S knows she is yellow like flowers. Like the explosive petals of a dandelion. S is yellow like a bright kitchen netted from memory, slippery fish of a long forgotten thought is S.
S like the words serendipity and savannah and psoriasis for she is not to know that the disease is not spelled the way it sounds. She knows some words from magazines left open. Letters are things to be crawled up inside. Letters have sounds and words have thicker sounds and all sounds are a bright flash like a musket fire. S knows she tastes like the grenade sizzle of icing sugar on the tip of a pastry. Everything loud and sharp and, even curled down like the S that she is, she is assaulted by sunlight which feels like a stained glass window sandpapering on her skin.
Lying here open-mouthed she can taste the ocean, only faintly because there are bodies in the way. All the other people in the house are now familiar to her. Gus is an X, a xylophone, a percussive thump of complex chocolate, a chord but never a single note. David (E) is the water dripping down the outside of a frosted glass on a hot day. Sarah is opaque like toffee. She has no letter she is only Sarah. She shatters if you bite her and the sound of her essence expelling from the tooth mark is sliced aubergine, weeping with salt tears. Paul is a double M like sun on a wooden deck. Paul can be dozed upon, danced upon, but pull him to pieces and you could build him into a fence or a dog kennel.
She is busy opening her mouth, sucking in the air and filtering it for the foam on the top of a breaking wave. She is trying to count the shells washed up on the nearby beach, sorting the ones that still have snails inside them, dead snails red and hard on the back of your palate like raw egg, live snails soft as butter. The beach is close enough for her to smell. The shells are a potent part of the strandal perfume. She is an olfactory adventurer and then the door is open and he steps inside.
She hears the word Vivienne which is what they call her. Vivienne and it is like nails down a chalkboard which she remembers from school. Yes she still remembers school. “David” and at first she imagines they are talking about E. She didn’t expect there would be two people with the same name in her house, but then there were three Jackies in her class at school (Jay, Jacky, Jacqueline) and two John’s (Big John, Little John). Two Davids then and this one is liqueur. She can tell by his voice and the scent of him which is felt. She wants to press her cheek to the sound of his voice. She moves from under one chair to the next. He is in the hallway. He is walking towards the kitchen. She can smell the crotchal must as he walks. Sunshine on sand, seawater soaked into a silk scarf. She is under the table before they reach it. The newness of his presence is like a container of gorgonzola opened and beginning to take up every cubic centimetre of the room. He is all she can think of. There is no X laughing and slapping his hands together. There is no television mumble. The arrangement of the plates (smaller ones on the bottom of the stack, larger ones on top) no longer bothers her. She doesn’t care that the blue cup is sitting beside the green cup in a cacophony of cupboardness. She cares only about the information she can glean from his unique presence in the room. The assault of her senses with this new David and already she has given him an R for rose and rebelliousness and rambling and rapture. R. The essential letter in her alphabet. He has dropped into her life and suddenly the words can be completed. The alphabet is secure. R David. Her David. She was trembling. Time is not linear. Time exists all at once and now they have met he is always here as her parents are here, as her teachers, the other kids in school, all the letters she had ever come across, the ocean, all here now and always. Still, he roused her from the thick soup of everything at once. He, R David, was singular and linear. He, or rather, her relationship to him was something, and suddenly there was a sense to the hands on a clock. One minute followed another. R David would stand up and he would leave. He must stay. R David must stay must stay must stay. And when he moved his leg she reached out to him. She touched him and she was the cold sizzle from a sprinkler. She was life-giving. She was S and all the other letters vibrated against her in their joy of completion.