Maps by Helen Moat

At first, he unfolded her with tenderness, minding her delicacy. He ran a palm across her surface and smoothed out her creases. Die Landkarte, la carte, la carta: she was Mother Earth. He stretched out his arms and held her to his face, breathing in her newness, losing himself in the swathes of her possibilities. He laid her down and traced her contours: the hills; the valleys; the hollows. He ran a finger along her blue veins and his pulse quickened. Their adventures lay ahead. Who knew where she would lead him?

In time, the cracks began to appear; the first crack so small, it was barely perceivable. But soon it spread along the stress line. He patched it up, only for more tears to appear on the other weak points. Yet no one could say he hadn't protected her. Had he not held her close to his heart and covered her in a protective mantle?

When the storm came, it caught him unaware. They were both out in the wide-open, exposed to the emptying skies. He was lost in the wilderness and needed her to find his way.

Was that not her raison d'etre? Instead she'd fallen apart in the deluge and disintegrated, reduced to a soggy mess. He had no choice but to throw her away.

In the end , he found a replacement. She was new and shiny and plastic; tough as hell and indestructible .


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