Eurydice

Eurydice Dixon. Photograph via Facebook

I can’t engage in this conversation. Not with my friends, not with my co-workers, media, society, sisters, self.

The facts of her death keep echoing across me:

• After work drinks

• Texted almost home safe

• Public park (my friend runs in that park)

• She was only 22.

She was only 22, only 22, only 22.

It echoes only with all the rest of them, only 22. In those change rooms where the mirrors face each other, so you’re forced to stare at your half-naked mass ongoing forever and ever and ever.

If I engage with it, I see my friends, and I see these women, like in the mirror of those change rooms ongoing forever and ever and ever.

None of them move, and I don’t look closer.

I can’t engage with the Discourse, or even on the group chat, where among us it has blown into full obsession, railing into the echo chamber of how it is unfair, how we shouldn’t have to be scared, how we’re angry and disgusted and I’m tired.

She was only 22, only 22, only 22.

I catch the bus home from a night out. Taxis make me nervous. At least I know the bus route.

Home is a 100m sprint from bus doors to front door. I take my earbuds out, my keys pointed out between my knuckles, and I listen, breathing quiet, to sounds behind the clip-clop my heels make on the footpath.

I stomp, hard, like I’m warding off snakes. I like hearing the echo down my street. I hope I wake the neighbours.

She was only 22, only 22, only 22.

When I do read the news, when I update on the group chat, I get the same feeling of helplessness like when I’m walking in the dark and hear someone behind me. Or when I watch a friend pick her way down the street, away from the streetlight, away from me.

Almost home safe, x.

Eurydice was the wife of Orpheus, who loved her dearly; she danced through the meadows. Aristaeus saw her and pursued. Eurydice stepped on a viper and was bitten. Orpheus did not believe she was following him out of the underworld, so he looked back. She vanished, in Hades forever.

She was already loosened like long hair,

given out like fallen rain,

shared out like a hundredfold supply.

She was already root.

She was a shade, an echo.

It was never her fault.

She was only 22, only 22, only 22.

– Kate Riggs

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