A Murder of Crows

This is the story of a man who is asexual and falls in love. it is about how we define ourselves in the modern age, and what love means to those who have no physical avenue to explore. It is about the way we interact with our families, and how echoes of past lives filter through to us.


13. Epilogue - Hugin and Munin

The whole world wide, every day,

fly Hugin and Munin;

I worry lest Hugin should fall in flight,

yet more I fear for Munin[1]


Hugin and Munin,  are a pair of crows  associated with the Norse god Odin. In Norse mythology, Hugin and Munin travel the world bearing news and information they have collected to Odin. Hugin is "thought" and Munin is "memory". They are sent out at dawn to gather information and return in the evening. They perch on the god's shoulders and whisper the news into his ears. It is from these ravens that the kenning 'raven-god' for Odin is derived.


Our stories are not true or false. They are not a science, something we can test empirically. They are subjective experiences, and yet we define our lives by them. We add weight to them as being fundamental in our development to the people we are, the people we become. It is strange, although there is no binary way to look at lives and the stories they are woven from, we still have an innate idea of whether they are in someway connected to a human truth.  The irony being this is the same subjectivity we feel instinctively to attribute to events to make them mean something, to make that memory, that thought something permanent in us.


I look back at my life, I look back at the lives of my parents, of my friends, and of the woman I grew to love. To those stories I add weight, a gravitas and sincerity that has never truly existed. They were just actions. Our lives aren’t really one massive narrative arc, but a series of events that happen. When we live our lives, it is rare we think of the ramifications of our actions. We don’t think how this choice, or action, will change us. I have never done anything which had any conscious precursor of, ‘this will define me’. We are too short term in that respect, we react to something innate and instinctive in our bellies. And when we are crashing about in our  Brownian motion lives, we need these anchors to give us a chance of being someone. Someone has always been a hollow term to me, someone has a solitary nature, that you can only be that person on your own. The moment you are with another, you are observed, and you are changed. You change.


I think of R_____, and I ask myself whether she changed me. Whether the story of our lives together had more weight than all the history that came before us, and if that weight will transfer to what will come after.  And I feel like I am falling off the edge of something, and again I look for an anchor, something to stop the rushing insignificance of it all to be kept at bay. I think we need to weaken the ties we have to our own personal biographies to get closer to an objective version of who we are.


The carbon that makes up our bodies, the energy that fuels our hearts was all born in a distant star. Our lives are created from this primeval energy, an energy that was born from nothing.  Our stories, everyone’s, are contextualised by it. As I lie in this field, the grass damp from the sweat of my back, I think this. The air is cooling, causing goose bumps to trot up my arms, I know this. I think of R_____, and she is next to me. My hand crawls across the grass, separating the blades, waiting for paper cuts that never come, like fingers through hair, and then I come to her hand. She turns it over and our fingers interlock. And I stay like that for what feels a glacial march. Our hands warming each other, the tangle of fingers confusing us, where mine start and hers end.


The sky is at once dark and pale, as stars blink in and out of existence, our hearts beat in our chests, never knowing if it will be the last.  I want to turn my head to see her, to steal some part of her for me, a memory of her, a picture of her that will solely be mine, but that could break the spell. That could mean that this is not happening, that something has come across and tried to view it, and so intrude on it. Some one said that the moment you view something, that act changes it. With a tapestry like the night sky, you are passive, as it constantly changes and as such your impact is negligible. But with people, with friends and family, you are nothing more than their pictures of you, their interactions with you are solely based on the history of memories that have come before.


All of this life is fleeting, I know this, it was something my father drilled into me. When I stare at the night sky, I pick a star, and I stare only at that. I stare and wait. One day, I tell myself, one day it will blink and never come back. The light from that star will have died millions of years ago, and no one will have even known that to be the case, no one but me. And all the importance, all the trillions of miles it travelled through space to tell someone that it existed won’t be wasted.  I haven’t seen it happen, not yet, but one day I am sure I will. I have that hope.


R_____ turns to face me, but I carry on staring up. Her breathing pattern changes, as the night dims. The tree above has gone from shade provider to looming old man, the faint creak like arthritic joints. It merges into the night, as a full fat moon lumbers over the horizon.  You can hear the rustle of animals returning to their homes, and the almost imperceptible hum of the earth shifting under our bodies.


‘A____’ she says, more out of hope than expecting a response. ‘Do you feel like you are missing out on something?’


Her hand tightens slightly, and I think about turning over to face her, to fix any fear.


‘All the time.’




- End -


[1] Old Norse Rhyme

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