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the great seepage

A woman walks past me on the path as I sit on a table at a riverside pub garden. She hangs her shoulders, slumping slightly as she shuffles directly past my table. She furrows her brow and in the split second I look up at her, she laments “I’m so confused” into her bluetooth headphones. But for a moment I wanted to believe that she wasn’t talking to someone on the other end of the phone. Just then a man sitting at the table adjacent from me says out loud, “fuck, I’m just having a really rough time keeping up with everyone” while he hangs his head over his phone, texting. The waiter bringing him his pint pulls out the card machine and says “I’m actually quite terrified that I’m wasting my time, just waiting for something big to happen.” Another walker weeps from joy and ecstasy, “I just never knew I could feel this much love” she exclaims through her sobs while holding her phone to her ear.

Out of these devices spills an excess, frothing from a seed onto the pavement and taking on new lathering life. Like the elephant toothpaste experiment, an effervescing mass erupts out of its containment. There comes a point where everything we have tried to contain refuses to stay contained any longer. Or perhaps it was the thing that was doing the containing that goes on strike. Either way, everything leaks out of the cracks and there was a gruesome overflow of cartoonish foam; it would go down in history books as the great seepage.

I wade home through the car-sized hills of candy coloured foam that have taken over our pavements. Sometimes I meet another pedestrian in the onslaught as we both try to slash our ways down the path. We exchange a nervous laughter that says of “I have a pretty good idea of what’s going here” as we contend with the same obtrusive spillage that has ravished our usually sterile streets and our usually sterile interactions. For here there is only contamination, only spillage. And my god it’s gorgeous, we think to ourselves out loud.

In this abyssal period of time, the inside would find new intimacy with the outside. Which seems to be making everyone a bit on ‘edge’, but what’s wrong with that? The edge is an utterly delightful realm, we all contest in unison. The edge is a border, a boundary, a membrane. The edge defines the margins from the mainstream. The edge is the most fragile state of being a person can inhabit. Right. On. The. Edge. If you are ‘on’ ‘edge’ you are neither here nor there. A turbulent state, sure, a state of perpetual weirdness that not everyone is adapted to live in. There exists a spookiness on the edge because it resists categorisation and we LOVE categories. At least we love inhabiting Caterogies, capital c. The Center, capital c, of the categories is called the Category, capital c, do you see? mmm that delightful open vast realm of the frolicking field. What is slightly less sexy, however, is the fence. Straddling, one leg in and one leg out. You think, erm how did I get here. We have created languages that easily locates the field, but we must become peoples of the edge. Edgelings perhaps.

And eventually we evolved. Strangely of course, it was the only option available to us at that point. Evolved to live amongst this simmering mass, learnt to inhabit the weirdness. Learnt to make homes inside the spillage and we cried down the phone but also onto the street and the street caught us and build new structures from the fragments that we emitted. And we lamented our tortured yearnings into card readers and bluetooth speakers and social medias but they were unfaithful confidents, and every word uttered, every secret told, every heart worn on every sleeve, just spilled out of a slick lubed opening, so effortlessly it was quite revolting actually but had a morbid kind of beauty to it. Thus was the way of the Edgelings. An awkward people indeed but awkwardness was an emotion which lived on the edge of comfort and discomfort until it all together wrecked this categorisation. All together.

The Edgelings eventually destroyed the very ontology from which they were born. The edge dissolved slowly because it became the only place and rendered the states that the edge formerly attempted to separate rather negligible. Every edge that ever existed, gone. Think about that for a second. It is hard to even fathom the swampy abyss that was left behind. Terrifying, no? Cue an existential crisis on an existential level, big eek. A humanitarian coming of age at a worldwide scale. Puberty but 7 billion times over. It was truly carnage. Because what do you do when the conditions that created you no longer exist? Or is this absence a condition of its own, a nervous condition albeit, but a way of being who’s only guiding compass is the need to adapt. The need to change. Sound awful doesn’t it? Coming of age relies on there being a point of coming, arriving somewhere. Not suspended in that awful nothingness of orienting and reorienting. But what if the destination was really the same place as departure. And the moment you arrive you begin again, and then again and then again. Centuries over until the end of the world is finally upon us and we are all staring together into the same a festering black hole which has 36 perfect creases around its parsed opening, and its breathing fire ready to swallow us into fleshy lips, but for a moment a great relief sweeps over you because you think well we can finally be done with this shitshow, which was getting a bit of hand. Don’t you think? No, actually I thought it was rather lovely, says your neighbour. And you shrug and say, yeah fair enough. Because both were equally true, and it was all quite fitting that your last words should be ones that were so non-partisan. Shouldn’t you go out with some final declaration or manifestation, one last truth. Did you attain nothing of certainty in this life? No, impartiality was the way of the Edgling. It didn’t mean that you did not care but simply respected that truth was turbulent and could co-exist. True enough was always enough. Truth and non-truth did not share a border anymore, remember? And so these were your last words and that was, indeed, fair enough.

And back we are at the riverside pub garden. I’m so confused the lamenting women speaks down the phone as she passes the fence that you are sat on the other side of and you pick up your phone and speak down the line to her and say, thats fair enough babe me too, and then the crying guy next to you also picks up his phone and says honestly same hun and its a god damn shit show out there and we all laugh at the meaninglessness of it all and the waitress puts down the card reader and says this ones on the house mate and then we laugh even more because it was all getting a bit silly which somehow gives it all more meaning which is confusing to us all and then finally we all stop laughing. The air is suddenly become a bit serious and we’re are feeling awkward about it but making no attempt to undo the awkwardness. Finally you suggest we all sing a song together and the group agrees, seems a good enough resolution. What song should we sing? And the blubbering man said he wouldn’t mind Leona Lewis’s Bleeding Love and everyone agrees.

The scene slowly fades out with 4 strangers singing leona lewis down the telephone to each other.

When they are done they put down the phone and continue with their day.

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