A story of parts in parts
part 1: Introducing Wim
This post is first in a series based on a prompt from my therapist: riffing on the Internal Family Systems theoretical framework, she invited me to name and describe the different entities that make up my self, and my mind. First is Wim.
Wim is at the cliff’s edge. Over it, rather, canted at an impossible angle, feet planted at the lip, body almost horizontal, hanging out in the open space beyond.
Richard Burton told a story on the Dick Cavett show, about one night when his father fell, drunk, off a bridge onto a dead tree growing sideways out of the stonework support, and he hung there, draped like a sheet on a clothesline, until someone passing by heard him singing and fetched help. Such a dead tree, in such a position, has a name, Burton says, in Wales at least, which sounded like “golven” when he said it. Wim, then, looked like a golven, seen from far off.
Seen from close up, you could account for the apparent magic. Tied around the straps of Wim’s overalls was a thin cord, almost silken. It ran from Wim’s back up to an overhanging branch of a living tree near the cliff edge. It was wrapped twice around the branch, and then led straight back away somewhere out of frame. It held Wim securely. Wim’s hair was a bundle of furled fiddleheads.
Below the cliff edge there were birds. Cliff-nesting seabirds, black and white, tucked into crevices. Seabird guano, black and white, streaked the rocks. The ocean far below was dotted with birds, milling around the cliff base. Some birds wheeled in the air below Wim, but some wheeled above Wim too. Wim was neither highest or lowest horizontally suspended creature in view, but interleaved with them. In the chest pocket of Wim’s overalls there was a periwinkle shell, half a crayon, and a St. Anthony medallion. In the hip pockets there was dirt from inside the pawprint of a bobcat, and a page torn out of a magazine with naked people in it, and a ruffled fan of turkey tail fungus, and a smooth rock that had been prettier when it was wet.
A vibration traveled through the cord tied to Wim’s overalls, as if it were a plucked guitar string. Wim felt it, and sighed, and scrambled back onto level ground, unwound the cord from the tree limb and headed out of frame.