There were holes. All over the bottom end of it - glaring holes, neatly shaped holes, holes that had stretched themselves out in no particular pattern. They varied in age and occurrence. Some found themselves there through no particular reason but age, another was a rusty nail, another, a clumsy case of passing by the bedroom door and found herself hooked to it followed by the small scratching sound of something tearing through cloth. These holes very well, could have been, a sort of primitive record of minor and some major events over the course of twelve years. That hole for instance that had shown up after a dog - as dogs usually do when they see a moving bicycle - had chased her for three kilometers. Her tired legs registering the dog’s eventual withdrawal, had missed the pedal. This slight misbalance had sent both herself and the bicycle crashing to the road. The t-shirt registered the event.

That this t-shirt had survived twelve years, was a compliment to her loyalty, and her discipline. It meant that in twelve years, she hadn’t gained or lost weight. and if either had occurred, it had been negligible. Her family called it the ‘tattoo’. As such, there were photographs of it, featured at events of all nature. It fitted the way it always had - neatly - dropping right above her hip the way she wore her clothes. The red colour was worn. It looked like something sandpaper had had a go at.

For all its age, it still smelled of lilacs, whatever that smelled like. The laundry detergent advertisement said ‘lilac scent’. There were no lilacs in her part of the world so she proceeded on the confidence that the manufacturers knew what they were talking about.

Colours always had a smell though. She had always felt this.
All her colours smelled of lilac now, though she thought the smell varied slightly, depending on the t-shirt. It was like perfume on people she reasoned.

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sneak by sneak, penetrate each others fabrics.
No, sneaky skins seeps in the pores of skins----enveloping

this t-shirts tension surface, layers after layers storing
caves carefully carved out by the drips of our exhaling

all this exhaling, like in the titanic movie, foggy windows of the car
drips carefully exhaling, carefully exhaling drips carved out by our breath

When water drops down in a cave, it carefully carves out the surfaces
of the stone. Slowly crying its way to reach other forms of rock. rock caressed by tears/tears.

She saw this white dog with brown tear-paths under its eyes and asked its human why it was like this and the human seemed slightly offended by the question but said it was from crying a lot. In a later googling she found out this condition of excessive crying is called Epiphora there is pigment found in tears, that accumulates under the eyes. Some of the causes for this condition is second hand smoke, dust or if its too stressed. Some breeds are more likely to cry too much, as a result of heredity and genetics. dogs with cute bulging eyes or dogs that cannot fully close their eyes for example.

When walking in the woods after each other, humans and other creatures alike, a path is created, and after some time, we walk in each others traces, multiplying our footsteps.

Things falling apart
things falling
falling things
falling things apart

Meteorite craters on the moon, on earth, falling through space to reach us, they are touching us, leaving traces. Stains. Once she began seeing the stains on her clothes as meteorite impacts, she couldn’t wash her clothes anymore, even though they smelled of lilac or purple. Memories of carrot soup, painting the ceiling, rolling in grass. Scars are the same too, a crater of a meteorite. She is with you, and the memories walk with her too.

She blew through me like bullet holes, carved in memories. How does your gaze touch her, change her behavior? we change our molecules depending on who’s looking, we don’t act different. we ARE different, inter-being

There are some words that just cling to her, they are accidentally becoming important ones, becoming the basis of the belief surrounding her own identity. They don’t need to be said by someone close to her, someone that she cares for, rather they are often said by people that she has no relation to, that she met only once or twice, usually its men or fancy institutions telling her who she is, how she is. They like to tell her what they know about her, they tell her the truth about her, truth that she didn’t even know about herself before. It is better than horoscopes, you should definitely try it, they tell her once; “you are cute”- and she clings to it. They tell her; “you are stupid”- and she latches on to that too. She is grateful like that, like a tick latching on to everything, gets hungry for more knowledge, but only from those with voices, those in power. A sentence can stay for years, decades, come back whenever she sees herself self in the mirror, whenever someone else sees her too.

(the carved repetition of identity)

(the carved repetition of identity)

(the carved repetition of identity)

(the carved repetition of identity)

(the carved repetition of identity)

(the carved repetition of identity)

(the carved repetition of identity)

(the carved repetition of identity)

(the carved repetition of identity)
Everytime she is washing the tattoo it gets more fragile to the holes.

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The player piano, which had sat in her grandmother’s foyer for decades, accepted perforated strips of stiff paper and converted them to song. Something, that afternoon, inspired the comparison between those sheets of cardboard and her shirt, whose holes so resembled the programmatic voids.

So she went to the attic and borrowed an old woolen fisherman’s jersey which made her sweat, and pulled the shirt off, and fed it into the machine. The tune it played was lovely, and smelled of lilacs, but she could tell it was unfinished. The melody, like an aborted rainbow, was missing some of its colors. In fact, the whole song seemed red.

It flowed bloody through the summer air, and taking back her shirt, idly, she wondered if it had always been so scarlet.

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Judge her not by her clothes. She is much more meticulous than a hole ridden t-shirt tells. The piece was a marker of comfort, not means. It was one of those sentences between which she vacillated, the ‘supposed to be’ versus, ‘this is me’ that made the relationship with this t-shirt problematic.

She looked at it hanging - (she always hung her t-shirts after washing. They remained neat that way. She hated creases) - this collage of memories in numerous shaped holes, a sum of her varied experiences caught on one canvas. She was always on the verge of dumping it but the comfort of familiarity prevented its disposal. The t-shirt was the shape of her. This was one identity.

She had looked for another like it but twelve years makes a difference in availability. Things change. Visions change. The country had ceased its imports of this product. It had been made in the UK. Now, the imports came from Vietnam and India. By all appearances they looked similar but she had bought a white Vietnam made t-shirt and it had shrunk. She didn’t try again.
She clung to the Made in UK version.

“What is the first law of holes?” Dr. Price asked.

Cath was stumped. She looked blankly at him. She bit down on the head of the pen, flipping through the memories. The class was silent. Some of the students flipped through their notebooks. Some furrowed eyebrows belonging to eyes looking up at the ceiling contemplated mathematical equations that didn’t seem quite familiar.

Dr. Price looked at this body of confusion, his eyebrows raised as if expecting a reply.

“Sir,” ventured Gregory. He cleared his throat.
“Sir, I’m not sure, but I don’t think we covered that topic.”
Silence. The class waited.

“But of course you did!” Dr. Price boomed.

Gregory, who was usually sure of himself, shifted in his seat and looked down at the desk, clicking his Parker jotter.

“What’s that noise?”
The clicking stopped as abruptly as the question.
Someone coughed.
"Have you lot never heard “if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging?”

The class stared back.
“What did he smoke this morning?” Brenda said to Cath under her breath, her mouth barely moving.

This was probably the point at which, if it were a casual conversation, one might have ventured a smile or a half-laugh. The class was a poker face.

“It’s an adage,” Dr. Price continued impatiently.

Cath held back a giggle. She knew better than to let it free.

“Well,” Dr. Price said, making his way to the whiteboard, spinning around just as Gregory turned to grin at Brenda and Cath, “I am happy to note that none of you bothered to start digging. First bit of smartitude that this class has displayed. Smartitude - is this an example of topology?” Dr. Price raised his eyes toward the class.

The sky suddenly became overcast and the lighting in the room dropped.

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“Holes!” Brenda exclaimed as their group met in the hallway.
Kevin, the drummer, pulled his sticks from the back pocket of his jeans and waved a circle into the air.
The group laughed.
“Guys! Shall we call the band The Holes? It would make a great name. Dr. Price’s the patron. Let’s ask him.”
He received a collective look of ‘not funny’.
“Smartitude. Yeah yeah! How about that?”
He looked proud of himself.
The look repeated itself.
“I vote we drop this class otherwise some smart ass should come up with a very good strategy to pass this course. I have no idea why I let you guys talk me into this,” Brenda said, struggling to find a space in her very crowded crossbody bag to fit her notebook. She eventually shoved it down leaving whatever was jutting out to fend for itself.

Gregory, the bass guitarist threw his arms over Brenda’s shoulders.
'There there. It isn’t so bad is it? I mean, the guy’s smart. I like him."

Dr. Price wasn’t the most likeable of professors on the campus. He had a reputation for eccentric teaching and marking. Very few students had figured out their way around his course. The university had given him tenure even though his pass rate was low. They obviously saw something that was worth keeping. Maybe it was the hope that one day there would be one student, that one bright spark that would gain from Dr. Price whatever it was the university had initially seen. At the moment the horizon for whatever that was, was invisible.

“I’ll see you guys tomorrow,” Cath said, beginning to make her way towards the exit.
“Hey! Where are you going? We have a rehearsal today. Like, in one hour! Don’t you remember?” Brenda asked.
“Not feeling it guys,” she replied.

In reality, she was more interested in the holes theory that a rehearsal for some lawn gig. They would be doing covers anyway.

“But you’re the lead vocals on most of the songs Cath,” Brenda looked taken aback.
“Brad can do my part,” she replied.
“Brad’s not female.”
“Oh! I can do that. I can!” he replied to Brenda’s glare.
He looked excited at the prospect.

Feet clamoured, another set of voices voicing things you couldn’t say.
Cath relaxed into her clothes, her feet hanging over the arms of the chair. The law of holes. She laughed out loud now. There was no Dr. Price in the attic. There were no echoes in the attic either. The laugh dropped. On the flat floor, it dissolved there.

Before this Cath had another name. Before this Cath was someone else, and there had been a classroom once. And she was confident once. Standing in front of everything and everyone, only her voice hanging between everyone’s consciousness, and with that she had held a piece of the universe and swallowed it whole. She had owned the attention of such and such people. And she was alive for the sake of them.

She remembered what she said.

A hole.
The successful story.
No, the successful movie starring.
What is a hole? Is it a thing?
Is there something or nothing?
Is a hole a fundamental feature of cheese?
Is the hole in the cheese just a lack of cheese?
Then does a hole has to be a lack of something?
Are holes material or immaterial?
If it’s material, what about holes filled with water and air?
What material is it?
If it’s immaterial, then how do we explained that
a hole in something is always filled with some other substance?

They applauded her once. On the floor now, there was no holes.

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In the grit-dust covered attic space gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. Cath comes here when she wants a distraction from herself. Up here at the top of the empty house, no one knows she’s hiding, and no one is looking. In this tiny space the gravity is so strong that she can forget time, and almost herself, for some chunk of the day. She sits for hours up here and asks herself the questions she thinks she needs, she wonders if her voice is dying and how long it will take.

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The questions rallied back and forth. Her voice was troubling. It was going but she didn’t know where and how. The how was always the tricky part. She liked to begin with blank slates. Blank slates, an assumption that she knew nothing, was not going to help this time. She had to get to the root of it. She stared out the attic window. From there she had a view of the farm across the road. There were ponies there. She liked looking at them canter along, rhythmic in the way they moved.
Left right left right left right.
Front legs, back legs.
She got lost in the staring.

The lecture had sparked an array of thoughts - thoughts about music, thoughts about herself, thoughts about her place in the world. The more she had read about holes, the more confusing it got, but she was hooked. It all came down to one thing: nobody could come to an agreement.
“Yay!” she had let out a little screel in all the confusion.
It was always a sigh, the relief that nothing was a single colour.

Chaos, this empty hole. There were all those origin stories.
For a science geek, philosophy made sense.

Gregory had kicked the tuner away during one rehearsal exclaiming
“Begone you vile thing! A Pope made you!”
The memory returned now.

Cath had been confused then. It had happened all too randomly.
“Huh? I don’t know about it. What’s that about?”
“440 Cath. It never was 440 hz Tune the instruments on 438 and you’ll have the audience eating out of your hands.”

She was intrigued then too. Her vocal voice had been assessed as A. Which meant she was vibrating in accordance with the universe. That thought came to her from time to time.
The holes were just an addition to all the mathematical and scientific abominations that made the world, the world.

The curtains were heavy with decades of dust around her, so clouded they no longer served their function as black outs but created a boundary of shadows and weight around the central stage space that the audience understood to be the edge.

She kept swallowing. With each swallow wondering if the muscles were functioning as they should. Questioning the shape of her soft palate against the back of her tongue. Her wisdom teeth pushing up into her gums of her clenched jaw. She swallowed to create emptiness, space through which to speak clearly. She imagined opening her mouth. Walking through the minutiae of what was about to happen in order to reassure herself she was in control and knew the steps she had to take. She imagined opening her mouth and nothing coming out. Just silence and saliva.

(whirring of the VHS tape as images flash by)
Sound travelled far. Secrets however fell right into her ear like the drops of oil her mother put in when pool water got lodged inside her ear canal. The water bubbled, waves inside. Sound muted, a hold down, just as the oil hit her ear. The silence lasted seconds. She tilted her head to the side to let it all fall out. It was only when she breathed that she realized that each time, she held her breath in anticipation of the deafening silence. Secrets didn’t rise to the surface like the water. They retreated deeper inside the canal and made their way down to her chest.

The silence was scar tissue. It had begun to hurt now.

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The gig was late to start. Like most parties, there was always a delay.
“It’s already half an hour past our time,” Brenda grumbled.
She was a stickler for time. She was a stickler for details, overall. And though she was part-time musician like the others, she insisted that things must begin at the time allotted to it. She had left a birthday gig a month ago when, after one hour had passed, they had still not taken the stage and there had been no acknowledgment of their presence by the hosts. No one has appeared to apologize for the delay.
“I don’t do this for the money guys. I’m sorry if you have to depend on these gigs. But I think, whether or not we depend on this money, respect is respect. They just can’t have us sitting around like fools. I have an assignment due day after next. I could have been editing my essay al this time.”
“Chill Brenda. It’s just an hour,” Kevin said, without thinking.
If he had, he would have known that it was the wrong thing to say.
Brenda’s tone had become cold.
“What the fuck!” she almost screamed at him.
Cath had never seen her go from calm-ish to raving mad in such a short space of time.
“Chill? You expect me to chill when no one has even appeared to say that they are running behind time? What the fuck are we? The help?”
Kevin had shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows, sending Brenda into what might have been a hysterical fit had she still not been cognizant of the public around her.
Cath took her aside.
“I’m leaving,” she declared. She didn’t give Cath an opportunity to say anything.
She walked off, leaving behind her bag.
“Well,” Cath said, her hands on her hips.
“I guess that’s a wrap guys,” she said, picking up her own belongings and Brenda’s.
She couldn’t disagree.
“If you guys want to say, by all means. She’s right,” she said, as she walked off.
The DJ was still in full swing and people were milling around chatting and greeting each other.
No phone calls followed.

“Those fuckers! I can’t believe they did it without us,” Brenda raged the next day as she and Cath walked to class.
Cath shrugged her shoulders.
“You expected them to leave too?” she asked, munching on her egg sandwich.
“Hey! Not to cut across your rant, but this is the first time in years that I’m having an egg sandwich. After my flour detox, this tastes really damn good!” she said, looking at the sandwich before taking another bite into it.
Brenda growled.
“Just hope that you don’t slide all the way back down. One mouthful of flour and that’s it. The cycle starts again.”
She twisted her mouth up at Cath. She would never deviate from the plan.
Cath scowled at her.
“Carry on with your story,” Cath said, waving her on.
“I’m done. I just think those three are idiots. Men! No principles.”
“Well, they never claimed to have any. I mean, they never wanted to leave anyway. It’s the guys. They can live and work in squalor if they needed to,” Cath replied.
Brenda stalked off.
“Hey! Wait!”
“Why are you always defending them?” she demanded as Cath caught up.
Cath looked surpirsed.
“Am I?”
“Yes, you are! You always do!” Brenda replied, properly ticked off.
“Never thought about it that way. I’m just stating a fact. Look at them,” she said, her hand pointing towards the university entrance.
Kevin, Gregory and Brad had just made their appearance from around the corner and were making their way toward the gates.

These three were a part of the incoherence.

They were talking loudly, gesticulating and laughing, crossbody bags across each of their forms. Untidy hair, as if they had all just rolled out of bed though Brad looked like he had at least tried to put some effort into neatening his t-shirt and hair. Gregory and Kevin however seemed carefree and easy in their worn t-shirts and blue jeans.

They merged with the chaos within and without, voices within the noise so loud that they were actually inaudible.

Almost like a deafening silence.

It also carries EVERYTHING.

In which to carry our histories.

Water reclaims. It always does. It returns to flood the lands that we in our arrogance populated, driving it back, pushing it off its own bed. But our beds are not made. They are allowed. Allowed until such time that currents decide that it is time to circle back.
Dust to dust. Water to water. So it goes.