Tuesday, 6 September 2016

She'll kill me when she reads this...

My best friend is an avid gardener. In a few short years she’s turned a once barren backyard into a wonderland for native birds and insects. She is macabre with a penchant for gore and surgery and a love of nature and native propagation. She is androgynous with a shaved head and large green eyes. She has body piercings, scarification, and a pair of gargoyle wings tattooed on her back which she wants extended into a xenomorph tail down her legs. She has the chemical elements for psilocybin mushrooms and DMT tattooed on her neck but tells people who ask that they’re dopamine and serotonin. Other than this half-truth she is incapable of telling lies, shy, somewhat anxious (especially with phone calls), hates conflict, super intelligent, gentle, meticulous. She can’t make decisions and is often sad. She doesn’t like social gatherings, prefers to be alone or with close friends, loves to cook with fresh ingredients from her garden, and abhors clutter. Her home is minimalist – everything in it has purpose. If there is artwork it’s dissected bodies or true-to-life medical illustrations. She’s building an anatomically correct piñata from skeleton up, to bash away personal demons, for an upcoming birthday. She works in an indigenous plant nursery and has plans to one day own her own business selling native plants, homemade food and handmade wares. She just needs to banish self-doubt to enable her plans to come to fruition. She has lots of acquaintances and few true friends, but those she has know her worth and adore her completely, even though sometimes she doesn’t have the confidence to see it herself. She’s spiritual and believes that this is only one of many lives lived.

Clues to her personality (some truth, some fiction):

1. Can’t lie but hates conflict – so when she tells people her half-truths about her neck tattoos, saying they’re ‘feel good’ elements, she can’t keep eye contact and fiddles with her lip piercings. She doesn’t trust that people will be reasonable with the truth.

2. Shy – She doesn’t like to meet new people. If there’s a stranger in the house she will linger in her bedroom until they go away.

3. Anxious – She will sit at her desk for half an hour staring at her phone in preparation to make a phone call.

4. Intelligent – Her words aren’t casual and every one is thought out and planned ahead. She lives in her head most of the time. She won’t casually respond to a question – her answers take time.

5. Gentle – She holds her budgerigars in her hand while they happily nibble on seed.

6. Meticulous – Everything in her house, bag, and mind, has a perfect place and a perfect order.

7. Sad – Her smiles are rare and take some effort to form.

8. Self-doubting – Compliments from others are often shrugged off, or excuses found to discount them.

9. Doesn’t like making decisions – She often becomes frustrated if she has to make a decision, something like what to order for dinner can have her in tears and without food.

10. Macabre – She rejoices while watching real-life TV shows about surgery.

My friend is meticulous (Latin meticulosus from metus ‘fear’. Is she afraid of what might go wrong if things aren’t so perfect?) In everything she does, she has an extreme attention to detail. She cares about the small things and getting things exactly right every single time and won’t stop until they are perfect. She thinks before she talks and creates structure, order and compliance. She is organised, graceful, hates making mistakes and writes lots and lots of lists. She needs space, quiet and sensitivity. I don’t know why she is like this but it’s helpful to me because she edits my work, organises our trips away, and cooks awesome meals. I think she likes to be in control. She doesn’t thrive on chaos, can barely function in it. When she is in my kitchen she gets frustrated because I don’t have the perfect tool for a certain requirement. I’m a ‘many uses for one thing’ person. Any cup will do for a measurement, if indeed I even measure. She needs precision. She likes to produce things of a high standard and as such she needs to be meticulous.


The child looked upon the needle in wide-eyed horror. Azha trapped his attention in her placid green eyes and only then was she was able to pick up the needle without him flinching away. It was a large needle – far better at closing wounds on a warrior, not a small child who’d fallen from a tree – but it would have to do, it was all she had.

‘Do you have any sister’s Tobin?’ She asked as her fingers deftly threaded the bone needle with a braided silk suture. Quietly she blessed the needle and pointed it east before shifting her attention to the boy. As she worked she hummed a barely audible enchantment that soothed Tobin’s mind and dulled his senses. His anxiety flittered away and Azha was able to stitch the wound closed. Drunkenly the boy blathered of his family and life in general until she had finished.

‘Done,’ she said simply. The boy’s mouth dropped open a little before he dared look at his arm. Where moments ago it had been a red raw gash now nine neat little stitches disguised the wound. His face changed in an instant. Forgotten were the moments of intense distress that had penetrated Azha’s afternoon nap. Forgotten were the streams of blood he’d thought he’d lost and never recover from. Now it was a warrior’s wound, one he’d survived, one none of his friends had… He beamed.

‘Thanks Healer Azha!’ He jumped up, restless to be back with his friends.

She flinched at the title he’d named her, but he was already off with barely a nod. The villagers had dubbed her their healer, and though she didn’t refute it, she disliked the dependence it gave them. They respected her for her knowledge of medicine but were wary of her solitary life and use of magic. Despite the fear, Tobin’s mother was sure to come by later to offer thanks. They were diligent with their thanks and continued to remind her of her worth to them. Azha would conveniently be out picking herbs or collecting water when they came by. A gift basket of dried meats and fresh fruit would be left on her porch as always. Many times the villagers had offered her services or insisted she allow an assistant into her home, but every time, she refused. She enjoyed things as they were, however hard chores were becoming.

Azha rose with a sigh and rinsed her hands and instruments in the stream. Cold water jarred her joints. The cramps were getting worse. How long until she could no longer wield a needle, plant a tree, hold a cup of tea? Banishing the thoughts she unfolded her instrument wrap and replaced the tools carefully into their assigned places to be sterilised later that evening.

She wandered home stopping to admire the seedlings that had sprouted in the recent rains. She discovered a cluster of rare purple herbs and breathed in deep the sedate mint aroma.

Her home was small and offered little in the way of creature comforts, but it offered all she needed. To a casual gaze it was invisible in a copse of fallen trunks and dense bush; spider webs lined the porch protecting her from negative energies.

A large black bird cawed at her from a tree top, its beady yellow eyes judging her for being away so long. ‘Oh shush Worm, it was hardly an hour!’ It cawed again and landed gracefully on her right shoulder, instantly fussing with her scarf to make more room for its oversized body. ‘You need to cut down on grubs.’ She said as it unhooked her scarf and pitched it to the ground. Worm croaked and looked away. Azha smiled and poked the bird playfully.

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