by Bea Grant
Pink tissue yellow pollen tickling cheek large lily enwrapped sink deep sleep now sleep then later here one long day relax take time it is yours for the taking. You think that I am a doll lily white push me slap me hard kick me jolt me as you please for this must all be new to me. Nothing is new to me for I have lived a thousand years before I died a slow death with you. Well I am arisen I have thrown off the sheets you mummified me in rolled the stone from the entrance and left the cave. My mother was by my side and awoke slowly from her slumber.

It always begins with rhythm. Rhythm dictates narrative drive. Hard, fast rubbing leads to more dangerous violent fantasies. Slow, concentric swooshes take me down a gentler path, led by love. Start/stop, on/off, push/pull. Teasing invokes independent articulation of desires to the imagined figure.

State of mind dictates rhythm. Rough day? Demand more punishment. Hard and fast, no respect, you enter into further states of degradation. Recall previous choices of men who did not ask how it felt, for whom the act was purely self-pleasure. Except this time the act is self-satisfaction and involves only you. Remember how it felt to be a doll. But you are safe in your bed, in the white crumpled sheets. And you set the limits, you enter into this fantasy only as long as you choose. And when it’s over, you’ll roll over into a foetal position and enter into a fitful sleep.

There are times when the self takes priority. Relax, breathe, clamber under the duvet. Open the novel on the little, smoothly painted wooden bedside table. Something in Rachel Cusk’s narrator captures your imagination, her ability to say no — say no to men who presume she is interested, to reject these presumptions of attention, especially from fifty year old men. To say no. No I am not interested, you were wrong. To be unabashed by their sting. Extend an arm and turn off the bedside lamp. Sink into the mattress. Close your eyes. Slow sweeps. Time is on your fingertips. The whole expanse of time stretches out before you with not a person in sight, only absence, absence of anyone. All persons banished. Only you you you. I I I. I do not remember the moment when I fell asleep. Light lilac dreams tiptoe into my fantasy, trickle out of the unfolding. Hues of light stretch before the eyes, clouds plucked from a sunset, existing as cut-outs in the imagination, their paper edges fraying at the seams where the craft knife cuts them from reality and Pritt Sticks them into my dreams. Georgia O’Keeffe lilies waft before my brain, their petals enfold and envelop me, the flower swallows me whole. The light fabric caresses my body, I am careful not to tear it and that it does not tear me. I lightly trace contours of the petal with my finger tips and tap ever so gently; they will not break, I am safe. A sprinkling of sunshine-yellow pollen falls from the stigma onto my face, it tickles my cheeks.

To play. Playful teasing. Feeling playful. Full of play. A French New Wave fantasy. Fingers tease and indulge, tease and indulge. Tiptoe close, then run away. I am walking down a street in Paris dressed in Jean Seberg’s striped Chanel twinset from Breathless but with Anna Karina’s fringe from A Woman in A Woman yet the attitude of Eric Rohmer’s Reinette. Trailing me sheepishly is a man who cannot keep up. I stride confidently, my black loafers hitting the pavement click click click with my white socks grazing my ankle bone. Stop, start, circles, like this, no, yes, yes yes, no. He’s breathless, I’m exhilarated. I stretch out in the bed, reach my arms above my head, roll the shoulders back, feel the collarbone click, pointfeet to the end of the bed, curl the toes inwards and over each other, tense everything up, pelvic floor rises, and release. The joys of being completely alone. Enter in a deep sleep. Wake refreshed the next day. ‘Laziness is unattractive’. I am headstrong. Resolve never to date another lazy guy with too much tobacco strangling their lungs that after 20 minutes they give up/are done and request I bring them a hotly buttered piece of toast.

Instead I turn to the man I saw in the supermarket. The avocados sliding down the conveyor belt. No desert in his shop. Only freshly squeezed orange juice, vitamins cascading towards the cashier. I don’t think he noticed me checking out his shop. No bother, for he will slide into my dreams. I am a fly on the wall. I observe his choice to not buy a sweet treat on this Saturday morning, during his weekend shop, and fly off into a no-refined-sugar lifestyle fantasy. Like when Alex in Transparent starts dating her personal trainer, and begins eating exclusively tofu spread, before realising his sex is in fact very vanilla and tofu spread tastes like feet. So she dumps the guy for a large grab bag of Haribo Starmix. The imaginative possibilities of the clit are endless. I travel through many alternate worlds, sloop sliding along down a giant inflatable tofu slide spread world.

Sometimes you push the pixels. Watch them splinter and smash into smithereens. Pick a stranger from zoom. Imagine yourself inside an industrial concrete building filled with real art and real people, real places drinking real pints. This imagined reality of a life with a person you never met is heady, intoxicating, addictive, unrestrictive. It feels wrong but impossible to stop stop stop. A whole life lies at your feet. Live it out, play it out, write and end the chapter. Share a lunch, share a life. Breakup with none of the heartbreak. All accomplished in under 20 minutes.

Then, time passes in only thoughts, no touching. The break, the interlude. Fantasies are born out of books and you slip softly into sleep. Time merges between dreaming and waking. Lovers feed you grapes in your dreams. Who need even wake. Mornings are tinged with pastel pink, drips and drops of fantasy linger long into diurnal time. O nata lux. The nighttime is a time of possibility, of which self knowledge is born, is formed. Live your life as if it were a dream. (Sounds like a song lyric.) Walk a little taller for you already are a Renaissance woman if you so wish it. Are true Renaissance women still fashionable? Reach higher and higher and higher and higher and higher.

Until you are grounded in physicality once again, made only sweeter by the break. The rupture. Present moment is torn in half, then ripped in two. Who am I? And often it is scrolling that leads to stroking, stroking to scrolling. A flick of the finger through a feed reignites the sexual drive within you. My iPhone screen is a little greasy from the lemon spaghetti drenched in olive oil and parmesan I prepared for a friend earlier this night. Which we ate in the garden under a magnolia tree. Whose petals fell into my salad. My salad of spinach, lemon juice. And garlic, with a clump of sticky sesame seeds. A kick.

I am dreaming and scrolling. The oil on my screen glints and hints rainbow refractions of light. I dream in liquid mother of pearl, much like the pastel clothing littering my screen. A fat load of rubbish. I ice skate through surface level interactions, it is fun to play superficial for one day in my duvet dreams. Imagine a partner who makes my life a series of Instagrammable interactions in matching striped sweaters and dinky flat whites with a croissant for company. I vomit a little and roll over and over and over until I fall off the bed and drift endlessly, falling freely through the cosmos towards some more authentic self which I will live out the next day. When I wake, I paint my nails a shade of mottled silver, an aluminium that still looks good a little bashed and chipped. It reminds me of sculptures I see on the internet. I pick a puff sleeve white shirt to wear with bright dark navy Levis and think of sticking my finger in a Custard Puff Portuguese Tart. Sticky. I lick under my fingernail.

My email isn’t working on my phone today. It keeps glitching. The web address is constantly refreshing and refreshing and refreshing and not loading. I’m fascinated by the glitch. Am I a kind of glitch? To get this much out of my own company? But memories linger like heavy clouds on a stormy night. I choose a duvet cocoon. Thanks Hyperlink. I’m a bendy pliable hyper link. Refreshing and reloading with no stimulation other than myself.

My head is an endless constellation of Instagram bios. I am a fruit freak today. A mover and a shaker tomorrow. A woooooooah on Tuesday. With the rub of a thumb, a forefinger I hit play on a new persona. I have lived a million different lives without even clicking POST.

Materials, matters, textures all merge into one with the body. The flesh of a ripe grapefruit, succulent sweet and bitter. A hand driven into a tub of sticky pinky candy floss, the fibres melting into crystals on the tip of your tongue. Mascarpone whipped to insanity, folded into cream and beaten into stiff floppy peaks. Laid atop a dark dank chocolate cake whose butter rich crumb falls away to Dante’s inferno. I’m running on an eternal treadmill around circles of hell and I’m not getting off because I am getting off. Slipping sliding rising and falling.

Bea Grant is currently on the Contemporary Art Practice MA. Her background in English at the University of Oxford set her up to critically yo yo into situations, freewheeling a wealth of writers left, right and centre. Always serious, always silly, always true and always false. She favours the critically embedded. @beatrixgrant