The Bodies

by ob

The bodies filled the streets, and people stopped and stared. There were bodies everywhere. They were all going about their business, just like that.

You were there somewhere, walking around.

Some of the bodies were considered remarkable. Some of the bodies were considered obscene. Some of the bodies were considered too big, or too small, or too old.

Some of the bodies were not considered at all.

Some of the bodies had featured in stories and in films and paintings and photographs. Some of the bodies were spectacular in their athleticism, or their youth, or their sexual attractiveness. Some of the bodies were spectacular because of what they had survived.

Some of the bodies were notable largely as a result of how they looked in clothes, or in their ability to dance, or the comfort and/or pleasure they gave others, or the comfort and/or pleasure they gave their owners.

Some of the bodies were practical. Some of the bodies were terrifying in their rage.

Some of the bodies had given birth. Some of the bodies had been pregnant but had never given birth. Some of the bodies had never been pregnant. It took all sorts.

Some of the bodies had climbed mountains and fought in wars. Some of the bodies had been brutalised. Some of the bodies had committed crimes, had been punished or had got away with it, had paid their debt to society or had not.

Some of the bodies were heroic.

Some of the bodies were sexually forward, knew what they wanted, didn’t see why they shouldn’t get it – and who was going to argue with that?

Some of bodies followed people down the street, swaggered, were intimidating.

Some of the bodies got into fights. Some of the bodies regularly got drunk. Some of the bodies took recreational and non-recreational drugs.

Some of the bodies tried not to take up space, tried to make themselves invisible, were sometimes successful. Some of the bodies had their reasons.

Some of the bodies had won awards. Some of the bodies had built interesting and challenging careers. Some of the bodies had been in car crashes, had survived cancer. Some of the bodies had cured diseases and saved lives.

Some of the bodies were terrible dancers.

Some of the bodies could run for miles.

Some of the bodies had had poems written about them, had inspired all sorts of awful songs. Some of the bodies owned cars and flats and houses, and took more than two foreign holidays a year.

Some of the bodies were French.

Some of the bodies were so new that their owners didn’t know what to do with them. They staggered around, bumping into things and falling over, and everyone was delighted. It reminded people of better, simpler times.

Some of the bodies had competed in round the world yacht races, had swum the English Channel, had been attacked by wild animals. Some of the bodies were the subject of territorial disputes.

Some of the bodies had sworn vengeance.

Some of the bodies were in love, and it was great! They had a spring in their step, felt like they were walking on air. Some of the bodies were in love and it was torture and all they wanted was for it to be over. Most of the bodies were, or had been, loved by someone or other, somewhere, at some point.

Some of the bodies would eventually die in avalanches, or plane crashes, or during routine operations, or of wasting diseases, or in overloaded boats. Some of them would die in bed at a ripe old age, surrounded by their immediate family.

Some of the bodies would be missed more than others.

Some of the bodies would be used to rob banks or post-offices later that day, and for some of the bodies it wouldn’t be the first time.

Some of the bodies were already on their third cup of coffee. Some of the bodies were all fingers and thumbs.

Some of the bodies could build rockets, could work out how to put people on the moon or Mars. Some of the bodies had a net worth running into the billions, for all the good it did anyone.

Some of the bodies had travelled thousands of miles to get here.

Some of the bodies were carrying awful secrets.

Some of the bodies were terrified, all of the time.

Some of the bodies were on the run, had adopted false identities, had spent so long pretending to be someone else that they couldn’t remember who they were anymore. Some of the bodies had been lying to themselves and everyone else for years.

Some of the bodies hated their own company, couldn’t stand to be alone

Some of the bodies were thinking sexy thoughts, were imagining wildly erotic situations, right at that very moment. On buses and on trains and in the middle of the street. There was no way to tell who was thinking what, thank God.

Some of the bodies didn’t look their age.

Some of the bodies had no money.

Some of the bodies had only days to live, not that it made any difference.

Some of the bodies were hilarious.

Some of the bodies would not be forgiven, no matter how long it took, no matter what amends they tried to make, and who could say whether that was right or wrong?

Some of the bodies could be bought, at least for a while. Some of the bodies couldn’t be bought, were impossible to put a value on. Most of the bodies were somewhere in the middle, more or less.

Some of the bodies might have been perfect for each other, could have built a life together, should have lived happily ever after, but would pass within inches of each other and never even meet, because that was just the way things were.

Some of the bodies would never be loved, and that was nobody’s fault either.

Some of the bodies were disgusted with themselves, or were weighed down with sadness, or regret, or despair. Some of the bodies were unable to move on, to take control of their lives, to believe in the possibility of a better tomorrow.

Some of the bodies were determined to have as much fun as possible. Some of the bodies got up to things that would make you blush. Even you, of all people. Especially you.

Some of the bodies believed in God. Some of the bodies were in state of Grace. Some of the bodies were just in a state.

Some of the bodies wanted to be granted the serenity to accept the things they couldn’t change, the courage to change the things they could, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Some of the bodies had been romantically involved with you, the actual reader of this story, and what do you think of that?

Some of the bodies belonged to people who would one day take their own lives, although thankfully most of them didn’t know it yet.

Some of the bodies were afraid of flying, or of wasps and bees, or of enclosed spaces, or of dogs, or of public speaking, or of clowns, or of dentists, or of intimacy, or of the dark, or of being alone with their own thoughts, or of being laughed at, or of losing control, or of being vulnerable, or of people feeling sorry for them, or of being fat again, or of being looked at, or of not being looked at, or of being poor, or of being killed by their partners, or of foreigners, or of women, or of getting old, or of their children being taken from them, or of heights, or of rejection, or of asking for help, or of relying on other people, or of being abandoned, or of relapsing, or of being found out, or of magpies, or of going to sleep, or of waking up in the morning, or of opening bills, or of talking to strangers, or of not being believed, or of being a burden, or of being irrelevant, or of certain tastes and textures, or of loud noises, or of the loss of sexual potency, or of the loss of teeth, or of falling down in public, or of going to the doctor, or of answering the phone, or of getting through another day without a drink, or of telling the truth, or of who they might actually be given half a chance, or of what they wanted or didn’t want, or of their darkest thoughts, or of cats or mice or spiders or snakes, or of bright lights, or of cancer, or of going mad, or of engaging with shop assistants, or of themselves.

Some of the bodies weren’t afraid of anything.

Eventually, in about a hundred years or so, everyone would be dead.

In the meantime, they were here today, walking around in the world, playing their part in it, despite the odds. It was as much as we could ask of anyone.

Everyone had at least showed up.

 

[Work in progress…]