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Trying something a bit different today. A bit more cryptic perhaps.

I bought these beads in Cuba, a place built on the memory of warm nights filled with cigars and rum. A happier time, a time far removed from the story that now spills from my lips.

I hold the beads like a rosary, twisting them between my fingers, giving my hands something to do. I’m not religious but, right now, these beads are my saviour.

The story is one I haven’t spoken of in many years. Yet I feel myself reacting as if I were there again. My body shrinks away, my skin crawls. “The body never forgets,” she says. And she’s right. My body feels just as it did then, phantom grazings present themselves in hyper-detail. More real than now, in some ways.

Time travel is possible, you know, yet it rarely takes us anywhere we want to go. With only a few words, I’m 17 again. But I’m finding that it helps to talk it out. With each repetition, the moment is less powerful. My agitation calms. My fingers still, twined amongst the beads.

“You did well,” she says. Did I? It feels bittersweet.