Me And My Shadow

The Inkslingers Workshop which meets at the Irish Writers Centre has grown a small offshoot called the Inksplinters, which meets during the week. Tonight our prompt was “shadows”, and this is what I came up with …
The three of us were appointed at his birth – his Soul, his Guardian Angel and me, his Shadow.

The Guardian Angel gets to do fun stuff, like pushing him out of the path of buses. The Soul, if it is lucky, will meet its soul mate, and they will live long, love-filled lives or, if the Guardian Angel will agree, might die tragic romantic deaths.

I just sit there.

Or stand there, or bungee-jump there, or dance to the bloody Birdie Song at weddings there. The point is that none of it is decided by me. While the Soul can weep and the Angel can soar, the nearest thing I get to entertainment is making rabbit-shapes on a wall.

At least the rabbit has its own shape. I don’t. At midday I am squat and fat. In the late evening I am thin and eleven feet long. And if you’ve ever complained about Seasonally Adjusted Disorder, just try being a shadow. When it rains I don’t exist at all.

Wouldn’t it be lovely, just once, to head off in the opposite direction to him, or to curl up like a crime-scene outline while he’s standing for the National Anthem, or to have passers-by look at him and then look down at the shadow of a bosomy woman in a skirt and high heels.

It’s a job for life, though unfortunately for his life, not mine. When his time is up mine will be too. The Soul lives on (or comes back as a tree-frog, depending upon your religion), the Guardian Angel gets his wings, but as for me, the Shadow, although I’m won’t be the one who caught cold, or caught malaria, or caught the 4.15 train from Drogheda in the small of the back, will be as dead as the dodo.

Worse still, as dead as the dodo’s shadow.


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