Thursday, 16 August 2012

108: Build Me a Pyramid

Do you love me, she said. So I asked what would she have me do to prove it to her, what would it take?

Bring me a flower,” she said. “I will bring one as beautiful as you,” I said. So I trekked through the rainforest of Sumatra to find a rafflesia flower. I waited for months for it to flower, then watched as the ox-blood petals unfurled as large as a bar table. I tried to collect the flower, to bring it home to her but the smell was foul, flies circling around it and me, and into my face. I photographed it and painted its portrait and drew it in chalks and sculpted it in mud I found on the mountainside. I brought them home to her but none showed how beautiful she is to me, nor were any as real as she.

Sing for me,” she said. “I will sing you the sweetest lullaby,” I said. Untrained, my voice was weak and reedy, incapable of singing a song as lovely as she deserved. So I listened to the birds to learn their secrets. I learned to warble my throat and chirp at the stars. I could cheep and twitter, running the scales in one sliding, breathy note. But I couldn't sing the words in my heart if I sang like a bird. And I could barely manage a tune to accompany my pretty words. Neither one alone felt adequate and I could never perform both at once.

Make us a home,” she said. “I will make you a home to last for eternity,” I said. I hewed stone chunks and dragged them to a clearing which overlooked a view of the sunset. I employed helpers to heft them upwards, narrow channels and corridors inside to navigate to the centre. I hollowed out the centre as a living chamber at the heart of the structure. We could crawl inside and sleep safe and dry, then crawl out to see our new days. The pinnacle reached above the treetops and tottered in the wind. “I built you a pyramid,” I said.

She told me, “I don't want your rafflesia art or your peeping tunes or your stone hut near the forest. Bring me a daisy you pick from the roadside on a busy day, so I know I am always on your mind. Sing me a silly earworm song, one you can't remember all the words to. One that will make me dance and forget everyone around me but you. Build me a pyramid, but one in your heart. A pyramid where we are both safe from the storms of the world and can feel all the joys around us too. That's how I know you love me.”

We join hands and imagine our way into our double heart-pyramid and live there, together, for eternity.

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