Writers Without Borders

Entry by: Freya

4th March 2016
Writers without borders / The mutually dependent

‘Borders or boundaries?’ asks Amy, fiddling with her long, curly hair.
‘I guess it can mean both.’ I shrug my shoulders.
‘Borders are between countries. Boundaries apply to so much more. ‘Boundary’ is such an inclusive term. I like it.’
‘Well, I am to write about borders, not boundaries,’ I respond a bit too quickly, and Amy frowns.
She can be really tiresome in her linguistic accuracy. She does it for my benefit, I know. English is my second language. My first thrives on imprecision.
Amy doesn’t cope well with vagueness. It terrifies her. She likes having control and the precise language she uses offers her sense of security. But I’m not going to compromise my language, my nature for the sake of her comfort. It’s not my job to make her feel more in control.
She frowns some more. She looks as if she hesitates whether to delve deeper into the topic of this conversation so palpably irritating to me, or to let it go. Her perfectly curved lips part and shut a few times, before her nosiness wins with her better judgement.
‘So what is it to be about?’
Like me, Amy is a writer. Well, in all fairness we are not alike in our writing. Our styles differ. Hers is technically better. She’s craftier with words. Under her pen, they become juicy and plump. She composes well balanced sentences of various lengths, so that her reader is enthralled with the language itself and its pacy-ness. But she lacks insight. Her stories are well written, yet so easy to forget.
Hence she likes to ‘pick my brain’, as she phrases it. What really happens is that I come up with a story for her and she simply records it. How is that creative? Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I stopped feeding her with ideas. Would she leave me for another gullible writer she can parasitise on?
I start at that. What would then happen to me?
I picture myself on the bus back to the East, seated by a golden-toothed thug who reeks of nicotine and something more repulsive but less tangible, a weeks-worth waxy second skin. Hours after hours of watching fields and forests, the further east, the bumpier the poorly asphalted road.
And then the village. My mum and sisters, all six bleach blonde and over-makeuped, glaring at me with silent disappointment. I was to be the one who were to conquer the West, the most promising offspring in the family of chronic under-achievers, the one to bring glory to the family by marrying a passport.
And borders. Borders everywhere. From the moment the bus passes Poland, the border control turning grimmer, the officers nastier, scavenging my bags like vultures, hoping for contraband they can snatch.
And the queues – of buses full of miserable people, of rustbucket cars, of lorries, with the lorry drivers drowning their boredom in the arms of the street girls who desperately try to make a living in a border ghost town.
No, I couldn’t stand the borders ever again.
I wink at Amy to appease her.
‘This will be a story about love.’
‘Oh?’ Her eyes widen.
‘Yes, a story about two writers who complete each other.’
She sits still for a moment but then chuckles. She understands more than I give her credit for, my Amy.
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