It’s possible the reason I circle the apse of a church is the hope I might run into my past self. A silly thought by sensible reasoning, but I firmly believe in the faith of fantastical things, and Doris Day. I've never wanted to meet my future self. Truth is, I'm not sure a future me exists. And that thought makes me happy enough.
I believe my past self will help me to remember the details of my life that time takes. I'm one of those people that are paralysed with the fear of forgetting. I’ve taken to pinning reminders to curtains, and writing a daily planner in biro on my skin. I've even put my own children’s birth dates in my phone calendar. I don’t know what I’d do if I forgot them.
Maybe my wolf needs to be bigger? If my wolf was woolly mammoth size, there’d be no chance of forgetting. And true to her form of turning up at odd times, Irene seemed to appear from the idea of a wolf-mammoth. If anyone was going to understand my latest thinking, it will be her…I think. Irene is the type to poke at a bruise or a scratch. She never said why, but I figured it out. It is the pain, she feels, proves her existence.
Irene worries she’s not real and I worry that I’ll forget everyone that is real. The irony of our circumstance is not lost on either of us.
“Oi Sarah you've really lost it this time – a wolfy-mammoth? What’s with that?”
“Irene, always great to see you” It’s true; I loved it when Irene appeared out of thin air. It always meant shock, and tales of Billy, and Sam. Irene wouldn't leave the subject of Sam alone. Even though I'd remind her of the obvious: Sam left… remember Irene? It's only a matter of time and I’ll forget him, and hopefully Irene will too.
I couldn't help it, I asked sardonically “Is Billy coming?” Irene stood impossibly straight twisting a strand of hair. I could tell she was weighing up her response. Before she had time to respond, I grabbed her hand and pulled her in the direction of St Patrick's. I could feel the pull of the apse. Irene didn't need to ask where Sarah was leading her. It was always St Patrick's.
“Well are you going to tell me about the wolf and the mammoth? I haven’t got all day” And just like that Billy was forgotten.
I wasn't sure how to word it, so I went with a question.
“Have you heard of athazagoraphobia?” I really shouldn't have been surprised by Irene’s response; I figured she probably knew about athazagoraphobia but nothing could have prepared me for the story she told. I’ll get into the story later, but for now there’s circling to be done. “Nothing is for certain, right?" Irene didn't answer, she just winced. I wanted to tell her to stop squeezing the bruise on her arm, but I didn't. I could tell she wanted to tell me to stop growling, but she didn't. The growl inside of me felt like a foetus growing. I turned to Irene in desperation, but I couldn't see her. The apse was gone too; I was no longer in St Patrick's. I worried I’d stepped into the future, and it was as I feared. I was lost.