Follower of Demeter

Words by and illustration by Minerva Freire

I will follow you
through the
vast green fields
where the grass sways in the summer wind and
everything grows

there is so much life in you
I can’t imagine you ever becoming old
your intelligence is sharp
your will intense

sometimes there is fire in your eyes
like you want to consume everything
like you’ve burned everything you’ve ever touched

I feel like we’ve been here before
can see you shedding these circumstances like old skin
to move quicker, lighter, further, faster

oh, look what you do to me!
such a beautiful day, and I ponder old age and endings

but I am here.
I am now.
standing in a field
springy grass under my bare feet

the breeze
every hair
on my body

and you pick a flower
and pick it apart
I wonder what it tells you
before you throw it away
lost in a faraway thought

it’s getting darker
electric light will do at this hour

a bundle of worn out jeans
soleless shoes
wet socks with holes
soaking the carpet

to hell with this, come with me

and I lead her up the stairs
where she will be the sun
for walls that
before had only paltry moonshine
of mere recollections
of her face
her mischiefs
insights and

but her hand becomes small
and furry!
she’s shifted into a cat!

black cat, running straight
for the washing machine’s
ajar door

oh come on,
I meow after her
and open the door fully
but the cat is nowhere to be seen

shuffling dirty tea towels around
there’s a little ..hole? in the back of it

coming closer, I see a little galaxy in there
stars and colours so incredible that I lean in closer
and closer
Next thing I know is a warm wooden floor
Demi is crawling on it, purring and growling.
“What are you doing?”
Slight hesitation, then she realises.
She stands up, dusts herself off.
“It used to last longer” is the only explanation she gives before taking in her new surroundings. High ceilings, oil paintings on the walls in heavy gilded frames, bearskin rug on the floor, Tiffany lamps, designer settee.. there’s even a candelabra on the wall. Noticing a diamond necklace on display by a vanity table, Demi throws her jaw open and puts it on.
“They’ve really spruced the place up. Haven’t been here in years. Used to belong to this smelly old guy who played the tuba in his underwear.”
While she smells the perfumes, I look out the window and see an unfamiliar scene.
“He was nice. A bit weird obviously, but..”
“Where are we?”
“Manhattan, darling.”
Demi rustles through an inbuilt wardrobe, throws clothes at me and orders me to get dressed, finds a small backpack and starts chucking and sweeping diamonds, gold jewellery, bracelets and earrings into it. She disappears into the bathroom and returns wearing black jeans and a motorcycle jacket.
“Come on babe, let’s go” she demands and leads the way out.
As we’re out of the building she heads confidently down the street, past delis and diners that all smell amazing and she seems utterly impervious to the fact that I’m starving and staring at every window display of delicious food.
She walks fast; unrelenting until she suddenly disappears into a small, dingy looking pawnshop. I find her at the counter, asking for Mike.
“Who the hell is Mike? How do you know so much about this place?” I ask, all questions, intrigue, and no answers from Demi.
She shakes her head like it’s an old, long story she has no desire to relive.
“Don’t even ask. He’s a bit of an asshole.”
While she makes a deal with Mike, I look at the encased items on the opposite wall. An old clarinet transfixes me, the longer I stare at it, the more I could swear there’s faint music emanating from it..
Demi grabs my hand, drags me outside, and squeals when we’re out on the pavement again. “He bought them all! Look!” and she opens the bag to show me wads of dollars.
“Great! You’re gonna hit the shops then?”
“No.” She points across the street to a small, rundown cinema. “We’re going to see a film.”
In the dark, Wild Strawberries plays out on the silver screen. We munch on popcorn and forget to chew during the more captivating scenes. When the film ends we sit still, knowing we’ll be the last of the small audience to leave. Demi eventually breaks the silence
“How intense life can be in two hours! You know what, reality doesn’t suit me.”

We stroll down the street while Demi ponders and explains the symbolism in the film to me, and I follow her into a neon-lit bar where she shouts over the loud music, asking for Rick. “Damn, he doesn’t work here anymore. He used to give me free drinks.” She looks perplexed and a little lost.
“You have a bag full of money!” I whisper loudly in her ear.
She concedes and orders us a couple of bottles while I find a table.
“I was actually quite nervous in the cinema, thinking about your bag potentially being stolen while we were watching the movie. I mean, that’s a lot of money.”
She looks at me shocked. “That’s what you were thinking about? Are you always worrying about money?”
“Well, yeah.”
She sighs and shakes her head in dramatic disapproval.
“The universe provides for you. You just have to know what you want.”
I scoff at her naivety, and she suddenly stares at me with burning eyes, grabbing my arm, digging her nails down deep “Honeybunny, never worry about money!”
“Okay! Okay!” I yelp at her, surprised that I’m in pain.
She stares out into the distance, and I wonder whether I’ve disappointed her. Then I realise she’s making eyes at a hunky guy at the bar.
“Whoa, he’s big. I think his biceps are bigger than my head. I didn’t realise bodybuilders were your type?”
She nods down to his belt “Look at the keyring. I bet the motorcycle outside is his. Come on.”
We go to the bar, and while she distracts him, I manage to snag the keys off him. I go out first, then Demi follows, somewhat flustered. For a second I wonder if she really was into him, but as she grabs the keys with a single-minded purpose, I see it’s the thrill of getting away with vehicle theft that’s got her all excited.
“Hop on” she demands as she revs the engine. We drive around for what seems like a long time, sometimes going very fast with Demi screaming along with the motorcycle’s thunderous roar.
“Have you ever felt so alive!” she shouts to me, but I’m just holding on to her as tight as I can, praying that she won’t get us both killed.
Eventually I see flashing blue lights out of the corner of my eye, and they must be meant for us, because Demi suddenly tenses up and drives even faster. After a series of twists and turns that nearly make me sick, she pulls up to the curb and drags me into an impossibly bright setting. I realise it’s a laundromat as Demi opens a circular door and pushes me in

all i feel is something cold and hard
a white tiled floor
and it seems to be morning

my head hurts
and my arm itches
it’s gone red from her nails

i want to go to bed
but decide instead
to make a cup of tea

get my wet socks off the floor
and mend them
before washing them by hand

while they dry on the radiator
i check my computer
and see a new profile picture
of Demi in a bikini
smiling on a sunny beach

i go into the bathroom
to disinfect my little wounds

they’re swollen and hard now
i try to get the fluid out
so they’ll heal quicker

ouch! what the hell

no fluid but
pieces of glass come out

i hold them up to the window
and can barely believe this
they are

beautifully cut

Ralph Eliot Seaborn is a writer in London with a penchant for nebulous power sources and natural polymer fibres. A perfect day for Ralph would include flying a kite in the park, cooking the perfect beef stroganoff & finally finishing that ten thousand piece puzzle