in half and has crossed over into the lush jungle of the city and the silhouette of the moon, whose body now provides an edge.

I think that pause is also an admission of something many of us don?t talk about. How this new skin can sometimes be boring, so too is the question about how we get our kicks. It privileges drinking and the celebrity of wantonness, which we know from silvery top to endless bottom. Although a drag every now and then, life without the bottle offers something no alphabet can explain.

It allows us to reach the shore each day, and to never have to leave it.

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Dr. Treena Orchard

London, Ontario

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