When I stopped running I was in a park. Light fell like snow onto the grass. Solid light. This is what I noticed first, the painterly manner of the light. The park was beautiful. The trees were solid patches of darkness. I had somehow run myself out of the world and here I was in a painting by Edward Hopper, an in between place of flat shapes and silence and all the panic drained out and dissipated. It was a perfect summer evening. My eyes were still red and sore from weeping. My chest was still tight. Behind me was the memory of a storm, not a gentle storm, but the kind that rips the roof off a house and flings cars into a flooded street. Sirens, screaming, bodies ripped from the hands of lovers and raced away into the turmoil of a drowning.
I sat on one of the well lit benches and there was a downy light in my lap. I had picked up my satchel before running and there was a book and a pad of cartridge paper and my little box of pastels and a pen. Everything I needed for a while at least. I was a small vessel and I could bob here in the calm waters until some other vessel came along.
I sat until the boiled kettle shrieking in my head had settled. I sipped the silence and felt myself relax into the void. I could stay here, of course, calcifying moment by slow moment. I could spend the rest of my life sitting in glorious silence on this very bench.
I thought about sex. If I were to live here forever on this bench in this park that might have been painted by Hopper, I would need to find somewhere else to have sex.
I had had sex in this park. I glanced around me and found the spot, a place near a tree, on a scratchy bed of leaves. My body remembered the crackle of them, the shill of air on my thighs as the boy flipped up my long skirt and slipped inside me just as quickly. The small half-hearted tussle between him and me. The shrugging into sex despite the fact that it was daylight and there were offices and people readying themselves to spill out from their air-conditioned comfort and into this very park. It was quick and kind of fun although I didn't really like him very much, and I didn't orgasm. I remembered that.
So yes, I could in fact have sex in this park, or in the toilet block or in the shrubbery hugging the fence a little way from my bench. In fact the shubbery could be a place to sleep, I suspected, all snuggled and scrubby and safe. I could sleep in the comfort of crawl spaces, under shrubs, in cupboards, hidden under a bed. This was my preferred sleeping option actually. A water fountain too. There was one just near to me. All the comforts of a house without the rigid trap of walls to ricochet off. No flatmates to watch and judge me. No address to be found at, just a series of comforting spaces with grass and trees and the scent of night jasmine and all this blissful silence.
I looked around me now as if I were inspecting a property that I might purchase. Yes. I thought. I could just stay here.