“The sun has risen but gives off no warmth.” by Julia at the desk

Tuesday July 24, 2018
11:24pm
5 minutes
Waiting for the Barbarians
J.M. Coetzee

On days like these I rise heavy, rub the sleep heavy
from my eyes heavy, and nod off on the hot bus.
I carry the heavy thing I’ve borrowed in the heavy sun.
I carry all of it pressed in the furrow of my brow-
the one that confuses people, Is she okay? Is she mad?
This morning’s sun burnt a hole in my head and reminded
me of it every second after it. I could have moved my
face but I was smitten there, sitting there, luxuriating
in the imminent ache. I might say I know better but on days
like these I don’t know what I know, if anything. The heavy
is only heavy until you put it down. I could put it down
and catch my breath for a minute, write a song, say hello
to the man with no teeth, nodding at me from the passenger
seat of the helping van. Later, I will watch the sun set
inch by inch to prove that even this shall pass. When the
sun stops, I take off my pack and rest.

“The sun has risen but gives off no warmth.” By Sasha on her balcony

Tuesday July 24, 2018
7:00am
5 minutes
Waiting for the Barbarians
J.M. Coetzee

Marsha wonders why it seems like ever since she broke up with Jeremy she’s valued less by society. She remembers this feeling. When she was in her early twenties she gained thirty pounds and suddenly felt invisible. She’d never been thin, but she’d been average enough to be considered conventionally attractive. Even writing that makes me feel gross. What does that even mean? Anyway, back to the story. Marsha wonders why it seems like ever since she broke up with Jeremy (it was amicable, but she instigated, he was sad and called a lot in the weeks following, but now he’s stopped and she’s convinced he’s probably banging his neighbour who he always secretly lusted after)… that she’s valued less by society. “Oh you’re single?” She hears the judgement, she feels the hairs on her arms raise.