A clock stopped a hundred years ago, transfixed in the power of an explosion. Now, with dead hands, it points the whole city towards that memory. Everywhere, reminders are etched in place. In the back of a stone house we find a crack in the window. A plaque beneath it commemorates the hour and minute of the damage. The moment you fall in love.
They say a fog came one summer and lasted ninety days. When it lifted, it took the colour from our irises, revealed a city that had been repainted grey. Every love had been forgotten, every job and office abandoned, every debt forgiven.
Last winter, I took the ferry into the harbour and the trip stole my memory. We are each permitted one crossing back before we die. As I stood out on deck and felt the cold spray on my face, I saw the hands reaching up out of the frigid choppy waters to unravel me like thread, to leave me salty and clear. Absolved.
Meet me tonight. We’ll destroy the Martello Tower. Every year, we’ll destroy it again, and we’ll watch them build it back. The police will grow more and more determined to catch us. They will become craftier, subtler. It is inevitable, in time even our friendships will falter under the weight of mistrust and betrayals, until only you and I are left: love and rebellion.
We know we are too few, too poorly equipped to survive. Naturally, we will be caught. The prosecutor, resplendent in her triumph, will demand we hang, one before the other. Instead we will escape. They will say that we drowned in the attempt, because it is impossible, the island fortress is too isolated, the sea is too frigid and hostile. Their account will be correct. And so will ours, in which we swim away to a land we can imagine in detail but know nothing about, a place so hopelessly far away.
I know where the fabled tunnels go, beneath the Citadel and Signal Station. They are flooded and murky and icy. It is true that a sea monster guards them. They are dangerous and perfect. They are mine. If you can show me something better than these, then I am yours.