REMEMBERING AGATHA is a whimsical story about Agatha (38), who is in a domestic quagmire and a crumbling love story as a mother of two and as wife to an angry wolf man called Robert (40). Haunted by her chastising double and supported by her carefree friend Cynthia to liberate her life somehow, Agatha feels stuck in a bell jar unable to transform her life. One night, she finds a portal through the dishwasher into the forest of her childhood before life became complicated by all the terrible adult business of falling in love. In this world, her child self reminds Agatha of forgotten joy and innocence however, she also holds the secret to the real source of Agatha’s Christmas grief, which she must now face if she is to transform her present and embrace a better future.
by: Emma Magenta
inside us all, is another life waiting to be lived
You can weep for 6 years and not even know you’re doing it. It’s hidden underneath layers of obligation, yes i can do that, sure I’ll be there and what would you like for dinner. My mind casts back to that moment of vulnerability, fearing forever being alone. I succumbed to the thrill of feeling fire in the belly, to the possibility beyond love’s beautiful beginnings. I made a little compromise out of fear, not having the strength to walk my path alone. I succumbed to the need for others. My error in short was this: mistaking everyone for what I’m searching for. Sure, we all want love’s beginnings
but are we brave enough for love’s endings.
There is this hell inside me where the flames are mesmerising
it’s shape fits your outline
that grows and shrinks every time you walk in, walk out.
Tell you what,
I’ll be the empty house and you be the ghost.
I’ll keep my favourite illusions about us in tiny glass jars
like portable mausoleums.
What do you want for dinner?
I’m leaving you.
Shall we watch The 7:30 Report?
You’ll never seen me again.
I’ve made your favourite dessert
You can keep the house.
The funny trajectory of feelings.
They rise up, you take note, they fall away
some don’t fall away
becoming embedded in your bloodstream
and there’s your only enemy right there
and no matter how much you vacuum the cracks in the floor, your childhood just doesn’t change
but maybe, just maybe if i do everything the opposite way i was taught, i might survive.
I thought you were the face of that new way, my very own swashbuckling hero
but after awhile, getting your hopes up becomes an extreme sport in itself.
If only i knew this:
the best way to keep our romance alive is never getting to know each other.
Refunds for emotional disappointment should be a thing
and weddings should happen under water,
the suffocating non-air
can break you in for your future.
You’re working back again?
What’s her name?
You know, there’s a freedom that comes with being forgotten
I can relax and become a mountain again
free of perfecting myself
to outshine all your golden girls
who compete for the crown in your secret world.
I would cry about it,
but i bought 80 pairs of shoes instead,
It will show up on your bank statement.
THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF AGATHA’S FORGOTTEN CHILD SELF
The hardest part about being magical, is pretending to be ordinary
You only had to be around adults for a very short time when you were a kid to know that something happens to your magic when you grow up. Adults are so grumpy all the time and just too busy trying to tidy the world up around them in an effort to sort out the chaos in themselves. It’s hard to watch. They can’t help themselves. If it looked like a fun thing to do, you could always count on a pestering force in the shape of a big human to squeeze the last droplets of joy out of whatever you were doing with a reprimand or a smack for giggling just a little too much at life. It’s like they didn’t see how spectacular the everyday world could be in every moment, too wrapped up in the crazy pursuit of i’m not exactly sure, but i think for whatever was out of reach. In my careful observation as a kid, nothing brought this out in adults more than when they decided they were in love with each other and built a house with a family around that idea. That’s when adults really dampened not only their own joy, but everyone else’s around them. They just didn’t have a clue or notice all the magic that was just pouring out around them, waiting to be felt. Instead they were too busy living for things due next Thursday all the time. No time to be enjoying the magic of today.
The funny thing is, big people mistake magic for things that are seen by a trick of the light, a phantasm, or worse a bunch of rabbits coming out of a hat. As a kid, the real magic was just feeling the breath coming out of my mouth as I ran to find my favourite hiding place in a game of hide and seek. The breath inside my mouth, loud and rhythmic and its tempo determined by the vicinity of the seeker in relation to me, quickening with the possibility of discovery. I would wait, poised in an almost life or death anticipation, the smell of freshly cut grass still on my skin from a previous game of Roly Poly down the hill. That smell would become a memory I would never forget linked to my life force. That was way back when i didn’t know that I too would grow up to be an adult where that racing heart magic becomes harder to locate. Rolling down a hill to feel that sense of being alive as an adult becomes an arranged, deconstructed experience centred around observation of a childhood feeling once felt and a grasping to recreate. It’s not the same. The newness of that first time feeling has been and gone. You won’t know this until you’re an adult. Feeling alive as an adult is a more subtle and harder pursuit of intangibles that can be neither orchestrated, nor presumed into existence, they are rarely felt without the help of props, but when they come they’re profound and it’s hard won magic. As a kid, you think you’re just surrounded by a bunch of adults who have forgotten how to have fun. What you don’t know is that it will one day happen to you. You will grow up and be an adult and sweat for every moment of joy. I saw this and decided then and there that i wanted no part of it. I would remain forever a child and be lifted from the mundane clutches of adulthood with the belief that i was still forever magical.
The terrible trap of falling in love
Growing up happens whether you want it to or not. Your body changes, your arms get too long for your favourite shirt with the pony head on it and your roller skates go to a smaller girl called Jessica at your family garage sale. You replace your Enid Blyton books with The Biography of Anais Nin and suddenly you have feelings for boys who have now grown into young men. It can’t be stopped. It’s like a Tsunami that only gives a brief clue of it’s arrival by the sudden absence of the shore line and before you know it your entire memory of self and identity is swept along in tumultuous change. You are left with remnants of an idea of yourself and all your best plans for your future need to be rebuilt based on this new uncertain reality. Good Luck. In spite of my best efforts however and possibly because of the subtle undercurrents of change, I became an adult. It happened slowly, like most horrific things that crystallise before you’re even conscious of its presence and often riding in on the back of a series of treacherous life events, eroding the heart’s innocence. In short, I fell in love.
Remember the first time you fell in love? Imagine the first person who fell in love. They must have thought they were dying or their body was breaking in two. Thankfully enough poets since then have given us the heads up over centuries that love never ends well. We can all enter that domain with acute awareness that at some point there will be a curled up in foetal position moment in the shower, sobbing over some new schmuk we’ve become entangled with. But that first moment of falling in love with ANOTHER HUMAN BEING, nothing matches it. I just want to bottle that moment and make a Prepper’s dug out to store boxes of it for the post-apocalyptic days when the romantic bubble pops. And that bubble will pop. The tipping point is frequently the moment you say “I love you too” and after that it’s just a gradual descent into slow endings as you decide who will keep the vinyl records you bought in the summer of New York together.
Falling in love is a lot like being on acid and mistaking a burning fire for a blanket to warm yourself. The love bubble pretty much wipes clean any clarity or logic while you set up camp on Fantasy Island. The problem with falling in love is that when it goes horribly wrong and breaks apart, which clearly it is designed to do, you have to find a new person to help fill that Grand Canyon left by ‘The One’. No one prepares you for this. Parents stand by nervously the moment you discover the wonder of having your hand held by a boy, knowing full well that in time he will hold the hands of others too and forget about yours completely. They smile and watch you make plans for your future with him, keeping the secret of outcomes to themselves, only coming through with words of wisdom once your heart has been thrown off a bridge in a foreign city when he’s left you for another.
COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT: THE TWO LEADING CAUSES OF BEING DEEPLY UNHAPPY ARE BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP AND BEING ALONE. GOOD LUCK EVERYONE.
You try to stuff the infinite into a box
Perhaps the most un-magical thing you can do is get married. Nothing drags you into the ordinary world of adulthood quite like bringing all your infinite ideals of love into the domestic sphere. Suddenly spontaneous adventures get replaced with planning what you’re going to cook for dinner at 3pm and romance is hidden behind folding not only your laundry, but suddenly his as well. The subtle shifts of who does what under a single roof define the first of many power struggles between two lovers who commit to a life of seeing in the other what they are unable to accept in themselves. Then you go and make that arrangement unbreakable by procreating and forever linking you to this other person until your last breath. With the birth of a baby, your childhood is forever surrendered and the dwindling of fire between two lovers from fights over domestic chores is instantly turned to ash after the 70th nappy change and sleepless night.
Having children is such a beautiful nightmare. They offer such an accurate mirror of how far you’ve gravitated away from your own sense of spontaneity and wonder at the world. Their very presence clips your ability to access such freedoms, for you are now in a constant state of hyper vigilance just keeping them alive. You acquiesce to the fact that your life, your choices are now inextricably linked to their needs and it will never be about you again for at least 20 years. You die to yourself and yet, what a beautiful death and therein lies the tragedy.