Richard Pierce

Life, Poetry, Writing

Day 233

This is the poem I wrote yesterday. It’s for everyone who’s contemplating getting married, for those getting married, for those already married. For those of any faith, for those of no faith. For those in love, for those hoping for love. For everyone, in essence. A universal truth, if you like.


May the blessings of people
And gods carry you forwards through
Real life and the waves which will
Roll around the ship you ride
In the years and unpredictable
Ages which will come, as you
Go your own way and grow in
Every direction you can imagine.

In those rare quiet moments allow the
Sound of your souls to guide you.

On the days when the world’s
Noise overwhelms you,
Let the silence of faith cocoon
You against the storms of doubt.

Trust in yourselves and each other, and
Have no fear of fear. There are trials in
Every happiness as there are in sadness.

Be not bound by the stories of others.
Every circumstance has a different
Garden of a thousand colours at
Its very core, and you will find
New ways to find your paths to those
Nirvanas only you can create from your own
Ideas and aspirations. You are
New every day, and you can make
Goodness thrive in this broken world.



‘But I don’t want to go without Lily,’ Aggie says to the blank screen. There’s no response. She reaches under the desk and tries to pull out the drawer. Palm scan required, the screen flashes at her, and a white rectangle appears in the desk in front of her. She puts her right hand flat on it, reluctantly. Left hand, please. She repeats the procedure and shakes her head. Overkill, she thinks, and then thinks again; maybe not. The drawer clicks open. There’s a plastic wallet in the drawer, nothing else. She takes it out, lays it onto the desk, opens it, pulls out everything that’s in there, and lays everything on the desk.

An A4 sheet of paper, typed instructions. Aggie puts them to one side. A British passport, worn and old. Aggie opens it. There’s a photo of her in it, with black hair. How? She looks at the instructions. You will find black hair dye in my room if you haven’t already. That explains it. She opens the passport again. It’s made out in the name of Angela Jennings. Back to the instructions. You are Angela Jennings. You are a visiting lecturer in Women’s Culture at Georgetown University. You will NOT have to lecture, nor will anyone ask any questions, except possibly at Immigration. I am sure you can make up something interesting. Aggie laughs, and the ideas flood into her mind. The next piece of paper you will see is an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). You have given Georgetown University as the principal address you’re visiting. Your contact is Marion Vermeer. Her number is +1 202 xxx xxxx. Call her as soon as you land. She is a friend of mine, and can be trusted, but she doesn’t know everything. The ESTA is valid for 10 years. Your email address is Aggie picks up two pieces of A4 stapled together, the top one of which has a USA seal on it, or the image of one anyway. It’s for Angela Jennings, and confirms the dates of validity, and an invented date of birth, according to which she is only 24. She smiles again, and wishes she knew the real date of her birth. You may only need to be there for 24 hours.

Aggie leans back in the chair. She can cope with 24 hours away, she supposes. She stares at the desk. There’s a wad of dollars, which she counts. Well over a thousand dollars. She picks up the ticket. Business Class. Her false name. The instructions again. You will need to call the airline to confirm your date of travel. The ticket is obviously paid for. Keep watching everything and everybody. Aggie shrugs. Why wouldn’t she, how couldn’t she? The last thing on the table is a simple mobile phone. She weighs it in her hand, dials the number of the airline, confirms a flight for late the next day without the trouble or questioning she had expected, and rings off. The phone goes back onto the desk. All done.

Aggie puts everything back into the wallet, folds it double, sticks it in an inside pocket, and gets up. The door opens as she goes to leave, and slides closed noiselessly behind her. The light in the narrow corridor go off one by one as she passes them. The final exit door doesn’t slide open automatically, though. Red letters come up on it. Insert key. She does as it tells her. Palm scan. She goes through the same cycle, first her right hand, then her left. Palm scan complete. Please remove key. She pulls the tiny key out of the lock, and the door slides open, and steps out into the tunnel. The last light goes out, the door closes, and she’s in total darkness again. For a moment she contemplates putting the y into the other locks of the door that must lead to the outside somewhere. She knows she’s under the Castle Mound, and her curiosity plagues her, but she decides she needs to get back to the house and tell the others what she’s been asked to do, hopes Lilibet won’t make too much of a fuss. And then she starts to run along the tunnel, her eyes wide open, the path clear in her vision, her strides exuberant and enormous.

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