In the rejection halls I began planting volcanoes, my lips the Pacific Rim on fire – but Oahu! Boy, I needed a holiday, needed to see the lava spray against the midnight rocks, then plop back into a pool complete with bar. We were really in the centre of things there, literally. Or, in the centre of my mouth I formed a “woo-hoo” once we disbanded, due to confirmation denials and red-tape scoundrels snapping at our coats. Then it got cold. I was sitting on someone’s bed at a party and he mentioned the decade. It was like I’d been shipped way south of Oahu to a glacier of pain where all noise was forbidden. Just the sound of icy winds in my brain. They stopped, too. Then I knew it was going to hurt. I woke up cold and sore. Those volcanos had all joined together and I was as powerless as an ice-cube in their righteous path. It became difficult to speak. You looked on amazed as my personality turned into a death mask belonging to a French Count. Still the ice worms attacked. The night was relentless. We could have woken up on fire but that was a dream someone else was having, on Oahu! Your hope was a tube of ointment with no expiry date. The corridors froze over, our teeth clattered against the rims of glasses of cooling plum wine. The pleasure principle plummetted and thermometers turned to rubber seals. Clumsily, we staggered to the nearest subway entrance – but we were still on Oahu! So we waited for a boat. We watched a small beetle struggling with a pea, and were amused. That was the end of summer for us. We should have known it was coming but then how could we have predicted the rhythms of that wretched river? Anyway, you were also cold. Bruised from slipping on the devilish icicle called the road. Your lips were alone in the dark, always waiting. I’m crying, just sitting here typing these words, no longer on Oahu. Neither of us wanted that. When the lava river swamped our camp, we were the last to leave. Our silver suits, smudged with the detritus of the chocolate bars and brownies we had just been eating, shone eerily in the fake night, just like Christmas. Bundled into the waiting wagon as the enormous cloud of soot and pain and love bruises shuddered on its axis, filled with garbage and lies. Where the hell was Oahu when we needed it? To run burning into the soothing balm of a lagoon and sit there, steaming. To take a single tear and create a child from it. Maybe they made a mistake with our tickets, or called the wrong flight, the incorrect boarding gate. I see our fates in the ever-flickering departure boards, the heartless red font of delays and cancellations. I often see you on Oahu. One day the volcanoes will disappear, too.